It all started with a single, innocent tweet.
On October 20th, Bowling Green sophomore Kevin Dufour was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for his three-goal weekend against Alabama-Huntsville the weekend prior. Lifelong Bowling Green fan Erika Harris--borrowing from the Detroit Red Wings parody Twitter account @ChurchofNyquist--tweeted out the following:
Harris never could have guessed the way the Church of Dufour would take off and gain such a, pardon the pun, cult-like following.
Dufour scored a goal in Bowling Green's 2-2 tie on Friday against Clarkson, and another goal in Saturday's 5-4 win over the Golden Knights. The goals were his seventh and eighth of the season, giving him two more goals than any other player in the country, and making #ChurchofDufour a trending topic in the Bowling Green area.
It's only grown in the past week. There's now an official Twitter account, devoted followers, the Word of Dufour, and even a collection plate, which the NCAA probably frowns upon. It's a great example of just how much fun college hockey can be.
But most importantly, Dufour's hot start, combined with a 4-1-1 record for the Falcons has provided excitement and ultimately hope to the Bowling Green community. Thankfully it seems a distant memory, but it was just over five years ago that there were serious talks about shutting down Bowling Green's program. But there's a legitimate excitement in the air at Bowling Green. Continued success on the ice, and a groundswell fan movement like this could go a long way towards raising Bowling Green's profile both nationally and locally to the point where the program's future is never in doubt again.
Dufour and the Falcons will face their toughest test yet this upcoming weekend when they host WCHA preseason favorites Minnesota State. The Falcons and Mavericks split their four games in the regular season last season, with three of the four contests being decided in overtime, before the Mavericks won the decisive battle in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Five.
The Falcons played an exceptional game in their first home game of the season, a season-opening win over Miami in front of an announced crowd of 2118. This weekend will be an excellent opportunity to prove they belong as a top team in the WCHA, and keep the legend of the Church of Dufour growing.