The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, January 10, 1979-Page 9
\ELEAGUE OFFICIALS OPTIMISTIC
Women cagers start h
Michigan loses .. .
. ..fans don't show
By BOB EMORY
W HERE HAVE all the people gone?
Ann Arbor has never been much of a hockey town. Even when
the team was vying for the league crown and national championship two
years ago, average attendance at Yost Arena was just. 4,600. Momentum
from that NCAA finalist squad seemed to carry over and last season about
5,000 people showed up for each home game, still 3,100 short of capacity.
Give the fans in Minnesota, Wisconsin or Michigan-Tech an extra three
thousand seats and they'll be gobbled up in an afternoon. But that's dif-
ferent; hockey is part of the air in those places and the people breath it.
For Yost Arena to be sold out, the Wolverines would have to be almost
undefeated and ranked number one in the country, making a serious charge
to win the NCAA Championship. Fact is, Yost has only been jammed once in
the last four years, that being a 7-6 victory over Michigan State in 1976.
Attendance appears to have reached its nadir this season. But for a good
reason: a 5-11 league record and ninth place position in the standings.
"To get fan support here, you have to win real big," said head coach Dan
Farrell. This is especially so at Michigan, where people have become a little
spoiled by the success of the sport teams over the past years. Add to that a
young, inexperienced hockey team with a 5-11 record and you couldn't even
give away a thousand seats.
Minnesota was in town last weekend for a two game series and the lack
i of fans was quite noticeable. The Golden Gophers are first in the WCHA, first
in the polls and first in excitement. Yet less than 7,000 fans showed up for the
series, well under the season average of 4,000.
Farrell offered an interesting comment on the situation. "Maybe Yost is
too big," he says. "If it was smaller, a demand could be created and then
people that wanted to see just a couple of games or certain games would
probably have to buy season tickets to be assured."
That isn't so far fetched. The arenas in Bowling Green and Michigan
Tech are very small and also very crowded, with tickets hard to come by. A
sellout in Bowling Green is only 3,220 but those rambunctious fans, in the
tight quarters of the BG arena, make almost twice as much noise as 4,500 at
And Farrell is quick to point out that when a good crowd does appear at
Yost, it has a very positive effect on how well the team plays. But since the
team isn't playing well anyway, the fans aren't about to come out and help
them play better.
Farrell promised at the beginning of the season that his team "won't win
a lot of games this year." No one can accuse him of breaking promises. And
if that's the way it is, Dan, then you and your young players will have to get
used to playing in front of the frigid silence and empty echoes of the old State
This conviently leads us to the team. At least it can't be said that they're
not playing as hard as they can. After getting pasted 10-1 by Minnesota on
Friday, the outclassed Wolverines came back and skated the Gophers man
for man, only to lose a tough 3-0 game.
Attribute that to a new checking system Farrell employed, called a one-
four. In this method, only one forward is sent to the corners in the offensive
zone, instead of two. One of the other forwards floats back from the corner
play, staying in front of the net but close to the blue line. The other one stays
between the two and follows the play.'
. The advantage of this style is a stronger defense, an obvious weakness
Friday night. When the puck is eventually turned over to the other team, the
two receding forwards are able to recover much more quickly and help the
defensemen. This eliminates almost any chance of a two-on-one or three-on-
Defensively, the system worked superbly. Minnesota has been
averaging over seven goals a game but was held to only two under this
checking style. But offensively, there was a big fat goose egg on the score-
"That's the problem with this," said Farrell. "It can take away from
your scoring; it's something we're just going to have to work on."
"But I'll tell you one thing," he added. "It's the only way you're gonna
Nonethless, it is still strange that Farrell would employ a system which
would take away from his offense, considering that's the main problem. This
is the weakest scoring team he has had here, averaging three and a half
goals per game while giving up almost six.
The icers play a crucial series this weekend at home against Colorado
College and checking system or not, the offense must get untracked. CC is
in eighth place, just two points ahead of Michigan for the final playoff spot.
"I can't say if we win both game that we won't have to win anymore to
make the playoffs," said Farrell. How about if you lose two, coach? "Well,
then I guess the situation would be crucial."
Couldn't have said it better myself. If Michigan loses both games this
weekend, then you might as well call Barnum and Bailey and have them
send in the clowns because the Wolverines playoff hopes will go back to the
Rockies with Colorado College.
By BILLY NEFF
Despite the lack of success demon-
strated by the WHA and WFL, there is a
new league on the horizon. However, a
noticeable difference exists between
those two fiascos and the fledging WBL.
The WBL (Women's Basketball
League) is the first recognized team
sports league attempting to use women
as their main focus of entertainment.
"We're very pleased with the way the
league is going. We're very happy that
women fan be quite entertaining," said
Minnesota Fillie owner and president
Gordon Nevers, whose great uncle hap-
pens to be Ernie Nevers. "We have to in-
vest in the public before they'll invest in
us," continued Nevers. So he has em-
barked upon a campaign of selling his
product to the people, "like a new food
THE UPSTART league has two
divisions with four teams in each
division. In the Midwest division are the
Fillies, the Milwaukee Does, the Iowa
Cornets and the Chicago Hustle. The
Eastern division contains the New York
Stars, the New Jersey Gems, the
Houston Angels and the Dayton Rocket-
Like any new league, though, the
WBL is having its troubles attracting
spectators to its games. The opening
game between Chicago and Milwaukee
did draw almost 8,000 fans, but after the
opener league attendance dosedived.
New York, in its two games thus far,
has averaged a mere 550 fans, and
Dayton has only drawn about 1,000.
Chicago and Iowa have drawn the
biggest crowds with averages of 3,200
and 2,500, respectively.
The new league expects these
problems, but it isn't worrying since
"each team is very solid financially,"
reported the league's publicity director
Kate McEnroe. McEnroe say's that the
league "is getting its feet wet. We're
the new kid on the block."
RESPECTABILITY is another
problem the WBL faces. The new
league has not done much to aid their
legitimacy due to the firing of many
coaches early in the season. As many as
four teams do not have the original
coach that was named.
Dayton Rockette coach Linda Mann
was released after two games as she
had not won either contest.- Iowa's
original mentor, George Nicodemus,
was released due to personal reasons
and went to Dayton. The Milwaukee
and the Minnesota coach have also been
The WBL also faces the problem of
attracting the best women players to it.
With the Olympics coming up in 1980,
several of the nation's top players, in-
cluding national champion Delta State
teammates Lucy Harris (6-4) and Deb-
bie Brocl4 (4-11) have opted not to sign
professional contracts. In addition, the
nation's leading scorer from Montclair
State (N.J.), Carol Blazejowski, has
also gone the Olympic route.
NEVERTHELESS, the WBL is sur-
viving and lists two of the top names in
women's sports, Karen Logan and
Mary Jo Peppler as their "big names."
Logan defeated Jerry West in a
Challenge of the Sexes competition last
year, while Peppler is the foremost
women's volleyball player in the United
Other leading players include
Patricia Roberts, co-captain of the 1976
Olympic silver medalist squad, Althea
Gwyn of Queens College and Wanda
Szermata of Montclair State.
These women are earning between
$5,000 and $12,000 a year, although some
players are making reportedly $30,000.
Despite its expected slow start, the
league plans to expand into Los
Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle or Portland,
and maybe Las Vegas.
This league has had an injection of
respectability due to an interview that
Lucia Kyvallos of Queens College, a
leading women's coach, had with Dick
Schaap of NBC Sports News. She said,
"These girls (in the WBL) could beat
any collegiate team by 20 or 30 points."
Teams have been scoring as many as
130 points, which also adds to their
OF LOCAL INTEREST, last year's
Wolverine captain, Terri Conlin, now is
a member of the Fillies after being
traded from the Milwaukee Does.
Nevers views Conlin as giving his
floundering Fillies (1-7) "potential'
Conlin has enjoyed her experience
with the league thus far. "I think it's
well organized; I think it's going to go,"
said the Ann Arbor native. "The caliber
is going to continue to get better," she
These women might be on the verge
of something big. When McEnroe was,
asked what the league's major
problems were, she said, "One of the
biggest problems is the weather in
Chiago." If the weather is the only thing
preventing the new league from being
successful, the WBL should make it.
By The Associated Press
UNIONDALE - Lorne Henning
scored twice in a 33-second span last,
night, topping a four-goal second period
and giving the New York Islanders a 7-11
National Hockey League triumph over
the Los Angeles Kings.
Clark Gillies, Ed Westfall and John 1
Tonelli added two assists each for New
York, which extended its home un- .
beaten streak to 21 games this season.
Westfall set up Bob Bourne's screen 1
shot at 13:21 of the first period, then
Trottier started New York's second-
period burst, sending a one-handed,
five-foot shot past Kings goalie Ron
Grahame at 9:49.
The goal, Trottier's 29th this season,
insured the New York center of the $500
prize awarded the league's top scorer
at the season's halfway mark.
But New York put the game out of
reach with three goals in a span of 1:42.
Flyers 5, Caps 2
LANDOVER - Reggie Leach, Bill
Barber and Dennis Ververgaert scored
Philadelphia power play goals while the
Flyers were being outshot by
Washington 32-13 in the first two
periods, keying a 3-2 National Hockey
League victory over the Capitals last
LEACH ALSO scored in the third
Indiana State 83, North Carolina A&T 64
Holy Cross 90, Harvard 73
Yale 91, Colgate 72
Los Angeles 106, New York 94
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Philadelphia 5, Washington 2
New York Islanders 7, Los Angeles 1
Atlanta 5, Buffalo3
period, giving him 21 for the season, as
the Flyers extended their five-seasoi
record against Washington to 13-0-4.
Bob Dailey assisted on each of th
power play goals and Bobby Clarke also
had three Philadelphia assists whil
Leach assisted on Barber's second
The Caps have one of the wors
penalty-killing records in the NHL
although they had allowed only two
goals in their last 14 times short prior to
the Flyers' onslaught.
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