Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Michigan/ND to Play Hockey at The Palace

Notre Dame's hockey schedule was released today, and there's something fairly interesting in there. Their home game against Michigan in January will actually be played at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

I can see some pluses and minuses for Notre Dame with this move. As one of my friends pointed out, it's likely a way to get some more exposure in the southeast Michigan market. There aren't a lot of hockey players that come out of Indiana, so the more they can be seen by kids in the hockey hotbed of Metro Detroit, the better for them. There are too many good players for Michigan and MSU to take all of them, and Jeff Jackson has been doing a great job nabbing kids that either school would've probably wanted anyway. If it's legal--and since Michigan frequently has the whole Honeybaked team in attendance, I don't see why it wouldn't be--Notre Dame should be trying to get every AAA team they can find to come to that game. Give tickets to Honeybaked, Little Caesars, Belle Tire, Compuware...all of em.

On the negative side, they're giving up a home game--which would've been a sellout--against a good hockey team in Michigan, in favor of playing what will essentially amount to another road game in the series. If I was a Notre Dame fan, I wouldn't be very happy about the school voluntarily giving up their only home date against Michigan in favor of playing the game an hour from the Michigan campus. (One other plus is that the fans who might not have been willing to make the drive to Ann Arbor for one game might now be willing, knowing that there will be two games to see, even if one of them is another hour away.) It might help in recruiting, but when you've only got one good conference home game (MSU--they also have a home series vs. Denver which should be fun) it'd be frustrating as a fan to see the other marquee team on the home slate bumped off to a neutral site.

For Michigan, this is a huge positive. Rather than having to make the trip into Notre Dame's building, they get to stay in their own beds and have an hour bus-ride instead of closer to four. Then they get the benefit of playing in front of a pro-Michigan crowd against a quality opponent in a game that they otherwise would've been on the road for. Plus their fans don't have to subject themselves to the shithole of a city that is South Bend.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Weird, when I saw the TBD for time/location of that game a while ago I had assumed the Joyce Center was being used for something else that weekend, but the fact that it's being moved to Auburn Hills instead of Fort Wayne definitely makes it seem a lot more like a deliberate move. At least that removes one potentially unpleasant road trip I was planning on making this season.