When fans walked into Yost Ice Arena Saturday night, they were expecting to see one of the most exciting hockey games of the year and to jab Michigan State players with their wittiest and most biting insults.

The remarks, delivered with the unison of a seventh-grade boys choir, add to the boisterous intimacy and charm of Yost. These chants, the trademark of any experience at Yost, are often full of expletives and insults directed toward the opponent.

But when fans arrived at their seats Saturday night, there was a letter from Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin encouraging them to be respectful and to avoid using vulgar language directed at opposing parents, players and fans. These letters were placed on every seat in the arena except those reserved for players” guests and parents located behind the team bench.

In the letter, Martin told fans that the athletic department, “needs your support and we want (you) to do it in a classy manner like true Michigan fans.

“When you cheer for the Maize and Blue, direct your efforts to the support of the team on the ice, not the fans and/or parents of the opposition.”

Fans did not appear to take any heed to the warning as they dispensed their usual batch of cheers and chants toward opposing players and their parents. Many of the chants were directed at Michigan State goalie and Yost nemesis, Ryan Miller. But they didn”t appear to distract last year”s Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner, as he stopped 42 shots in the 1-1 tie.

“I just try to have fun with that stuff,” said Miller, who leads the CCHA with a 1.56 goals against average. “I don”t take the comments as an insult, I just treat it as something to laugh about. The fans at Yost are pretty sharp and definitely had some good ones about me. They are definitely getting better.”

While the fans didn”t bother Miller, he said that few of their comments were clean enough to be repeated.

Some of the most popular chants directed at Miller include “ugly goalie” when Miller (or any goalie) takes off their mask and an applause thanking him for putting his mask back on.

Miller is not the only player amused by the fans at Yost Saturday night. Freshman Charlie Henderson, an East Lansing native whose three uncles are the rink manager, music director and color commentator at Michigan State”s Munn Ice Arena, had not heard some of the remarks until coming to Michigan.

“The one I always laugh at is the “ugly parents” chant,” Henderson said. “But I think, “If you can”t get into college, go to State” is the funniest one I”ve heard all year. A lot of them are hilarious and keep the mood light.”

Despite the largest crowd at Yost since the renovation in 1997-98, there were no reported problems in the stands. Coach Red Berenson thought it was the best crowd the Wolverines have had all year.

Michigan will play seven of its remaining 10 games at home.

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