OXFORD, Ohio – Hockey season is less than a month away and the anticipation for Miami Hockey’s inaugural campaign in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference is continuing to build. RedHawk fans will get their first chance to meet the team and get ready for the 2013-14 season at the Fan Appreciation Pep Rally on Tuesday, Sept. 17. The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. at Goggin Ice Center.

The Fan Appreciation Pep Rally is for fans of all ages, as there will be activities for Miami students, season-ticket holders, community members and families with young children. Highlighting the event will be the opportunity to hear from Head Coach Enrico Blasi around 8:15 p.m. on the upcoming season and Miami’s new conference, while attendees will also have the chance to meet and interact with the players.

“We are excited about the Fan Appreciation Pep Rally and hope to see all our fans, both students and in the community, at Goggin on Sept. 17,” Blasi said. “We feel this event will give fans a chance to get to know our program and meet our players, while also having fun, learning about our new conference and getting fired up for the upcoming season.”

In addition to Miami’s coaches and players, Miami’s nationally-recognized synchronized skating team will also be on hand to skate while the Band of Brotherhood will be belting out gameday tunes throughout the evening. Part of the Pep Rally will include an open skate for fans to get on the ice with the hockey players and synchronized skaters. Gameday chants will also be taught at the event.

Door prizes will be given away throughout the night, while several other activities are also planned. For the younger fans, there will be magicians, face painting and a balloon animal maker. For students, broomball will be available later in the night, as well as other games. The concession stands will also be open to offer food, such as hot dogs, nachos and more, with all menu items less than $4.

Fans will have the chance to purchase single-game tickets to both Miami football and hockey games during the Pep Rally at the ticket window in the Goggin Ice Center lobby, as well. Those attending the Pep Rally should enter Goggin Ice Center through the main lobby (not off of Oak Street).

The Miami Hockey Fan Appreciation Pep Rally takes the place of the preseason Faceoff Event that has occurred the last few years. The event is presented in conjunction with community partners - Oxford Visitors Bureau, Oxford Chamber of Commerce and the Blue Line Club.

Miami opens a new era of RedHawk Hockey in 2013-14, as the program begins its first season in the newly formed NCHC, of which Miami is a founding member. Miami opens the season with an exhibition game on Saturday, Oct. 5 against Windsor, before beginning the regular season with a home-and-home series against in-state rival Ohio State. The RedHawks play in Columbus Oct. 11, before welcoming the Buckeyes Oct. 12. Miami then kicks off its new conference with the first ever NCHC game on Friday, Oct. 18 against North Dakota at Steve Cady Arena.

The NCHC is an eight-team hockey-only league consisting of Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan, along with Miami. The conference boasts a combined 17 NCAA Championships, 50 Frozen Four berths, 12 Hobey Baker Award winners, including SCSU’s Drew LeBlanc this past year, and 266 All-Americans. The teams have also produced 295 players that went on to play in the NHL. The new league will reward fans every weekend with fast, exciting, action-packed hockey that pits several of the top teams in the country against each other. The NCHC also has agreed to a television deal with CBS Sports Network, assuring at least 18 league games will be broadcast to a national audience this coming season, including the NCHC opener between Miami and North Dakota.