Icers to play the 'Big House' Dec. 9
November 10, 2010 - If University of Michigan Head Coach Rich Rodriguez thinks his football team is fun to watch, just wait till he sees the Oxford Varsity hockey team take the ice at the Big House on Thursday, Dec. 9.
|Oxford icers (from left) Matt Reid, Tim Perks and Cody Ruch are excited to play at Michigan stadium on Dec. 9. (click for larger version)|
The varsity hockey squad gets a chance to get in on the fun when they travel to Michigan Stadium to play an outdoor hockey game against Troy High School.
"We're really excited," said hockey coach Dave Hague. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Senior Cody Ruch agreed with his head coach.
"This is a great opportunity for all the boys and we just hope to have fun and have people out to watch our game," he said.
The opportunity to play outdoors at Michigan Stadium arose when Hague was having a conversation with one of his friends who used to play hockey at Michigan.
"They were looking to get a couple of games in prior to the Michigan, Michigan State game to test the ice out and make sure it is holding up," Hague said.
The game will begin at 10 a.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.
The fact that the game is outdoors with the elements being a factor is not going to change how Hague prepares his team for the game.
"If it rains it could affect the ice a little bit, but it could be 50 degrees and sunny or 10 degrees and snowing we are still going to play the game," he said.
The only part he sees as a challenge will be the team's vision when trying to follow the puck.
"It's going to be harder to follow pucks, especially when it gets above the white boards and gets up into the crowd," Hague added.
It seems like outdoor hockey has become quite the spectacle over the past decade.
Since 2001, when Michigan took on Michgan State at Spartan Stadium in the "Cold War", four National Hockey League Games have been played outdoors; three of them have been played on New Years Day.
In 2006, Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI hosted the only other collegiate outdoor hockey game, which featured Ohio St. and Wisconsin.
Hague said that even though he is going to coach to win the game, the main focus is to let the players enjoy the experience.
"Truthfully, I am going to tell the guys to enjoy the experience. This is a once in a lifetime experience," Hague said. "If you are a little overwhelmed with the stadium and looking around and realizing the opportunity, I don't think that is all that bad."
Senior forward Matt Reid said that he was excited about the game.
"It's going to be a great game and a great opportunity for Oxford to really show everyone what we are about," Reid said.
"I think that he have a great opportunity to show what we can do outdoors and we will just have to hustle and compete," said fellow senior Tim Perks.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.