Submitted by Brian on April 9th, 2011 at 3:47 PM


In my first or second season at Yost we sat maybe a section over from a guy who really wanted to be funny but mostly yelled things like "I want a piece of you, Ham." You see, it's funny because his last name is "Ham," and ham is also a lunchmeat so you could take a piece of him because he would be salty and delicious. And then you would put him in your mouth. Do you like where this is going? Check Y or N.

A few years later there was this lady in the endzone with a cowbell. She rang it with a ruthless military efficiency at the appropriate times. She was perhaps the best person with cowbell I have experienced, but she played with such intensity she came off as slightly insane. Someone once told me she had failed when she tried out for the hockey band. Ah: she had spent her time at Chateau d'If pounding out the insistent rhythm of "Go Blue" on the dungeon wall.

Maybe around the same time, maybe earlier, there was a generation of supremely vile screamers who sat in the heart of the student section and launched largely incomprehensible rants at whoever was an opportune target. I know they were supremely vile because at that point the visiting parents were seated right behind the visitor's bench—right in front of the vile generation—and screaming matches between them were a common occurrence. Meatheaded fathers trundling up the aisle in search of someone to fight weren't common occurrences, but they weren't exactly uncommon. I remember one particular UNO parent climbing the stairs with death in his eyes.

A few years after that they'd moved the parents and a couple guys who wore costumes to the game closest to Halloween decided they'd just start wearing them all the time, so you'd look over in the student section and see a penguin or Frankenberry or guys dressed up like knights for no apparent reason. This year there's a guy in a dog costume who screams so loud I can hear him across the ice.


There is a man who wears a "666" jersey that says "heckler from hell" on the back. He has always been there.

Hockey crowds invented "can't read, can't write" and, when Bobby Williams was running things into the ground and virtually everyone on Michigan State's team had been arrested or rumored to be having serious life problems with drugs, "snort green, smoke white." When Boston U and future NHLer Brandon Yip came to town someone started going "yip yip yip yip" like the aliens on Sesame Street and soon everyone was doing it and that's probably where the bizarre penalty kill hooting comes from. We used to chant "goalie, sieve" fairly generically until some guy came up with the version that goes from slow to fast to slow again, and now everyone does that.

At some point in the middle of the last decade there was a weird old man who started showing up in the student section. Whenever there was the vaguest impression of a penalty on the other team he would exclaim "HEY!" When the penalty impression was fairly strong he would continue saying "HEY!" for a solid minute. He did this flatly, without affect, just "HEY" repeated over and over with the same intonation. After a few games of this it was a little annoying but when someone started doing it with him to mock him everyone started doing it and it was just this mass of people screaming "HEY" like they are endeavoring to be a hockey metronome. Once it lasted for five solid minutes after a particularly egregious no call.

The student section's favorite name ever was "Cockburn," even though it was pronounced "coburn." This did not matter to them in the slightest.

There was also a comically long edition of If You Can't Get Into College Go To Blank directed at… oh, I don't know… Western or LSSU or Northern or something. Before each verse Superfan's sidekick would call out the next school you should apply to before Western or Lake State or wherever—"Schoolcraft!"


The band director used to dance. When Michigan was winning people would start screaming "dance" at him. There was specific dancing song, and often it was preceded by false starts that would draw boos and chants of "overrated." When the students were baying at their peak the director would finally relent and the dancing music would play and the director would dance and everyone would point at him and chant "Disco Nix," or other appropriate naming device that follows "Disco." Afterwards the noun-sieve cheer was "dancer, sieve."

At some point in the awkward transition period between Jack Johnson's dad dances to everyone dances there were three or four competing dancers, many of whom were just… wow. One of them was the spiritual descendent of Ham Guy and would not be dissuaded from dancing no matter how much you told him he should not do so. He probably had Asperger's even if that doesn't exist anymore.

There is one guy in my fogey section who is awesome. He is a big dude who brings the paper and when he is incensed he does not care he is around very many people who do not care quite as much as he does, he stands and bellows something or other I can't hear because I'm behind him. A few years ago when I was on the other side of the ice there was a guy who got so mad he'd leap up in his seat and lean over the boards so he could scream at the refs good and loud. I don't think he ever got booted out because he looked like an accountant.

Every time I go to the Joe I see one of the ushers from the student section there in civilian clothes, looking so happy he can face the ice the whole time and not kick anyone out for saying something naughty.

Some kid got his mom to make a giant Swedish flag so whenever Carl Hagelin scores it can cover an entire section, and everyone signed it and gave it to him on Senior Night and everyone hopes it's not an NCAA violation so he can keep it. There was a group of guys with vuvuzelas last year who were not annoying.

I was there the first time a kid on the zamboni took his shoe off, and the first time the kid on the zamboni who'd taken his shoe off threw it into the student section. The kid looked delighted he'd done this.



April 9th, 2011 at 4:02 PM ^

I've been going to games on and off my whole life, but these are the things that make Michigan Hockey a unique and wonderful experience. I was only eight when they won in '98, so tonight is huge for me(as it is for all of us). I just hope we win, so I can savor it for as long as I live. What a team, eh? Go Blue!


April 9th, 2011 at 4:09 PM ^

This so elegantly sums up why I think watching Michigan Hockey as part of the student section at Yost is the closest to sporting nirvana that I have ever or will ever come.

Go Blue!


April 9th, 2011 at 4:10 PM ^

Damn. That is just great.  Been over a decade since I was at Yost. In four years (93-97), I did not miss many games (between student section and radio). Football and basketball games are fun, but I'll always remember the craziness of Yost. Easily the most intimidating "revenue" venue at UM. Let's get another banner tonight!


April 9th, 2011 at 4:12 PM ^

I'm a senior, have been going to games at Yost for all four years (season tix for last 3), and this sums up all my experiences in that building. It's truly a unique place. Can't wait for tonight. GO BLUE!


April 9th, 2011 at 4:16 PM ^

...and that M (the other M) hockey was just around the corner. Do you realize how hard it is to make a Minnesotan wish for late fall right now?


It's pretty hard.


April 9th, 2011 at 4:17 PM ^

I'm beginning to notice a faint yet clearly discernible wear on the new rug from the relentless pacing over here.

t-minus just under three hours before I get really anxious.


April 9th, 2011 at 4:24 PM ^

This is the first year I had student tix and it was definitely worth it. Nothing compares to hockey at Yost. It is by far the best sports experience I've had, and I've been to the Big House countless times. Go BLUE!! and beat UMD!!


April 9th, 2011 at 4:25 PM ^

Three of my all-time favorite Yost moments from when I was a student (noting that the Molly Incident is the all-time, #1, thing I was there for...)

1). 1998 or 1999, we're playing pre-The Dynasty Miami early in the season and they have a player named Dustin Whitecotton.  He gets like seven penalties during the weekend series.  So someone starts chanting out "Whitecotton" and the crowd responds "Panties!"  "Whitecotton!" "Panties!"

2). One of my last games as a senior in 2000, before the netting, the puck comes over the glass and a Michigan softball player reaches up, snags it with her barehand, and goes about her business.  My roommate and seatmate referred to it as one the hottest things he had ever seen.

3). Free Ballard.  Nate Ballard was a burly, textbook larger than life guy.  He knew everyone, he had a sailor mouth and sounded like a foghorn.  He gets a little too in to it one night and gets hauled out by Security.  For the remaining 30 minutes of the game, the student section, during lulls in the actions just starts chanting "Free Ballard!  Free Ballard!"

Also worth mentioning.  Charles Woodson won the Heisman in 1997 on December 13, 1997, the same day Michigan beat Duke by 8 at Crisler (note: The game never actually happened, we all just imagined it.) and Michigan's playing Western at Yost that night.  Over in the press box side, you can see the guys up there watching the ceremony on the TV, and all of the sudden, bursts of arms in the air, and everyone in the student section knows.  Suddenly a chant of "CHAR-LES WOOD-SON" starts for a solid three minutes!  It was awesome.


April 9th, 2011 at 4:37 PM ^

There was the time on St. Patrick's day in 2008 that we gave the CYA chant  to a UNO parent who got escorted out for starting a fight during a 10-1 blowout in the CCHA tournament.


April 9th, 2011 at 4:30 PM ^

My first year at Yost, which was 1990-91, aka the first year of the current tournament run, the crowd was still finding its feet.

I used to sit opposite the student section and will never forget an old women who use to greet every ref with a chant that went something like "HEY SHEGOS. YOU'RE A FIRST CLASS RAT! [dramatic pause] AND THAT'S THE ONLY FIRST CLASS THING ABOUT YA!" She was my hero.

The next year I moved to the student section O, and I do believe that's the year the current student shenanigans were born.

Michigan Stadium on a beautiful fall Saturday is one of my favorite places on earth. But the atmosphere at Yost for a big rivalry game is better.

Go Blue! Bring it home for Red.

Bando Calrissian

April 9th, 2011 at 4:32 PM ^

The first time I went to Yost was with my dad.  I was, I think, about 6 or 7.  The game was against Michigan State, and I was excited as all get-out.  We got to the stairs to lead us to our seats, and the usher pulled my dad aside and said "um, if it gets too vulgar up there, let me know.  I'll find you new seats, it's no problem."  My dad, an alum who'd been a season ticket holder for football and basketball since the 70's, yet had never been to a hockey game until I pestered him long enough to take me, was confused.

We got to our seats just before the faceoff.  That's when it started.  And by "it," I mean the two guys sitting next to us.  Who were both wearing t-shirts and carrying signs that had to do something with a dude named Anson, and something called herpes.  Which is all we heard about the entire game.  "Hey, Anson?  How's the herpes?   DO THEY HURT?!?!?!?"  Between bouts of this, I tried to understand what the student cheers said.  And didn't quite get all the words until the next year, because we had such a great time that night that we bought season tickets as soon as they went on sale.  We've been in section 8 ever since.

I remember the first game against MSU after the Spartan Bob game, when the clock operator decided it would be hilarious to stop the clock at 00:01 at the conclusion of the third period, and left it that way for a good ten seconds while play continued.  

I remember the game the zamboni broke down on the left faceoff circle, leaving a gigantic trench in the ice after two failed attempts to haul it off.

I remember games when there were more guys in the penalty boxes than there were on the benches.  And the way Billy Muckalt and Jason Botterill had a tendency to make that happen.

I remember spending an afternoon at a Victors Club luncheon before the '96 season eating candy and goofing around with Blake Sloan and John Madden, both of them shocked when I asked them to sign a program I'd brought with me from the previous season.

Riding in a car with my dad trying furiously to get back to Ann Arbor before the end of the '98 championship game, hearing to Al and Jim call the Langfield goal just as we rolled into town, and driving in West and South Quads to the sound of people screaming out their windows.

I remember three great years of hockey band.  Playing stick hockey with Jack Johnson's little brother in a Grand Forks Holiday Inn.  Having the Water Buffalo dude put his sweaty hat on my head while he danced at the Joe.  The St. Patrick's Day "play Blues Brothers again!" fest.  Watching Kevin Porter win the Hobey.  Road tripping with my friends to away games that season.  Collapsing into the seat behind me at the end of the Frozen Four semifinal in Denver when the season was over, realizing I'd graduate without seeing these great kids win a championship.

Michigan Hockey is a family.  Yost is our living room.  This is the program.  And this is the night we make history again.  Go Blue.


April 9th, 2011 at 4:41 PM ^

I remember one particular UNO parent climbing the stairs with death in his eyes.

The specific incident I remember was when a full on brawl almost started after a Ferris St. girlfriend/sister turned around and wind-up slapped one of the guys. I always thought this was the particular incident that got the parents moved, because IIRC next season they were on the other side of the ice.


April 9th, 2011 at 5:35 PM ^

the student the dad attacked was Huge and the dad was small. The dad went after the student and imeadately was in the armpit of the student in a head lock.  It felt like one of the few times where they sided with the student and kicked out the parent and girl.


MRS COCKBURN clap clap clapclapclap MRS COCKBURN


April 9th, 2011 at 4:44 PM ^

1. Holding Western without a shot on goal in the first period on St. Patty's weekend I believe (2008-2009 season). We were up 3-0 and up 21-0 on shots after 1. I think everyone started to realize what was going on with about 3 minutes left in the period. One of the Western players angrily flipped the puck into the student section when the period ended which I think only intensified the rowdiness coming from the student section. When they came out in the 2nd period, they immediately shot one at Hogan from the blue line. Frankly, it wouldve gone over the cross bar but they gave them the shot. Yost then proceeded to give Western a standing ovation. Probably the most fun game I've ever been to.

2. The girl on the zamboni who was a bit too excited to take off her shoe for the student section. She took off one shoe...then another to even louder cheering. Then she took off both socks and it got even louder (YEAHHH!!) and then she went to start taking off her jersey and everyone starting yelling (NOOO!! NOO!) while waving their arms back and forth wildly

3. Lake State 2007-2008? or maybe 2008-2009. A LSSU mom/grandma came in wearing a hat with a big blue police beacon on it and when LSSU scored first she turned the hat on. Everyone chanted "Turn off your hat! [cowbell] Turn off your hate! [cowbell]...". Then when Michigan went on to score many more times than Lake State, we all chanted "Turn on your hat! [cowbell] Turn on your hat!.."

South Bend Wolverine

April 9th, 2011 at 4:59 PM ^

#3 was 2007-2008 (unless she also came back next  year), because I remember it happening during my senior year.  We also chanted "Blue light special" at her a few times.

Other top moments for me:

My very first hockey game as a kid.  We played Kent State (who had a team back then - early 90s).  We beat them 4-2.  Some time not long after, I went to a game where we shellacked OSU 9-3.  I don't honestly remember a whole lot about the games except that pucks hitting glass are loud, zambonis are REALLY big where you're a kid, and Michigan owning the world.  Also, free pizza against OSU because we scored 9 goals.

Senior year was the Kevin Porter Hobey Baker year, so there are a million moments.  The top one for me, though, would be the comeback win against ND.  We were #1 in the nation, but hadn't played any elite teams since attaining that ranking.  We got down 2 in the first, came back and tied it in the second, and then this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mkkpcEp2_4&feature=related .

Also, when I was an undergrad, the newspapers while announcing the other team's lineup tradition had fallen into disuse, so I decided to start bringing it back by passing out a million sheets at every game.  Other folks caught on, and now every time I go back, I feel a little satisfaction seeing the tradition alive and well.

Yost over the years has been defined by the passionate contributions of so many great personalities on & off the ice.  It's an honor to have been part of that for 4 great years, and a joy to go back & see what new generations are doing.

kevin holt

April 9th, 2011 at 5:03 PM ^

I think that second one was last year, and I was horrified at the time, yet laughed until I almost cried once it was over. That was seriously the most sudden change in emotion from such a gigantic crowd. It was amazing.

This post/thread is getting me pumped. 

Michigan Arrogance

April 9th, 2011 at 4:56 PM ^

I grew up watching college hockey. Not Michigan, but RPI.Yes, there's a school RPI that has nothing to do with ratings percentage index. They had great teams when I was like 8. The atmosphere wasn't like Yost- nothing is- but it was and still is distinctly college hockey. Small, unique, familiar, rarely a hint of change. I saw a national championship team and future NHL all stars like Adam Oats.

My Mom, Dad and I would all go to just about every home game. I loved every minute of it. Getting to the rink early to watch warm ups, amazed at how the players could flip the puck in the air with just their sticks, kind of like this. I was the only 8 year old who could stand at the glass and not flinch at pucks crashing into the glass (Grown men would half dive behind the seats). The stale smell of the ice. The pizza with the cheapest, US gov't grade motz. cheese that was so salty & chewy. And oh, the chipwhiches: ice cream sandwhiches with choc. chip cookies as the 'bread.' When the season tickets came in October, I'd thumb thru every ticket like I was counting $100 bills from a robbery. Preseason: Babson, RIT. Non-conf: BU, Lake St, Merrimack, even Michigan one year.

That was Red's 1st year at Michigan. My Dad knew him from his playing days in A2. My Dad was probably the original college hockey fan. He'd go to the old Broadmore in CS, CO to watch the finals of the NCAA tournament. So I met Red that year as a 7 year old a few minutes before Michigan got shellacked by the eventual National Champions. My Dad told Red it would take at least 4 years to build up the program. Turns out he was right.

I didn't really follow Michigan hockey until 1992, even then only via the old College Hockey Magazine. That year we won tickets to the national title game thru a newspaper contest, but M lost in Albany so we didn't go. Finally, ESPN started televising the tournament around 1995. I was a senior and accepted to Michigan watching Marty Turco stand on his head for 5 hours on a Sunday. There's something about this tournament, and Brian described it perfectly just this week.

I had no plans to get hockey tickets when I got to Michigan that fall. I figured football was plenty and I had plenty of trouble trying to get a B in each class. My roommate and this girl from his HS convinced me to give them my ID and they'd camp out at the Union to get us all season tickets. It was the best $87 I ever spent. They dominated so much in those days, the 1/2 off pizza from Cottege Inn would pay for the tickets over the course of the season. I married that girl.

So anyway, thanks for the hockey columns Brian. I'll be at the Arena tonight in a white M jersey probably losing my voice. Sorry for the tl;dr.



April 11th, 2011 at 11:40 AM ^

... so I passed on football tickets entirely (I knew how to find 'em if I wanted them, and there were almost always plenty to be had for cheap if you were patient).  But the deadline for hockey season tickets snuck up on me, and in a rush I somehow managed to convince a friend from out of state who had never been to a hockey game, period, to buy season tickets with me.  I still don't really know how.  I think, despite my best efforts at preparing him, he still wasn't prepared for the experience of his first game there.  But oh, such great times.


April 9th, 2011 at 5:00 PM ^

I think the post-goal chant, while hugely awesome, would be still better if the "Sieve!  Sieve!  Sieve!  Sieve!" part were chanted a little more slowly.  That part seems to have gotten faster over the years, to the point where it sounds almost like a unintelligible "S-s-s-s!" sound.  Take your time and milk the chant as long as you can.  The opposing goalie deserves it.


April 9th, 2011 at 5:16 PM ^

the time back around the release of the Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, when OSU showed up in Yost.  They had a player that was about 5'4" or at least seemed like it standing next to an extremely tall player on his line.

Over the two games, students mercilessly chanted "dirty hobbit" and "frodo" with the occassional "bilbo" thrown in for good measure.  The band eventually played LOTR music on the second night, and students then chanted "back to the shire" in place of "warm up the bus".


April 9th, 2011 at 5:29 PM ^

regarding the Coburn incident(s).  In at least one game he got in a fight and was ejected which led to Cockburn being added to the C-ya chant for a while.  

After a different, and pretty awesome fight, Coburn (as Northern's captain) stood at center ice while the refs debated all the penalties.  He lifted his helmet above his face the entire time and the student section chanted "Ugly Cockburn" for nearly 10 full minutes.  He eventually turned to ackowledge the crowd and ended up getting a kick out of it I think.

Yinka Double Dare

April 9th, 2011 at 5:47 PM ^

Oh no, that guy really was short, and the initial "dirty hobbit" chant was probably due to his mullet but he really was the classic annoying little guy in the Theo Fleury mold, and after some dodgy plays the "dirty hobbit" chant got much louder.  The second night he didn't start, the student section chanted "where is Frodo" and "we want Frodo" until at a stoppage his line came on, which was greeted with the Lord of the Rings theme by the band.

I also remember a guy whose name was Dumas, who inevitably got the same pronunciation of his name as appeared in Shawshank.


April 9th, 2011 at 5:12 PM ^

My first game at Yost, my friend had given me his student tickets because he was working WOLV that night. It was me and my 60 year old dad, and I had not gotten into Michigan yet. We absolutely did not belong in the student section. Someone caught us right away and asked us "Is this your first time?" I nodded. He handed me a section of the newspaper and said "You're going to learn so much. Stand and play along."


Michigan beat UNO 10-1 that night, and I don't know if I'll ever match the experience.

BOX House

April 9th, 2011 at 5:16 PM ^

Thank you for that -- wondefully written. Makes me regret never getting hockey tickets as a student. Will read that one again just before game time for inspiration/pump-up.


April 9th, 2011 at 5:16 PM ^

Always appreciate your prose, but especially tonight. Yes, the wait is intense. Hours have morphed into days.

Especially here in Europe, where the game starts at 1am. To paraphrase the immortal words of Bob Ufer, I've had all day and a part of the next to "think victory."

Last time I posted was from the Zurich Hooters. Still live here in Zurich; sure wish Hooters was open at 1am.

Geh Blau!


April 9th, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

was also a fan favourite from LSSU as well as yelling Flaurence when Nightingale was on the ice.

The first game I went to as a freshman I laughed the entire time with the creativity of the cheers. Few things make me as happy as Yost, especially as a student.