Notebook: Berenson is a veteran with outdoor hockey, Caporusso reflects on rivalry with MSU

Ariel Bond/Daily
Head coach Red Berenson coaches Michigan against University of Nebraska at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Friday, Oct. 22, 2010. The Wolverines lost 4-2. Buy this photo

Daily Sports Editor
Published December 7, 2010

A week before the Cold War — the first outdoor college hockey game, held in Oct. 2001 in Spartan Stadium — Michigan junior forward Mike Cammalleri wasn’t slated to play against Michigan State due to a hip injury.

But Cammalleri insisted that he play against the Spartans, and Michigan coach Red Berenson finally gave in to his wishes. And following his two-goal, one-assist performance, Cammalleri earned MVP honors for the Wolverines. The meaning, the magnitude and the stakes of the matchup made his injury a non-issue.

And with the Big Chill at the Big House three days away, this year's Wolverines (8-3-1-0 CCHA, 9-5-4 overall) are not underestimating the gravity of their date with the Spartans, a game that was finalized in January.

“We’ve been waiting for this, and now we can say it’s our next game,” Berenson said during Monday's press conference. “We don’t have to keep it off in the distance and worry about current games. We can start worrying about it now. It’s a reality.”

Berenson, who grew up in western Canada and played “90 percent of (his) hockey outdoors,” reminisced about tying his skates in the fresh air in Regina, Saskatchewan.

“I remember calling my friends, ‘Come on, get over to the rink. We've got to shovel it off,’ ” Berenson said. “And there’d be three feet of snow on the rink. We’d shovel it off and then play hockey all day until it was dark, then we'd go home and do it again the next day on the weekends.”

When he was 19 years old, Berenson dropped out of school for a semester to join the Canadian National team in the World Championships in 1959. Berenson described playing in Oslo, Norway in front of 15,000 fans as truly “magical.”

"Then we did the same thing in Helsinki and Stockholm in these huge, outdoor stadium rinks,” Berenson continued. “Now we get a chance to play in what are the biggest games of my recent tenure, and once again, it's a game that's going to be magical.”

Brotherly love: Senior forward Louie Caporusso doesn’t mess around when it comes to the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.

Throughout the first few months of the season, Caporusso and his friend Derek Grant, a Spartan sophomore forward, occasionally texted back and forth just like any friends would do.

Just recently, though, Caporusso joked that he deleted Grant’s BlackBerry Messenger PIN number from his cell phone, explaining he just “didn’t want him on there.”

With more than 100,000 people projected to be in attendance, fireworks set to go off after every Michigan goal, and the less-than-favorable expected weather conditions, the Big Chill isn’t your run-of-the-mill college hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State (3-7-1-0, 6-8-3).

Said senior goaltender Shawn Hunwick: “This game is with our arch-rival Michigan State. We’re going to break records. I don’t think anyone has ever played a game of this magnitude, inside or outside.”

Notes: Berenson was sick on Tuesday and watched yesterday’s practice from the web cam. … There has been no decision from Berenson and the coaching staff regarding whether Bryan Hogan or Shawn Hunwick will start against Michigan State. ... Hogan has a 7-2 record on the year while Hunwick is 2-3-4.