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Open house showcases Yost renovations

Michael Laurila/Daily
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By Liz Vukelich, Daily Sports Writer
Published September 30, 2012

For years the Michigan hockey team and its fans have prided themselves on calling Yost Ice Arena — considered by some to be the toughest environment in college hockey — its home.

When the third-ranked Wolverines face off against Windsor in an exhibition game on Oct. 9, they’ll still be playing in Fielding Yost’s old barn. But this time around, they’ll be on a new rink, surrounded by new bleachers, boxes and concourses.

Yost’s face-lift is part of the Athletic Department’s planned $250-million renovations to South Campus and the University’s athletic facilities.

A large electronic scoreboard made its debut at the beginning of the Wolverines’ 2011-12 campaign. The remainder of the renovations didn't start until after the conclusion of the season last spring, and the changes finally finished this past week when the new ice was laid down.

On Sunday afternoon, an open house hosted by the Athletic Department afforded the public its first look at the new Yost. Season ticket holders had the opportunity to pick up their tickets and view the extended concourses while meandering through the luxury boxes at the upper levels of the arena.

But the most noticeable change comes from the addition of windows at the north and south end of the arena. The windows were added to allow more natural light into the arena and to create a more welcoming atmosphere for fans, according to the Athletic Department. Whereas the stands felt boxed-in before, the windows and light create a more airy sense of space for the spectators.

Additional improvements include new bleachers, an enhanced audio system and a new press box.

When Michigan coach Red Berenson announced his three-year contract extension in July, he cited Yost’s renovations as part of his incentive to continue coaching. This is the fourth renovation the arena has undergone with Berenson at the helm of the hockey program.