Maize Rage for Hockey

Submitted by Child of Yost on September 29th, 2009 at 7:28 PM

            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!

Comments

Yostal

September 29th, 2009 at 8:31 PM ^

As someone who wished this would have existed during my tenure as a student, I wish you good luck in this endeavor.

My major suggestion might be to talk to someone from the Dekers to see what you can work on as a cooperative thing since you both have the same larger goal.

Also, I like the nickname Children of Yost, but other possibilities could include the Yostmen, the Redheads, Red's Barons, or the Blues Brothers.

Child of Yost

September 29th, 2009 at 9:09 PM ^

The name is still up in the air. We love Children of Yost but we are completely open to suggestions and will talk it over. Like I said, we want to be a forum, we don't want to impose our ideas.

Also, we talked with the Maize Rage guys in the spring to get advice and ideas. Right now our goal is just to get this thing going but I'm sure we'll talk to them more once we are more established.

Wolverine318

September 29th, 2009 at 8:32 PM ^

Send me an email at [email protected]. I am a student member of the Dekers Blue Line Club. My wife and I have recently have been getting involved with the leadership to get more student involvement with the Dekers. At the moment, student involvement with the Dekers is minimal at best. I would like to change this.

Geaux_Blue

September 29th, 2009 at 9:21 PM ^

i was going to suggest this very thing. there is absolutely zero reason this should be done outside of the Deker association. if not for general funding and assistance, the Deker club has been doing an amazing job for alumni and general fans hoping to do whatever. further, their activity in charity, etc., earns them the respect that should be shown by facilitating through them any student groups.

Bando Calrissian

September 29th, 2009 at 9:18 PM ^

Be careful. The Athletic Department has been looking for ways to control/sanitize the Yost student section for years. Their enthusiasm is likely more of a "if we sponsor them, they will stop the CYA cheer/being so gosh darn vulgar!" than it is out of any desire to build a cohesive student section.

Plainly, I don't think there's really a need for this. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but one of the things that makes the Yost experience so great is that there isn't a need for a "Maize Rage"-type group to organize the students. Everybody learns to get on the same page, and it spontaneously grows more cohesive as the season progresses. Once you get the Athletic Department involved, once you organize it -too much-, Yost stops being Yost, and starts becoming something else entirely. I've been in on meetings with the Athletic Department over the student section, and spent 3 years in the Hockey Band, so I've heard what their vision is for the student section. And you want no part of it. They've already done all they could to neuter the whole thing by splitting it down the middle behind the benches. A few years ago they even attempted to flot an idea to move the entire student section to one of the end zones.

If you want to go to away games with your friends, go ahead and do it. I did it when I was a student, and it was awesome. If you want to talk the Dekers Club into helping get a bus or two for playoff games or stuff at the Joe, that's cool, too. I just don't think you need to create a student section with a name or leadership or any of that jazz to do it.

Again, cool idea, but I think this is better suited for schools/arenas that don't already have vibrant, awesome student sections. Don't mess with a good thing.

Wolverine318

September 29th, 2009 at 10:00 PM ^

Completely agree with this post. I have been in the hockey student section since 2006 (the year the AD started an aggressive campaign to kick students out for the C-YA cheer (I was pinched once)). I know all about how the AD has been attempting to neutralize the student section to make it more "family friendly" for opposing fans. The hockey pep band was moved to the same side as the students to drown us out. It will be interesting to see how aggressive the AD is with the student section after the infamous "F You State" chant during the incident this season.

The best idea is to organize completely outside the AD. Believe us when we say you do not want to get the AD involved with the student section. The rowdiness of the student section is what makes Yost special (similar to the Cameron Crazies at Duke).

I highly suggest you involve the Dekers. Red is a board member. They have excellent connections to travel agencies to organize bus trips. The dekers also have a very strong knowledge of student-athlete eligibility and licensing issues regarding athlete contact with fans and the sale of Michigan hockey apparel. I know personally the Dekers has no opinion about the student section cheers (they look the other way). It is also a priority of the Dekers to get greater student involvement in the administration.

Bando Calrissian

September 29th, 2009 at 10:05 PM ^

Hate to quibble, but they really got serious about the CYA cheer in 2004. They had been putting letters down on the seats and trying to clean it up since the late 90's, but getting the ushers involved and physically throwing people out began in the fall of the 2004-5 season. That's when they had the focus group meetings and started flexing their muscles. There were games where as soon as penalties were called, there were ushers in the rows playing Mom and Dad, trying to pick out who kept going all the way to what the Assistant Athletic Director continually referred to (hilariously) as "c-sucker." It got ugly, they somewhat backed down, and largely let it go until about a season and a half later.

Given the Athletic Department's track record towards the student section, actively using the Band as a tool to drown them out, etc. etc., I don't know of any reason why they could be trusted in helping to organize anything.

MGoAndy

September 29th, 2009 at 10:17 PM ^

I think the greater concern is how horrific the student section was last year. The thing that has always been great about Yost was that the students were knowledgeable about the game and clever. Now every single penalty is met with the 'Ref You Suck' chant, and there just isn't much of the wit and cleverness in the chants coming from the student section. The C Ya chant has gotten dumber because all the brahs come to swear for a few hours, and the whole thing is turning into a disaster.

Personally, I think being in the endzone would go a long way to building better cohesion. The left and right sides of the student sections are completely cut off from each other, the chants and cheers get muddled and confused, and it creates one giant mess.

Wolverine318

September 29th, 2009 at 11:53 PM ^

Agreed. My biggest complaint are the cowbellers on opposite sides. They are rarely together and resulted in a muddled mess.

I did enjoy the Hey (goalie's name) it's your mom chant last season. The guy that did it always did his homework and referred to the goalie's mother's and father's first name, famous alumni of their university and state.

Wolverine318

September 30th, 2009 at 10:12 AM ^

It has gotten particularly bad the last couple seasons. I don't know if it is laziness or lubrication from ingestion of some alcoholic beverages before the game, most likely a combo of both. I swear there needs to be cowbelling lessons before the season. There are 50 different tempos taken and none of them can keep a constant beat.

Feat of Clay

September 30th, 2009 at 2:52 PM ^

I distinctively remember being at a game ten years ago where a rogue cowbelling fan showed up. The two regular cowbell guys, who always stayed in sync despite being separated by several sections, were momentarily flummoxed. After one cheer they both stayed standing and the one hollered to the other "Who the hell is THAT guy" and the other one hollered back "NO IDEA" and the rogue cowbeller seemed to be shamed into silence for the rest of the game. I still laugh to remember this, particular the body language of the regular cowbell fellas.

sjastrz

September 29th, 2009 at 10:21 PM ^

I really don't think there is any reason to organize further in-game wise. Yost has a great atmosphere already and there is nothing that needs to be changed. Coming up with some dumb student section name and passing out t-shirts would be step backwards. Organizing for away games and getting involved outside of the hockey games themselves is a great idea though.

kmd

September 29th, 2009 at 9:21 PM ^

Great work. I just graduated and live in Minneapolis now, but I'd still be interested in helping anyway I can. I had season tickets for 18 years, went to road games in/at Joe Louis/the Palace/MSU (Munn and Spartan Stadium)/BGSU/WMU/Minneapolis/Albany/Bridgeport/Grand Rapids/Denver/Cincinnati, and am now going to spend my weekends working the WCHA circuit.

A few things off the top of my head...

1) Will recent alumni be covered for road trips? If the athletic department is subsidizing it, I'm sure they'd want to limit things to current students, but I'm sure there's a non-trivial amount of recent alumni that still live in the area and follow the team, but would identify more with the student group than the Dekers club.

2) Have you talked with any other school's student hockey groups (Mitch's Misfits at Michigan Tech, Puckheads at Northern Michigan, etc.)? Might be a good way to get ideas, and also find out about possible administrative issues. MSU's recently founded student group is regulated pretty closely by the university, and we don't want to end up down that road.

3) Have you considered having a pre-game handout like Maize Rage has for basketball? Just one page/two sided with roster, league standings, and some brief write-ups. Not sure if the athletic department would like that, since it's basically the program they're selling without a pretty picture on the front, but it would help keep the students informed about the team/future student group activities.

Yost_Child

September 29th, 2009 at 10:46 PM ^

1) First, the AD won't really be subsidizing road trips. Rather, they will help provide a vehicle through which to organize along with easier access to tickets and transportation. Second, we are really intending this to be a group for student season ticket holders but we're open to possibilites down the road.

2) We have not talked directly with any of these groups. However, we have looked in to some of the stuff they do just to get ideas.

3) This is definitely something we have talked about and the athletic department doesn't have any issues with it. Hopefully we can even point out opposing players with dirty mullets and porno moustaches.

Yost_Child

September 29th, 2009 at 10:33 PM ^

Along with Child of Yost, I'm the other guy trying to get this group off the ground. One of the first things we mentioned to the Athletic Department in our meetings was that we do not want to be used as a means to police the student section. Subsequently, they have never once suggested that we help change or curtail cheers. Even they are hesitant about getting too involved; surely they do not want to be associated with us too much when cheers are criticized. We realize the tradition and spontaneity of Yost are what make it so special. Because of that we have no desire to change or coordinate cheers. A lot of what we want to do involves activities outside Yost such as away games, pre-game tailgates, and things such as hockey night at a UM Baseball game (Maize Rage has done this). Obviously the Athletic Department has more resources which we can use. Working with the Dekers is certainly a great idea, and one we will hopefully pursue. We really appreciate all the feedback; we want to make sure this can be a group for all student hockey fans to come and voice ideas.

MLAWyer

September 30th, 2009 at 9:34 AM ^

I can't speak for everyone, but I can definitely get behind the things you're talking about here. I've made it to a couple away games, but I would definitely go to more if there were a group organizing the trips like this. The pre-game tailgates sound like a good idea too. I understand everyone's concern about getting the AD involved in the student section, but there are definitely positive things that you guys can do here. Most importantly, you guys deserve a lot of respect just for trying to do something positive and taking on this much work. Good luck!

Wolverine318

September 30th, 2009 at 10:09 AM ^

One of the fun things I do with some of my friends before away games at Bowling Green is to go curling. BGSU has a sheet of ice dedicated for curling at the same facility as their hockey rink. It is not that expensive and you can get group discounts. I would love to see a group of michigan students get a road trip together for BGSU and go curling before the game. It is very fun.

KC8NIY

September 29th, 2009 at 11:40 PM ^

As mentioned previously, I think the biggest component missing from the student section as of late is cohesiveness. The left hand needs to do a better job working in concert with the right hand... just look at the dueling cowbells as an example.

I think you two certainly have your hearts in the right place, I just don't think that an organized student advocacy is necessarily the right choice. This holds especially true if you intend to use the AD as a resource (they'll probably just use you). Seek help from the Dekers for organizing road trips, and use social networking avenues to publicize them.

My best suggestion is pretty simple: stress the basics and just be loud, outspoken members of your respective sections. Get your neighbors into it. Work with those who seem to be the leaders of the other sections. Use your heads, and don't condone things obviously gone awry (the "Ref You Suck" chant after every penalty). If you can find a way to bring back some of the wit that has been missing, and get both sides of the student section working in concert again, I think you've succeeded in bringing back some of the missing luster, and continuing the Yost tradition as one of the most intimidating rinks in college hockey.

As a season ticket holder on the other side of the ice, I look forward to the results of your efforts. Good luck.

MichiganStudent

September 30th, 2009 at 1:30 AM ^

I just wish the NCAA wasn't so lame about scheduling NCAA regionals. The years Michigan had a regionals at Yost was the best atmosphere and best hockey games I have ever seen played.

Was it an unfair advantage? Yeah, probably. But it made college hockey one of the greatest sporting events of the year.

casmooth

September 30th, 2009 at 9:03 AM ^

It all comes down to each individual student's initiative to make the effort to go to the games. In my senior year and masters years I went to every home game. I also made it to many of the away games, including the Frozen Four in Denver. The only thing that I think is needed is a little 'push', hopefully that this group can provide, in order to get more students to the away games. A lot of students do not have a means of transportation to get to away games. Providing this means of transportation would eliminate the 'I have no way of getting to the game' excuse. I am a firm believer that there is no better way to spend a Friday night than at Yost watching a great game. In undergrad, there was no better pre-game for the weekend. I am hopeful that this group will take off and get more students to the away games. This team should have the depth at D that we have lacked in years past. If a few players can step up on offense, there is no reason why this group should not be packing charter busses full of students heading for Ford Field and the Frozen Four this spring. I know I will be there. Go Blue.

Boo-erns

September 30th, 2009 at 9:38 AM ^

You could go through the school/ alum support clubs etc. Or you could charter a bus, buy a keg and away tickets and charge a fair price. No school bureaucracy, less BS, more drinking.

If I was still in AA id be taking your idea already. You could probably even pay to advertise at yost.

Wolverine In Exile

September 30th, 2009 at 12:08 PM ^

I was "Goalie name, Sieve" guy for my last two years at UM (2001-2) and my roommate (Flyin Hawaiian Jeff Butson) was the "Dive, Dive, AAOOOGA" chant guy for a number of years. I applaud your efforts in trying this, but the Maize rage was necessary because the basketball team was moribund and student support was apathetic. I don't think the apathy exists for hockey. I fear, like many of these posters, that trying for some sort of official recognition and organization would drown out the spontaneity and organic excitement that makes Yost great. Perhaps the problems the past couple of years are more a result of poor student leadership in the crowd. When I went there (96-02) the older students in the crowd shouted down the jackasses that tried to add swear words to the C-YA chant, the froshs and sophs were to the outside of the student sections, with senior students closer to the middle.

If you want better organization, better cheering, then do like we did... first games of the year for 97-99, older students in the student section handed out half sheets with the chants to others in the student section, done with their own money. Be leaders to the younger students based on your own leadership, not some title, and try this out before going for some "official" student Yost group that will eventually get pimped by the AD.

Now this is completely divorced from my opinion on the bus trips-- go forward and conquer young man! There will be no better feeling for me as an alum to be watching a game on satellite and see the Joyce Center, or Goggin, or WMU's rink taken over by a Sea of Maize.

I passed out at a game at Yost holding the goalie name for too long in 2000, and my Sunday mornings after a home weekend were rough on the voice-- so I have the battle scars. Just look inward to yourself and your close friends to LEAD as opposed to MANAGE. Life lesson hidden in there someplace.

KC8NIY

September 30th, 2009 at 12:49 PM ^

This should be the poster child for this thread. If you're a leader, you like hockey, and you love Yost, this is where it's at.

Well said and deserves much respect.