Yost in the WSJ

Submitted by mvp on February 11th, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Story in the Wall Street Journal about college hockey rinks.  Nice to be recognized...

The relevant part for us:


BEST CROWD: Michigan
Southcreek Global/Zuma Press

Student fans at Michigan's 6,600-seat Yost Ice Arena


Michigan's intimate 6,600-seat Yost Ice Arena isn't flashy—it's chilly with narrow corridors, wood paneling that's reminiscent of a ski lodge and a skate rental window that makes it feel like a community rink. Students fill nearly half the arena for every game and their enthusiasm, coordination and ruthlessness makes it our pick for the best hockey student section in the country. Never mind that they stole most of their cheers from Cornell, says a team spokesman: the myriad expletives that Wolverine fans have added over the years "are vintage Michigan."




February 11th, 2011 at 9:15 AM ^

....a great article on this topic by Michael Florek last May: "We Can't Hear You: The Story of the Children of Yost".

Scene: 1991 Regional series vs. Cornell.

The student section, barely extending blue line to blue line behind the benches, had already started the countdown.

No. 3 seed Michigan was up 4-3 on sixth-seeded Cornell as the seconds slowly counted down in the 1991 Regional. The crowd, staring at the approximately 200 Cornell fans situated near center ice on the side opposite of the student section, belted out the numbers. “Five! Four! Three! Two!...”. But the countdown never finished.

Big Red forward Kent Manderville slapped a backhand shot from the top of the circle past freshman goaltender Steve Shields to tie the game. Cornell then scored on its first trip down the ice in overtime to end the game, but it was the halted countdown that spurred the veteran Big Red crowd.

“I’ve never heard a countdown stop,” William Sangrey, a Cornell graduate student at the time said. “Five, four, three, two, and it stopped. The whole building just stopped.”

The following night, as the first period waned down, the boisterous Cornellians added a new chant to their already versatile repertoire. “They would go, ‘Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, OHHH!’ to make fun of the crowd reaction,” then-Michigan graduate student Matt Thullen said. “I was like, ‘hey that was actually pretty clever.’ ”

But the Michigan fans were drawn in before that. The personal cheers and cleverness of Cornell clicked with them, and on that weekend in mid-March, the crowd took its first step toward becoming what it is today. In the face of the rowdy Ivy League crowd, it began to defend its building.

“(The Cornell fans) were loud and they got their message across, and I think the fans kind of took it as a challenge,” Thullen said. “We’re the ones with the intimidating building. We’re the home team. We’re not going to let these guys come in and basically do anything (they want).”

But many of the Michigan fans were new to college hockey and didn’t know how to pass the test presented by the Cornell contingent. So, the Wolverine fans took the Big Red’s cheers.

The number and variety of cheers that were taken vary, depending on the memory of each person that was there. Some say that Steve Shields wasn’t the only goalie who had his mother call to tell him he sucked. Others can only remember Cornell goaltender Jim Crozier getting hit with “It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault!” added to the end of Michigan’s already established goal count. But the most important lesson that Big Red crowd taught wasn’t a specific chant — it was the attitude that a college hockey crowd should have.

“I think that the Cornell folks kind of taught us how you can really make a chant that really gets under people’s skin a little bit better,” Thullen said.

And after a 6-4 Michigan win, the decisive game came on a St. Patrick’s Day Sunday in front of Berenson’s first sellout that wasn't against Michigan State. Michigan rode the crowd to a 9-3 victory.

The winning method had been restored.


February 11th, 2011 at 1:51 PM ^

My first game at Yost was the last game of the regular season my freshman year ('89-'90).  I went to almost every game over the next three seasons.  So, I was there for the Cornell series -- their fans were AMAZING.

We then, without conscience or apology, promptly stole everything they did...


February 11th, 2011 at 8:53 AM ^

Yes.  Most prominently their entire goal cheer, verbatim,  and "You're not a goalie, you're a sieve, you're not a sieve, you're a funnel...", I believe that some of the spelling cheers,O-R-G-Y, F-O-R-E-P-L-A-Y, etc. are from Cornell. I'm pretty sure that up until, "ohhhh Cya"!  is from Cornell (though I believe the rest is ours).  And I think that handsome/ugly goalie is also from Lynah, as well as, "they still suck" when they come out of the penalty box. 

The yipping during the PK, everything after CYA, "check the net" and "Hey Goalie, it's your mom, she says, 'you suck!'" are ours and maybe one or two of the cheers I'm attributing to Cornell is actually our own.

Blue In NC

February 11th, 2011 at 9:33 AM ^

I don't think the CYA part came from Cornell.  I was a basketball and hockey season ticket holder the time and UM (Fab Five era) had a pretty intense b-ball rivalry going with Duke, who used to (and still does) chant CYA when a player fouled out.  I believe that chant was adapted to the hockey scenario when the other team drew a penalty, UM basketball was already doing it.  At least that's how I remember it.


February 11th, 2011 at 4:54 PM ^

That may be, but Michigan was doing the C-YA chant before the Cornell series.  It definitely came to Michigan by way of Duke basketball.

Michigan games at Yost had a great atmosphere by the end of the 1990/91 season, but other than the goal count and the C-YA cheer (and of course Bullwinkle), there weren't many crowd participation moments in a game.  It's hard to say that we really "stole" much from Cornell--other than the black hole cheer, "thank you" to the announcer, and the "it's all your fault" after a goal (the rest of the goal chant is ours), I can't say that there's anything that we do because we took it from Cornell.  What we did take from Cornell's band and fans during that series was an attitude toward crowd participation in the game that really didn't exist at Michigan in any sport.

Alas, the hockey student section is losing that attitude, and they now seem more interested in the band than they do in the game. 



February 11th, 2011 at 9:00 AM ^

I saw the article this morning.  It is an interesting read.  The article made me want to visit these other rinks to see what they are all about.  Yost will always be #1 for me.   


February 11th, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

I grew up going to games at RIT in the early 80's and the students there belted out many of the same cheers back then.  I have no idea if they stole them from Cornell, came up with them on their own, or they came from yet another school in the region.  When I went to my first game at Yost in 2001-2002,  I was surprised to recognize so many of the cheers - now I kind of know why.


February 11th, 2011 at 8:22 PM ^

Fun article.  I live about an hour from Orono, and caught a Maine hockey game last year.  Was a good crowd, and it is an interesting arena.  I was worried about bringing my kids because of the chants I was familiar with at Michigan.  I don't need my 6 y.o. asking what everyone was shouting after the "C'YA" chant.  Maine was definately more...family friendly.  The digs were a little more subtle, like the band playing the music from the Smiling Bob Enzyte commercials when the refs come out before the game.  I don't know if the Michigan band does that, last time I was at a Michigan game was long before those commercials came out, but it was pretty funny.