The lights are off at Michigan Stadium. I can only make out the silhouette of the ice surface that was lit up by the newly installed (and expensive) stadium lights and fireworks just hours before.

It doesn’t take long for the spotlight to go out — for what is one of the best sporting events to become what was one of the best sporting events.

Now all we have left of Big House hockey are the memories. But should that be all?

I was at the Camp Randall Classic last year, and I reveled in experiencing an outdoor hockey game.

But The Big Chill at the Big House wasn’t an outdoor hockey game. It wasn’t even an event. It was a game, the Fourth of July and everyone’s eighth birthday party rolled into one package.

The game itself culminated long before the final whistle. Senior forward Carl Hagelin gave Michigan a three-goal lead midway through the second period after he snuck a rebound past Michigan State goaltender Drew Palmisano’s glove. The Spartans weren’t coming back.

But the actual spectacle ended with a pyrotechnic display shortly after the final buzzer went. Set to the soundtrack from the movie “The Big Chill,” fireworks overwhelmed the night sky, originating from the field itself before giving way to massive explosions from the tops of the luxury boxes.

Throughout the week there were many mentions of a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” But it shouldn’t be. Anything that results in that much fun needs to be done again.

Michigan State was embarrassed on the biggest stage possible. The largest crowd ever to watch a NCAA sporting event, 113,411 saw the Spartans dominated by the same team that upset them twice at home to knock them out of the playoffs last year. They witnessed their rivals completely upstage their own outdoor game in every way.

Why not give them another chance?

With the established interest in outdoor games and huge advances in ice-rink technology, if the Michigan State athletic department can switch Spartan Stadium back to field turf like it was in 2001 for the Cold War (a big ‘if’, but it is possible), the conditions are basically met for a chance at redemption.

Don’t tell me it wouldn’t sell out. Spartan Stadium’s record capacity is 80,401. That’s 33,010 fewer than were in attendance Saturday. Michigan State coach Rick Comley said this week that playing outdoor hockey never gets old. Neither does watching it.

So do it, Michigan State. In a few years, try to beat the Michigan goal-scoring, firework-exploding, headline-grabbing extravaganza that was The Big Chill in the Big House. It helps everybody.

You get a chance to take back the idea you started, make up for your lackluster performance on the ice at Michigan Stadium, and bathe in the revenue gained from ticket and apparel sales. New players get to play in a game they dream about. Fans get to see outdoor hockey. And Michigan’s athletic department gets to try to top it again a few years after.

It can’t be done every year. If a game eventually comes to Michigan Stadium again, it won’t be as special as The Big Chill. But students graduate and new ones come in who didn’t have the opportunity to be one of the dancing fools during the second intermission in the North endzone.

“That’s not something you do every year,” Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon said after the game. “You got to make it special. I could see us potentially maybe getting in to an every-four-year cycle. Timing situated that every student-athlete who played hockey here could get a chance to participate in something like this, and keep it special and unique enough that our fans would turn out the way they did tonight.”

And I agree — make it cyclical. One school puts on an outdoor game, the other school does it two years later. That way every player and student from these institutions gets to experience an outdoor hockey game in front of their home crowd.

As the athletic departments try to out-do themselves, the events will look increasingly more like an action movie. I can’t wait until 2030 when the Michigan head coach parachutes in just before the opening faceoff. Everybody wins from that.

But that’s a long way off. And after that spectacle on Saturday afternoon, Michigan State, it’s your move.

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