First of all, I want to state the obvious: Yost is awesome. The building is beautiful, the crowd is crazy, the team competes for championships year in and year out, and the only times we have seen a sports atmosphere like it are a select few football games (2003 OSU, 2004 MSU, 2005 PSU, 2009 Notre Dame). I have been going to games for almost fifteen years, first as a kid whenever my neighbors had extra tickets, and now as a student. I love Yost and we absolutely do not want anything about it to change, but I think it can be even better.
Last winter, after traveling to several road games and NCAA Regionals in Bridgeport, my friend and I decided that there should be a hockey student organization equivalent to what Maize Rage is for basketball. Our intention is not to change the Yost experience or impose ideas on the student section in any way. We are not trying to script the cheers because, let’s be honest, nothing beats a clever cheer that starts spontaneously (“Potato famine” against Notre Dame for example). However, there are some easy things we can do.
Our primary goal is to make it easier for students to travel to road games, CCHA playoffs, and NCAA playoffs. Last year when we went to Bridgeport, our friends were the only active students in the crowd. We know there are plenty of fans out there who would love to make the trip given a more obvious opportunity. There is no reason why we couldn’t fill up a charter bus or two, get a cheap rate for a block of hotels, and have an unbelievable weekend. Similarly, CCHA playoffs are less than an hour away and almost half of our conference opponents are within two hours of Ann Arbor (MSU, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Western). We have discussed our plan with the athletic department and they are fully on-board. There are logistics to work out, but they want to provide buses to games in Detroit and potentially others far away. They want to work with us if we can make this happen.
In addition to road trips, we want to try to make the student section more cohesive. In my experience, nothing makes a group closer than traveling together, but there are plenty of things we can do in Ann Arbor. The athletic department has told us that they have plenty of money for promotions and events. There could be pre-game tailgates, like the preseason hockey barbecue. One idea they had was a tricycle race tournament before the game in the parking lot, with the semifinals and finals on the ice between periods. They also want to do more t-shirt giveaways and other promotions. Not only does the athletic department want a student group to work with and bounce ideas off of, we can serve as an outlet for student ideas and facilitate a dialogue with the athletic department.
Although we came up with the idea and are working to get it off the ground, this group will not work without popular support. The last thing we want to do is impose our ideas and our will on the rest of the student section. We are open to any ideas and, more importantly, we are looking for other students who want to get involved. Although we have an idea of what our goals are, we want as much input and help from other students as we can get so that this becomes a group for all of Yost and all students, not just the two of us and the athletic department. There are several ways to get in touch with us and become involved. Join our facebook group called Michigan Hockey Student Section, send us an email at [email protected], talk to us at our table at the student ticket hockey barbecue this Thursday, or, most importantly come to our mass meeting in the Union Tap Room on Tuesday October 6 at 7:00 PM. Go Blue!