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Newly formed hockey student section looks to branch out

BY NICK SPAR
Daily Sports Writer
Published October 7, 2009

Yost Ice Arena definitely won't be the only place to house rowdy Michigan hockey fans this season.

At last night's first Michigan hockey student section mass meeting, the main topic of discussion was traveling to support the Wolverines in road games during the CCHA season.

According to co-founders of the group, juniors Jamie Fogel and Chuck Boyer, organized trips to games in East Lansing, Madison, Sault Ste. Marie and Toledo are in the works. The group also plans to have buses available for the Great Lakes Invitational tournament at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Dec. 29.

"Some of this will obviously depend on how involved people get and whether or not people want to take the initiative," Fogel said. "But this is also something that will eventually grow, because it’s only the first year."

Even though only 15 people attended the meeting, the group is confident that an increasing amount of people will express interest after No. 4 Michigan plays its first regular season home game against Niagara on Oct. 22.

Throughout the meeting, a few comparisons were made to the men's basketball student section group, Maize Rage, which formed over a decade ago. Despite the hockey group's low turnout at the initial meeting, Fogel is still thinking big for the future and feels his newly formed hockey group has an advantage the Maize Rage never did.

“(The Maize Rage) came in at a time when basketball wasn’t really popular, which was probably a good thing for them," Fogel said. "But anyone who has been to Yost has already been involved and knows the cheers. So it’s not really necessary for us to come in and start dictating what people do.”

The group has been in contact with the Athletic Department, which has offered to help publicize the group and arrange transportation to the road games. Fogel and Boyer also think Joe Louis Arena would be willing to provide fans a way to get into Detroit for the end-of-the-year tournament, since the organizers of the GLI tournament have expressed interest in higher student attendance.

Fogel is in the process of officially registering the group as a student organization, which would also create interest. However, registration requires an organization name and a constitution. A name for the group hasn't been decided, but the founders have discussed "Children of Yost," "Hailstorm" and "Yostmen" as possible names.

The group plans on holding meetings every one or two weeks to discuss arrangements for road trips and ideas for home games. One thought for a home game was to try to mimic the Block 'M', which was a success at Michigan Stadium for the football team's game against Notre Dame last month.

The main obstacle in trying to create a Block 'M' for the hockey student section is limited space. Yost doesn't have nearly as many seats in the student section as the Big House does. The possibility of a Block 'M' would be greater if the student section was expanded, which is also being explored by the group. A number of students with student tickets were unable to sit in the designated student section because of space restrictions.

Boyer plans on addressing the situation to the Athletic Department so all fans with student tickets have the same privileges.

"Now that we’ve heard the complaints, we want to talk to the Athletic Department and start some sort of dialogue," Boyer said. "Hopefully we can make the system better so this type of problem won’t happen in the future. That's one of the main goals of this group going forward — creating that dialogue for the students."


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