The start to the season for the hockey teams at Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan has been nothing short of awesome. The Huskies are 6-0-0 and are ranked No. 9 in this week’s USCHO.com poll. The Wildcats are 5-0-1 and are ranked No. 20 in the same poll.
It’s time that the public starts showing these programs some attention by attending games on a regular basis. In my three plus years covering both programs, I’ve only seen a handful of sellouts at NMU and two at MTU. Those two sellouts for Tech at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena (Capacity of 4,200) were this past weekend against Michigan.
The Berry Events Center has 3,800 seats and has room for a total of 4,200 people (400 standing room only tickets). However, the only time I’ve ever seen the Berry Events Center completely full has been when Michigan Tech and Michigan come to town.
NMU defeated Alabama Huntsville, 4-1 Saturday at the Berry. The reported attendance for that game was 1,927- just over half full. Perhaps the reason why the attendance for the hockey team was low was because the Marquette varsity football team had a playoff game at the Superior Dome at the same time that the Wildcats and Chargers dropped the puck.
The most attended game Saturday in Marquette was the high school football game between the Oilers and the Redmen. MSHS Athletic Coordinator Jamie Tuma told ABC 10 Sports that they sold just shy of 2,000 tickets for that game. Earlier that day, NMU reported an attendance of 1,205 for the football game between NMU and Walsh.
Back to hockey- both teams have another home series coming up this weekend. Michigan Tech welcomes Alaska-Anchorage to Houghton. Tech will induct six former coaches/athletes and one team into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame on Friday. Northern Michigan welcomes No. 16 Ferris State to Marquette this Friday and Saturday. It’s a meeting of two ranked teams.
It would be nice to see a few more butts in the seats at both places. In my opinion, the players and coaches for both programs have worked tirelessly to put good hockey teams on the ice. It’s time that they are rewarded by seeing and hearing their fans at their home games to bring more meaning to the words ‘home ice advantage.’