Why no women's hockey at M?

Submitted by dcblue92 on March 9th, 2018 at 2:25 PM

While watching olympic women's hockey, my wife asked me why Michigan doesn't have a women's hockey team. I did not have an answer. All of the olympians came from Minnesota, BC, North Dakota, etc. (i.e. traditional hockey powers).  I'm skeptical it's money because we know the athletic department prints money and they could find a donor if needed. It would be a Title IX bonus, allowing an additional men's program if needed?  


Raving Blue Lunatic

March 9th, 2018 at 2:30 PM ^

Michigan should have a womens' hockey program.  Seems like it would be a great addition to the Atheltic Department and it would have strong support from students and alums, as well as the average Michigan sports fan.


March 9th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

I hate to be the person that piggy backs off of the top comment, but just wanted to point out that we do in fact have a Women's Hockey team, just not a "full" Varsity one that's in the B1G. I know it's not the same, but I'm just giving this exposure for those unaware. 




March 9th, 2018 at 2:46 PM ^

It's a club team that plays in the ACHA.  It's the same league where Illinois's club team plays.

Michigan had a club lacrosse team for a long time and then promoted them to full D1 status.  It would be interesting to see them do the same for women's hockey if there was enough pull for it.


March 9th, 2018 at 2:47 PM ^

Most power 5 schools have men's ACHA teams and many have women's teams too I suppose and they are club teams. I don't know women's as well, but men's ACHA ranges from essentially high school level (ACHA D3) to probably comparable to NCAA DIII (top of the ACHA D1)


March 9th, 2018 at 6:00 PM ^

It's frowned upon to respond to the top comment solely for visibility and not because you are replying to the content in that post, because surely everyone thinks their post should be visible and then everyone would just respond to the top post. 

I personally think it's a huge weakness of this strange hierarchical posting tree that it's virtually impossible to read the newest posts. You either need totally linear posting, like a typical web forum, or a hierarchical tree with collapsible nodes that chance posiiton with upvoting like reddit. 


March 9th, 2018 at 6:47 PM ^

There's a "comment viewing options" section above the reponses which allows you a fair amount of latitude in how you want the threads organized. I'd recommend experimenting with it until you find something that you like. Organizing the comments to show "newest first" is an option, but no idea if that still subjects you to the threading or not.


March 9th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

What makes you think it would have strong student and alum support? All of the people attending women's basketball games? Average attendance per game at D1 women's programs is typically a few hundred people


I think - like most non-revenue sports - it would be completely ignored by 99% of the Michigan fanbase and would needlessly add expenditures to the AD


March 9th, 2018 at 4:16 PM ^

But it would still be cool to see my niece get a scholarship, even partial, to play varsity hockey at UofM. She plays for her high school team in Michigan and kicks ass on the ice.
While we're at it, can we add varsity Badminton to the UofM athletic department? That would give my boy a chance at some scholarship dollars.


March 9th, 2018 at 5:58 PM ^

Much like hockey, the startup cost would be minimal since all the facilities are already in place. The only real costs would be coaching and travel.

There is plenty of interest in A2. Huron and Pioneer probably have 50 water polo banners between them. Michigan is already a powerhouse in swimming, and the city is one of the major hotbeds for aquatic sports nationally. I played with/against a handful of all-americans at Huron.


March 9th, 2018 at 10:02 PM ^

I went to a women's water polo game last week before the hockey game at Yost. Attendence was pretty much composed of parents, other teams' players and coaches (it was a tournament type weekend with a half-dozen teams), a few friends of specific players, and a few families like mine taking advantage of the free admission.

A couple of my kids play HS water polo for a bad team, still, there are about as many spectators at the HS games as there were at Canham Natorium. And we charge $5 to get in.

Without many local teams to play, the UM women do a lot of flying out for weekend tournaments. Not the cheapest thing. And with Title IX, adding 20 men for a D1 water polo team means adding 20 women somewhere else, or cutting 20 men. Unfortunately I don't see it happening.

James Burrill Angell

March 9th, 2018 at 2:31 PM ^

1) EXPENSIVE AS F#&K - It costs a ton to field an ice hockey. Its truly prohibitive in that regard.

2) RED - I love Red Berenson. My favorite coach at Michigan ever regardless of sport. That said it was well known that he didn't want to create more competition for ice time and resources for the Men's team.


March 9th, 2018 at 2:42 PM ^

When water polo was added, it was stated that hockey was considered as well, and that a factor in the decision is that more high school girls in Michigan participated on Water Polo teams than on Hockey teams.  That's probably not true any more, but I suppose it might have been true at the time.

But yes, you are right with point #2 that it was an open secret that Berenson had no love for the idea of having to negotiate practice time with another varsity program.


March 9th, 2018 at 2:59 PM ^

On #2, I wonder if this concern has abated at all since the Ann Arbor Ice Cube opened up?  I just looked it up and the Ice Cube opened in December 1995, so I wonder if Red's concerns were aired before or after that happened?

When I was a student we played all our broomball games at Yost, and there was open skate there pretty regularly as well.  Seems like there were plenty of people they could have kicked out to make room for a women's team.

James Burrill Angell

March 9th, 2018 at 3:26 PM ^

a) The Ice Cube is owned by the City and not the University which means the program would have to pay for ice time. Not ideal

b) Think about the times for both of those. Open skate was middle of the day while the players are usually in class. UM sports teams practice around mid afternoon and go to classes until about 2pm when in season. If I remember correctly open skate is Noon to 1pm and when we did Broomball it was CRAZY late at night (pretty sure I had a game start at 11pm once).

Mr Miggle

March 10th, 2018 at 8:14 AM ^

Title IX mandates equal access to facilities for men's and women's sports. A women's varsity team couldn't be shipped off to The Ice Cube so the men can practice at Yost.

OSU is the only Big Ten school that has a varsity women's hockey program. They play in the WCHA. 


March 10th, 2018 at 9:05 AM ^

Title IX mandates equal--not the same--facilities.  Ohio State somehow manages to get around that, and their women play in a vastly inferior rink to the one where the men usually play.  They do have the advantage of being the prime tenants in their building, unlike the men who are frequently kicked out of their building.

Also, there are three Big Ten schools with varsity women's hockey programs:  Minnesota, Ohio State, and Wisconsin.  All three of them have the women playing in different rinks than the men.


March 9th, 2018 at 3:57 PM ^

Yeah.  I can't imagine ice time is much of an issue now if it ever was.  Yost being small and not having lots of extra room for different locker rooms and the like does strike me as a bigger concern, but again, people can figure stuff out.  


March 9th, 2018 at 4:02 PM ^

Well that's assuming women's hockey is all cost and no revenue, which seems unlikely.  And I doubt running the team would cost $2MM, but I'm sure they can figure that out.

I'd also argue that the reason Michigan has such a (relatively) small margin despite record revenue is because they also had record costs, a decent chunk of which coming from capital expenditures and upgrades to facilities.  I'm sure some of those are expected and necessary, but I also assume some of them are due to a mandate to spend as much of the money you get as possible when it's available.  Spending some of that on a team wouldn't necessarily be depriving anyone.

I guess my larger issue is that in a world where I hear constantly how we shouldn't give money to players and that it destroys the love of college athletics and why student-athletes exist, (assuming there is sufficient interest) here's a sport that sorta goes to the core of college athletics and should be supported by a university with as many resources as Michigan.  Maybe it's being discussed and they'll do it, or maybe there is a legitimate reason why they can't beyond money they'd rather spend elsewhere, but I sadly figure it's the latter.


March 9th, 2018 at 2:31 PM ^

I think it would be the next sport at Michigan if a sport was added. The issues are that most programs have multiple sheets of ice for men and women and the teams require a lot of scholarships. If we added it, I think mens volleyball would be added as well. Seems that if osu can have a womens team, we can too.


March 9th, 2018 at 2:51 PM ^

It would be a money hole with minimal fan interest

Edit: I figured my opinion would be unpopular here. Anyone want to try to convince me that the women's team won't in fact play in front of an average attendance of <1,000 game and won't lose hundreds of thousands of dollars a year?


March 9th, 2018 at 6:30 PM ^

It's basically intended to provide entertainment for students and alumni. Where do you draw the line with adding sports? Do we add varsity men's bacci ball? At some point you're wasting money on sports that very few people care about and very few people watch. Women's hockey is one of those sports

Blue Balls Afire

March 10th, 2018 at 3:08 AM ^

Big-time intercollegiate athletics has become what you currently think it is--as solely entertainment for students and alums--but that's not what it originally had been about.  Athletics in general, like other extra-curricular activities, were originally intended to enhance the overall educational experience of the student/athlete.  There are valuable life-lessons to be learned from being part of a team and competing against others--discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship, etc.--which is why athletics is still part of the high school and younger curriculum, regardless of how much money or entertainment it provides.  But all of that has been lost when it comes to D1 Football and Basketball which is now, seemingly, only about entertainment as a way to make money.  That's been the criticism of the NCAA--either uphold (and enforce) the original mission of athletics as part of the overall educational experience, or stop with the hypocrisy and admit it's about making money for NCAA institutions and pay the athletes.