Michigan coach Red Berenson is used to getting on his players, but never has he done it so literally.
It was at the Michigan hockey team’s annual alumni game, where players from five decades made up the 34-man roster — ranging from the class of 1962’s Berenson and Al Hinnegan, all the way to 2009’s Jack Johnson and Billy Sauer.
In Team White’s 13-7 win over Team Blue, Berenson took the opening faceoff and bolted toward the offensive zone. But as Berenson neared the blueline, his winger, Tim Miller (Class of 2009), came from the right and collided with the 71-year-old coach, sending them sprawling to the ice in a heap.
There was a gasp from the crowd the filled up most of one side of Yost Ice Arena. Both Berenson and Miller got up without injury but it provided an opportunity for former players to poke some fun on at their old coach.
“Almost lost him on the first shift,” joked Steve Shields, who skated as forward despite being a goalie at Michigan and in the NHL.
Added Berenson: “I don’t know what happened. I was just getting some good speed up and all of the sudden Miller … collided with someone else, I think their defenseman, so I got the tail end of that.”
And Berenson’s former linemate from nearly 50 years ago, Hinnegan got the scoring going. Stationed in the slot, Hinnegan found a bouncing puck at his feet and lifted it past Sauer, the Team White netminder.
Hinnegan is just over a year older than Berenson and played with Berenson on a team that won the Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament in Santa Rosa, Calif.
“Nothing like scoring goals,” Hinnegan said. “If you’re a forward, you’re a goal scorer. There’s nothing like scoring goals. Everybody loves it.”
New assistant coach Brian Wiseman and former Wolverines Brendan Morrison, Jason Botterill, David Harlock, Jed Ortmeyer, Billy Powers, Sean Ritchlin and Eric Nystrom sat in the stands.
But whether they were on the ice or in the stands, the former players marveled at the newly installed scoreboard inside Yost. It made its public debut at the game Friday.
It didn’t show any replays because the game wasn’t being recorded, but it will have them in the fall.
The scoreboard hung low enough for a puck flipped up on a dump out of the zone to hit it, but Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon said the scoreboard will be raised six feet higher by September. He added that he “wasn’t sure” why it hadn’t been raised yet. At any height, the monstrosity was a big change from Morrison’s playing days.
“I remember when I was down here they didn’t even have a clock up there,” he said. “They just had the scoreboards at the ends of the rink, so to come in and see this now it’s a big adjustment, but I think it’s a good thing. It’s keeping pace with the times, but you still have the traditional feel of the game at Yost.”
For Morrison and Shields, the weekend wasn’t refined to the usual game and golf outing. Since the two couldn’t be here for The Big Chill at the Big House, they took a tour of the football facilities. When they got to the locker room, someone was already there waiting for them — Michigan football coach Brady Hoke.
The three, who were all at Michigan around the same time in the early 1990s, chatted. And by the time the alumni game was over, some of Hoke’s ways had rubbed off on the former players.
“It was so refreshing to walk in to Schembechler and see the ticker coming across, the amount of days before we play the team from Ohio,” Shields said.