Thursday, April 22, 2010

Michigan's Big Chill, And UW In The Cold...

Don't get me wrong: I went to and greatly enjoyed the Culver's Camp Randall Hockey Classic.

I didn't mind the cold (hey... we live in Wisconsin, either deal with the cold or stop whining...). I didn't mind being far away from the field. Shoot I didn't even mind having to listen Jump Around (and believe me, that's no small feat).

As far as I'm concerned, it got 55,000 fans to come see a hockey game. It featured a quality, non-conference win over a major program. It gave us some of the most epic "We Want More" chants I've ever heard.

And I had a lot of fun, and UW probably made some good money on the deal. All and all, we should all consider it successful. However, as time passes, we'll be able to put it in proper perspective. At this point, for instance, we also know that it wasn't as successful as it could have been, and that the event fell short of one of its original goals, to sell out Camp Randall and break the record for a crowd at a hockey game.

Now, Michigan and Michigan State are likely to take that record for good. The Big Chill is looking like it will be VERY successful.

So why will this succeed in Michigan at a level it didn't come close to here? Tough to say, really. I have a theory, that I go into at length in a comment that I made in the piece. I won't go as into it here, but I will say that sometimes I'm amazed at how little advertising and TV coverage UW puts out for the hockey team. It's as if, to paraphrase USCHO poster "Buck 'em", that Barry and co. are happy that UW hockey draws 13-15,000 fans a night on mostly word of mouth and will just leave it at that. Sure seems like a poor way to try to draw 80,000 people to one game in particular.

I'm sure you could say that there's a lot more to it than that (hockey culture there versus here... more "football only" fans here than there... whatever you can think of). You could also say that this is all sour grapes, and I should be grateful for what we get (which is mostly true).

But I can't help but wonder what UW hockey would be like with a little more support from up top in the UW Athletic Dept. In today's media, you can't underestimate the power of being on TV more. Lord knows actually competing for national titles *ahem*6 > 1*cough* won't do it on its own.