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SUNY Plattsburgh’s Burghy Celebrates 43 Years a Cardinal

Burghy and Cardnal women hockey players

Burghy looks pretty good for a 43-year-old cardinal.

The long-standing, high-fiving, oft-skating mascot of SUNY Plattsburgh’s athletics and student life, Burghy, turned Saturday, Jan. 20 and was feted to a party at the Plattsburgh State Field House.

Boy with BurghyGuests were treated to birthday cake and party hats, and Burghy, who milled about the lobby posing for photos and then took to the ice between periods, was serenaded — twice — by the crowd singing the Happy Birthday song during the women’s and men’s Cardinal hockey games.

Burghy was the collaborative brain child of a group of Student Association officers and advisers back in the late 1970s who wanted to energize the student body to attend SUNY Plattsburgh athletic events.

Patrick Kane, a member of the Class of 1981, brought the bird to life mostly because he fit in the costume that was handmade by a Keeseville, N.Y., costumer. The late Dr. Ernest Rangazas, professor emeritus of health, physical education and recreation, gave the red bird his nickname, and on Jan. 21, 1981, before the men played rival icers Oswego, Kane and his alter ego emerged from a giant birdhouse that was wheeled out onto the ice.

pat kane and burghyThe crowd lost its collective mind, the men won the game, and the team that year went on to win the division and play for the national championship. Burghy has been a fixture on athletic department teams, on campus and in the community ever since. His plumage may have changed over the years — he’s undergone several transformations — but under it all, he’s the same old Burghy.

1981 Pat Kane BurghySaturday’s birthday celebration — born of a social media post out of the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing that then took flight —brought in Chartwells, which donated a large birthday cake that was cut and handed out to those gathered in the lobby of the field house, and College Auxiliary Services, which donated Burghy plushies that were tossed in the stands during the two games.

Prior to the start of the women’s game, Kane, who returned to the nest from his home in the Saratoga, N.Y., area, was given the honor of performing the ceremonial puck drop. The Cardinal women shut out the Buffalo State Bengals 7-0 Friday night and again Saturday afternoon, 5-0. The men bested Morrisville 8-2 later that evening.

— By Associate Director of Communications Gerianne Downs

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