I did not make this headline up
Ok folks, sorry for the long absence from the posting world. The last two home football games were just not worth writing about for much the same reason that they really weren’t worth UFR-ing—namely, basically everyone that was responsible for any student section maladies is now gone. Sure, yes, Brandon was gone, but not with enough time for anything really to change. At any event, I’ll eventually get around to some closing thoughts that might still be relevant come next year, but for this article we’re going to talk about a different student section, namely that of Yost.
I’ve had hockey season tickets for a number of years, and in that time, Yost has always been a wonderful, fantastic, electric atmosphere. There have, however, been some up and downs. The renovation was a mixed bag: brighter, cheerier motif, more room, I think the foot stomping is more effective; however, the top rows have bad visibility, and the student section is smaller. Some of the other “recent” changes:
- Moving the student section around the bend: New this year, the student section extends from about Section 19 (behind the home bench) to Section 14 (south wall next to the band). Generally speaking, this is bad. The student section used to extend along the entire east wall (minus the band). This means less raucous Yost-worthy fans near the other net, it also means that the student section is no longer contiguous (more on that later). The reasons are likely Brandonian: side seats can probably be sold for more than those behind the nets. The only benefit I’ve seen is that it makes it marginally easier to get the “GO” “BLUE” chant started by bouncing between 17 and 14 rather than across the ice.
- Too damn much music. Not much to add here, choir.
- Moving the opposing parents behind the visiting bench: This is the one I want to particularly deep dive into. This has been unequivocally the most detrimental to the fan experience at Yost since I’ve been there.
- Making the student section just plain smaller: If I had to guess, this is a money issue, but not the cost of hockey tickets. I believe this is a cost of football tickets issue. If football tickets are stretching the bank, other season tickets are the first thing to go. Hopefully we’ll see some rebound here next year.
Why the parents being there is so bad
Let’s revisit contiguity. The reason that Section 17 (the heart of the student section) is so great is because everyone is clumped together; they can feed off each other; they can exchange cheers, ideas, etc. Imagine trying to start the wave in the Big House if there were a section of OSU fans in between two parts of the student section. Yeah, that isn’t working. For the same reason that moving part of the student section to the other side of the band is bad, so is putting the opposing parents behind the visiting bench. Worse, the (albeit minimal) upside doesn’t exist because the split up sections face the same way. So now we essentially have a core student section that maxes out at a full Section 16 and 17, which is loud and proud, but fundamentally limited in size. Compare that to when I started going to hockey games, where for the big games you could expect to fill the whole east wall with people who were pretty into it.
Also there’s utilization. Even when we’re playing teams that are nearby like MSU or OSU the parent section is half empty and the students aren’t even allowed to sit in the periphery. That is a full-blown, fully mapped DMZ that you better keep stepping through and not stop. So now we have students that don’t fit in Section 17, stuck above row 10 in Section 18 and a bunch of needlessly empty seats below them. And for what? So these parents can have some elbow room to look at their sons’ backs? That’s the area they want to be filming—they want to show the crazy passion fans have in promo materials. And now they take a picture and it looks like the student section abruptly fades to empty silver bleachers. Great planning that is.
Finally, it is just a fundamentally bad idea that has actually led to altercations and fisticuffs in the stands. I would love to have been at the meeting where this was pitched.
“Alright team, what if we move the opposing parents into the student section?”
“Dave, that’s insane.”
“I regret to inform all of you that Phillip will no longer be working with us. Does anyone else have thoughts about the move?”
“Seeing none, meeting adjourned.”
But actually, what type of sane human being hears that and doesn’t immediate respond “that’s actually insane”? Since the move, I’ve seen mortified parents trying to shield their children from the “cya” cheer. I’ve seen a UMass-Lowell parent push a UM student down the stairs. And just this evening I watched an OSU parent come up and jab a student in the chest. Fortunately—I suppose—I was close enough to observe the whole incident. From what I could tell the “instigation”, if you want to call it that, was that the student observed (albeit quite loudly) that OSU’s goal to make it 5-2 UM with like 30 seconds left would have no bearing on the outcome of the game (I must admit, he did have a point). What baffled me though was that this parent was not immediately escorted from the building, nor even the section. Worse still, event staff got on this student’s case and threatened to kick him out of future games if there were any complaints (despite nearby students asserting that he hadn’t done anything wrong). To be fair, most of my experiences with event staff folks have been positive, but I’ve also had a number like this, where one event staffer can sour the whole experience for the fans, which is a real shame.
Now, were there other things said that may have irritated the opposing parents? Probably. It is the Yost student section after all. But, really, that’s the point. Yost is a great place because the fans, especially the students, are insane and make it a loud and intimidating place to play. Putting the opposing parents in the middle of the students is asking for trouble, and that request has been answered too many times. It’s time to undo this tragedy of basic judgment and move the parents somewhere else.
Michigan's first home game at Yost since they potatoed Minnesota, 7-5 after they beat them in Basketball that same day. That was 42 days ago.
Doubleheader, but a new opponent. Who Michigan just beat in Basketball.
Right the wrongs from the last hockey game. Beat them. PLAY OUR GAME.
Puck drop: 5pm
TV: FSN Plus
Red's done great things for this program and no doubt he has universal respect in the hockey world, but as Michigan just shot themselves in the foot for the 3rd straight year I thought I'd look at the numbers to see the impact Mel has had.
Mel has been at either Tech or Michigan since the 1985-1986 season. Darker lines are with Mel (2014 is projected based on current win%)
(Apologies for the hastily assembled, hard to read chart)
Red is a great guy, but I think it's his time. Retire with all appropriate fanfare and respect, but Hackett needs to call Mel and ask what he needs to come back to Ann Arbor.
OK we are roughly a month from the end of the regular season and Michigan NEEDS to bounce back from an upsetting trip to Minnesota last weekend.
Here are tonights games (including B1G matchups, Top 20 and non conference oppenents as well) and any television information I could find. (All rankings are Pairwise rankings as of start of play today)
6:30 #13 Minnesota @ #24 Penn State BTN (Dish 410)
7:00 #16 Michigan @ #41 Ohio State BTN Plus (BULLSHIT subscription service)
7:00 #46 RPI @ #30 Cornell
7:00 #37 New Hampshire @ #39 Connecticut
7:00 #14 Yale @ #10 Quinnipiac TSN2 (in Canada)
7:00 #15 Harvard @ #20 St. Lawrence
7:00 #44 Mass @ #10 Providence
7:00 #28 Merrimack @ #16 Vermont
7:00 #2 North Dakota @ #23 Western Michigan CBSSN (Dish 158)
7:00 #33 Northern Michigan @ #8 Bowling Green
7:30 # 16 UMass-Lowell @ #10 Boston College
7:30 #35 Notre Dame @ #3 Boston University
7:30 #20 Northeastern @ #41 Maine
7:30 #4 Minnesota-Duluth @ #6 Miami
8:30 #5 Nebraska-Omaha @ #19 St. Cloud State
9:00 #31 Michigan State @ #55 Wisconsin
9:30 #9 Denver @ #49 Colorado College CBSSN (Dish 158)
It should be obvious that Michigan needs to pick up 3 points tonight at the always empty Value City Arena. The Wolverines will not get a big boost from this game but they need to stop falling in the Pairwise. A big game goes down in "Hockey Valley tonight as well as the Gophers look to build off of their recent successes (6 straight B1G contests picking up a point including 4 straight Wins). I think Penn State winning would benefit Michigan as the Lions are the only team left on Michigan's schedule that could climb into the top 20 and they play twice on the road which provides the Wolverines two chances at big road wins (which are weighted heavier in terms of the Pairwise rankings).
RPI and NHU have chances to help Michigan's RPI ranking minimally with road contests Friday night but the biggest help could be provided by a team that Michigan is currently tied with in the rankings as UMass-Lowell travels to Chestnut Hill. Lowell is a team that Michigan beat earlier in the season and they have a chance at knocking off a top 10 team in Boston College who beat Micigan in December.
The night cap on BTN has the potential to be the most boring hockey game played as MSU's shitty/mind numbing style of hockey faces off against one of the worst teams in the country. MSU needs to win and climb back up the rankings as much as they can before Michigan travels to East Lansing March 13 for the last push of the regular season. One last interesting game to watch is Duluth at Miami as two top 6 teams meet up in Oxford.
Minnesota 2 @ 1 Penn State 16z;00 3rd
Michigan 2 @ 3 Ohio State End 2nd
Yale 2 @ 2 Quinnipiac End 2nd
North Dakota 2 @ 0 Western Michigan 6:00 2nd
Coach Berenson announced today that Copp is week-to-week with the injury he took vs. Minnesota and is not expected vs OSU this weekend:
Coach Berenson shares that Andrew Copp is week-to-week with an upper body injury.— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) February 16, 2015
Andrew Copp has an upper-body injury and is doubtful for this weekend vs. Ohio State. The good news - not a long-term injury, per Berenson.— Jeremy Summitt (@jeremysummitt) February 16, 2015
Fortunately the next two weeks are against Ohio State and Wisconsin - the two worst teams in the Big Ten. This team should not need Copp to go 4-0 but I definitely hope to have him back before the road series at PSU.
This story is a few weeks old, so forgive me if it's been posted, but it's neat to see former Michigan defenseman Lee Moffie (2009-13) is getting into the fashion game.
They offer two dress shirts — solid white and blue gingham — made from athletic performance fabric, which includes 10% spandex. The shirts are geared for athletic guys who want more room in the shoulders and chest and are slimmer at the waist.
Too bad it sounds like we won't see Red in one! But gotta think he's happy to see stuff like this, with the way he talks about wanting to make sure his players don't become "hockey bums" once they're graduated and gone.
Here's a news clip I found as I was searching to see what Moffie's up to nowadays (he and Derek DeBlois are both with the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays). They say his co-founder is a Michigan teammate, which isn't what Sipple wrote...interesting either way.