A modest proposal/Michael Bleach
In most professions, there are certain quirks that come with the territory. Almost requirements that have developed through the years, now as deeply ingrained as the paycheck. These traits are not inherently bad or good, they simply are.
Police officers eat donuts.* Coaches speak in information-bereft clichs and operate under a guise of secrecy that would make federal agents proud. Subway sandwich artists have fallen into the gears of conformity. You get it.
*I saw a cop with a scone once. It was jarring.
For sports writers, there is one particular idiosyncrasy that binds us all together (insert clever snarky comment here. Go ahead. I can wait).
We love ideas that are 100 percent, no-doubt-about-it, impractical. Love ’em.
If a notion comes along that is financially limited and a structural hornets nest, but would be rather cool if implemented, we hop on the bandwagon with a first-class ticket.
All of this is a long, rambling way of saying I acknowledge the many and obvious problems with the suggestion I am about to propose.
But I don’t care. It is my right.
The Michigan Tech hockey team needs to play a game in Dee Stadium in the near future. Needs to.
And not an intra-squad scrimmage – although that was a decent toe-in-the-water last January – but an actual scheduled, counts-in-the-standings contest.
It is too awesome of an opportunity to pass by.
For those who don’t know, the Michigan Tech hockey program (and its predecessor the Michigan College of Mining and Technology) owned and played in the Dee from 1943 until they moved to the (now) John MacInnes Student Ice Arena in January of 1972. The Huskies collected two of their three national championships while skating in the Dee. The Tech hockey program that every Husky alum romanticizes was built in the Dee.
Let’s start with the boons of this notion before addressing the (many) complications.
The atmosphere itself, would define electric. If you live in the Copper Country – even as a college student – you have almost certainly been in the Dee at least once. The seats are right on top of the ice and the low ceilings are ideal for keeping noise in. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture the Tech Pep Band and and Mitch’s Misfits student section rocking in the rows and deafening eardrums to draw goose-bumps. No one in attendance would forget that game for a while.
Even financially, the move should be at least a draw. While revenue will certainly be lost from the 4,000-plus seats available at the MacInnes arena, there are a host of ways proper marketing could make up for that. Retro T-shirts and memorabilia – seriously, how cool would a Michigan College of Mining and Technology sweatshirt be? – the drawing for out-of-area alumni (a la Winter Carnival) and the exposure could (conceivably) account for the revenue lost in ticket-sales.
Most importantly though, the Copper Country’s history is so wrapped up in its hockey background, playing one final game at Dee Stadium would be the best tribute Tech could pay to its foundations.
For all the same reasons outdoor hockey games have become all the rage, one more night at the Dee would be the ideal homage to the school’s roots.
Now, a quick injection of reality. The problems are vast and readily apparent. Logistically it would be a nightmare (I shudder to think of the parking), there are sure to be several legal snags with the NCAA (the low boards come to mind) and everyone might immediately regret the heaters at the SDC when freezing inside Dee Stadium. The only way this gets done is if a superior, motivated member of the athletic department pushes for it relentlessly.
When I attended the University of Wisconsin, the hockey team played an outdoor game at Camp Randall in 2010. Not only did the fans remark on the memorable night, but the players and coach Mike Eaves reveled in the atmosphere. As a one-time event, it was a massive success.
Well Tech doesn’t have an 80,000-seat football arena. But they have something just as notable.
Dee Stadium served as a suitable venue for almost 30-years for the Tech hockey program.
Let’s give it one more night.
Each week the View From The Bleachers will take a deeper look at some aspect of Michigan Tech athletics. Have questions you want addressed? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or @michaelbleach on Twitter.