parody of Blue Oyster Cult recording Don't Fear the Reaper, MSU's Cowbell Guy has been a recognizable character at Maverick men's hockey games for several years.
MavBlog took a few moments to find out more about this unique individual.
Name: Dan Schmidt • Hometown: Coon Rapids, Minn.
MSU Grad? (year, major): Yes, I graduated with a BS in Business Management in spring of 2006
How long have you been coming to MSU Hockey games?: I have been coming to games since my freshman year in 2002. I can think of only 3 games since then that I have missed. I missed my very first series against the Gophers because me and my roommates were unable to get tickets before they were all sold out, and then I missed one game in my senior year because I was in my sister's wedding.
How did the Cowbell thing start?: At the time the Cowbell thing began, I had already made myself known in the crowd with the various signs I would bring to games and just being as loud as I could with my voice...which as you know is VERY loud! But, I started doing the Cowbell thing in my Junior year. The sound people at home games started playing the famous SNL Cowbell skit over the speakers in an attempt to get the fans more into the games. Back then, to be honest & fair, our team was pretty terrible and our fans for the most part didn't get into the game because there was very little reason to. The first couple of times I heard the skit, I would stand up and scream some of the words along with it (the same words I do now... "Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription, is MORE COWBELL!") to try to help pump up the crowd. It helped a little bit but not a whole lot. Then I thought to myself, 'Ya know, I'm an actual drummer and I have an actual drum set cowbell that I could bring in and play along with the skit and act just like Will Ferrel does in the skit.' Basically, I just said to myself I was gonna make an a$$ of myself in front of thousands of people and if it helped get them into the game, GREAT! And if not, oh well, I'm still having fun at a hockey game even though my team sucks. So no matter what happens, I'm having fun. I wasn't going to let a bad team/season or lackluster fans ruin my time. The rest, as they say, is history!
Where did you get the cowbell from and how much did it cost?: Regardless of where I get them, my cowbells generally cost between $25-35 each. My very first cowbell I got from Mars Music store back when they were still in business. I bought that one before I was ever even in college and it was intended for use only on my drumset at home. Now I get them all at Guitar Center, although one cowbell I got at Scheitel's Music in Mankato. That one, I got in Mankato because my cowbell got cracked and damaged too much during the Friday game and needed a new one for the next night. At the end of that series I decided, because I rail on my cowbells so hard and so much during hockey games, I need to just buy a brand new one for each new season. Then, at the first game of every new season, I give my cowbell from the previous season to a little boy in the stands named Jake. I noticed a couple seasons ago that anytime I broke a drumstick, he would pick it up, take it home, and start bringing them the following seasons. I thought it was so cool to have a little kid look up to me like that so I decided to make him happy and let him have my old cowbells too and I autograph each one before I give it to him. His parents tell me he uses them all the time when he plays hockey in his garage at home!
One more note about my cowbells; before this hockey season, I spent some time trying to find a place that could do a nice powder coating paint job on my cowbell so I could have a Purple & Gold cowbell and hopefully even get the Maverick logo on it but, by the time I found someone who could do it, it was too last minute and would wind up costing more money than I had to put towards it. I'll have to do some more digging in the off-season to see if I can find someone better & cheaper! I really want to have that done from now on!
Do you have a favorite MSU player and why?: Currently, my favorite Maverick player is Justin Jokinen. I really like following closest our players who are drafted into the NHL before they've even graduated high school, and Jokinen was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres before ever donning a Maverick uniform. I actually won Jokinen's jersey in this years jersey auction. His was the only one I even bid on! As far as favorite Maverick players ever, I would have to call it a tie between David Backes (who was also drafted into the NHL, by the St Louis Blues, before ever donning a Mavs jersey), and Travis Morin, who I actually went to high school with. We didn't really know each other at all in high school but because we were both Osseo Sr High graduates, I cheered extra hard for him too.
How 'bout your favorite MSU hockey memory?: This is kind of a very tough question to answer because there have been so many amazing memories. So many great times had with great friends, amazing victories over tough teams, even a penalty shot in OT! But there is definitely one moment that stands out above all others for me and it came on the very last game of my senior year. As is every final home game of every year, it was senior night and I didn't think I would be coming back for very many games since I was graduating and moving back to the Cities. So I brought a sign that, on one side said "I'm a Senior too" and on the other side it said "Goodbye Maverick Fans." At the tail end of the game when they thanked the senior players over the loudspeakers, I stood up with that sign, and wound up getting a 5 minute standing ovation from the fans. We missed a lot of hockey because of that but it was worth it. A lot of fans even started a chant of "Go to Grad school!" It just really made me feel special and I loved it. I had such a hard time leaving the stadium at the end of that game. I just couldn't walk away. I was probably still in the arena at least 10-15 minutes after everyone else (excluding my friends I was there with) had exited. I was just too choked up and didn't want to believe it was over. So needless to say, it didn't take too many games the next season for me to decide that I couldn't give it up and that I had to get season tickets from there on out!
What's the best thing about being Cowbell Guy?: Well, as I said earlier, I certainly don't keep up the Cowbell Guy routine just for the attention or the fame or the perks (recognition wherever I go in Mankato and even one time getting recognized at a MN Wild game at the Xcel Energy Center, people buying me drinks at games or at the bars, opportunities like this), but I would also be lying if I said I didn't enjoy them! However, I think my favorite part about being who I am and doing what I do at Maverick hockey games, is simply that no matter whats happening on the ice, I'm still having a good night, and that it also extends to the other fans in the arena. I love to make people laugh and smile and I know I do that very well when I do my thing. It gets people more into the games and most people in the arena wind up having a great time no matter what else happens! Sure the nights we lose aren't as fun as the nights we win, but overall we still have a good time.
Anything you'd like to add?: One of my biggest collections I have at home is bobbleheads. There's a long story as to why I collect them but I love them to death and have a very big collection (nearing 70 and always climbing higher)! One of my biggest dreams/goals in life is to have my own Cowbell Guy bobblehead (and it'd be even greater if it were a promotional item one night at some Maverick Hockey game)! Stomper should also get his own bobblehead night! It seems only fair seeing as he is our mascot and unlike the Stomper of my first few years, the Stomper of the last few years has actually been entertaining! And of course, as always, GO MAVERICKS!!!!