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Blue-Haired & Brazen: Longtime Fan Electrifies Penn State Hockey

Pegula Ice Arena is home to Penn State’s men’s and women’s hockey teams. During fast-paced games, it’s difficult to ignore the boisterous fans and even more deafening student section rightfully named the Roar Zone.

If you’ve ever attended a game, you’ve probably noticed an adult fan with vibrant blue hair and a booming voice. Rich Seifert, unofficially known as The Blue-Haired Guy, energizes the crowd every period with a powerful We Are chant followed by a Hulk Hogan pose. It’s not uncommon for him to receive cheers from the student section, either.

“We absolutely love Rich and his passion for the university and men’s hockey,” Roar Zone President Troy LaPolice said. “It’s really infectious. We love to have him there.”

Seifert started going to Penn State hockey games in 1990 after moving to State College to work on a race team. At the time, Penn State only had a club hockey team. A friend introduced him to another Penn State hockey fan who later invited Seifert to come to a game. Despite the club not being an official Penn State team, Seifert fell in love with the game and credits the club’s skill as being the factor that drew him in.

“He mentioned Penn State hockey and I said, ‘What, are you crazy? Penn State is football, they don’t have hockey.’ And he just said, ‘yes they do,’ and we got talking from there,” Seifert said. “I’m a big hockey fan in general, so we just started coming to the games. It wasn’t sloppy and was really good competitive hockey.”

Courtesy of Rich Seifert

Seifert’s dedication to the game is unreal with a fixed seat located in section 121, row L, seat 113. He’s only a few missed home games, too. You’ll catch him wearing the same pair of pants, shoes, and socks to every game because he’s superstitious.

Seifert’s We Are chant started randomly and was quickly received with positive responses.

“It just happened from what I can remember. It was a break in the action and I just stood up and screamed ‘We Are!,” Seifert explained. “For the poses, I do have a slight resemblance to Hulk Hogan, so when the Roar Zone started chanting ‘Hogan, Hogan!’ I had to do something. Being the sports nut that I am, I just started doing that wave or whatever it’s called. Then, I decided to get a jersey and rip it open with different sayings underneath.”

The blue hair also started spontaneously to celebrate the opening of Pegula Ice Arena.

“The first weekend was just totally amazing and totally electric,” Seifert said. “A friend of mine is a beautician and we were sitting at a bar and I said, ‘What can we do?’ And she said ‘I can do your hair blue.’ So I said, ‘Let’s give it a shot,’ and it went over real big.”

The blue color went from temporary chalk to mousse to dye. With his loud persona and eye-catching hair, Seifert quickly became a local legend.

“Ever since my name was in the paper years ago, people I didn’t even know would come up to me,” Seifert said. “They’ll say, ‘Hey Rich…your hair’s not blue,’ or ‘Hey Rich, how do you think we’re gonna do?’ or ‘Hey Rich, how’s the team?’ It kind of makes you feel like a celebrity. But no, I’m not a celebrity.”

Over the years, Seifert has formed relationships with men’s hockey coach Guy Gadowsky, fans, players, and players’ parents.

Outside of hockey, Seifert works at the Ciocca Mercedes Benz dealership as a janitor and often gets recognized at work, too.

“It comes with the territory,” Seifert said.

Seifert’s dream is to drive Pegula’s Zamboni and meet the Pegula family.

“I don’t want to do the whole rink. I just want to go from the far end to the student section and just have the student section go crazy,” Seifert said. “That would be enough. I can say I drove a Zamboni. I also want to thank the Pegulas for doing this.”

Currently in the works are yearly trading cards featuring Seifert and a small biography. He carries them everywhere and at all times.

Courtesy of Rich Seifert

“I mentioned wanting to make them to a friend and he said, ‘I know somebody that does that, let me contact them and see what we can do,'” Seifert said.

For now, Pegula’s Blue-Haired Guy sees himself attending games and supporting the team for as long as he can.

“He’s just a really nice guy and you can tell he really cares,” LaPolice said. “He has a mutual relationship with the Roar Zone, and we love it.”

While the loud and sometimes aggressive atmosphere can be off-putting to some, Seifert encourages newcomers to come to the stands.

“Just go…it’s very exciting and fast-paced. It’s a lot of fun with the Roar Zone and people who go to the games,” Seifert said. “As for fans being too mean, it’s just part of hockey. The student section isn’t mean, they’re just passionate…very passionate.”

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About the Author

Marie Moyer

Marie is a third-year student majoring in journalism and minoring in graphic design. She loves being fiscally irresponsible at local farmers markets, watching niche documentaries on HBO, and going to Penn State hockey games as "self-care." Normally you can find her on her laptop, probably away from natural sunlight, either on Adobe Illustrator or WordPress. You can reach her on Instagram - @_mariemoyer_ or send her suggestions (and cat photos) via her email - [email protected]

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