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February 24, 1977 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-02-24

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Tt ursday, February 24, 1977


Page Sever

ThursIIIayI Febuar 2, 177 HEMICIGN DILYPIeISve

... forgotten sport
PICTURE THIS: a balmy day near the end of the month in
a major city in the country. Fans from four universities
and local residents converge at a familiar athletic arena. Na-
tionwide media relays, articles to anxious fans that could not
attend in person.
Before you start drooling at the thought, the city is Detroit,
not Atlanta; the arena is the Olympia, not the Omni; and the
sport is hockey, not basketball.
For some reason, especially this year, the Michigan sports
fans seem to have forgotten about hockey. Obviously football
and basketball are the major sports at most schools, but why
ignore hockey?
The 1976-77 Wolverine skaters are as exciting as their
gridiron counterparts (maybe even more) and because of
the rise in popularity of the basketball team, the hosts of
Yost are left out in the cold, literally.
It is said, but the fact of the matter is that last year when
the basketball team was still drawing its 9,000 per game, more
fas were filling the bleachers at Yost. Why?
Last year the Michigan fan had a choice. Either watch
basketball or hockey, but not both. This year it seems that
only die-hard hockey fans show up for any of the games.
It is, in a word, baffling. The icers are currently in third
place in the WCHA with a four-game winning streak and an
excellent chance to make the NCAA tournament.
The team is high-scoring, providing the most enter-
taining games in any sport at Michigan this year.
Attendance problem
I used to be the avid Michigan fan that accepted nothing
but routs, but more and more I have been turned off by
these kinds of games. How exciting is 70-14 or 104-63 as com-
pared to an offensive hockey barrage of 11-8 or 8-6?
My point is this; hockey is a second class citizen at
Every football game drew over 100,000 last year and every
basketball game pulls in over 13,000 fans. But hockey has trou-
ble drawing the big crowds.
Only Michigan State and Michigan Tech really interest
enough people to pack Yost. The real problem though, lies
with more than just the fan.
Yost the reason?
Yost seats 8,100, easily the largest college owned hockey
arena in the nation. But the building is old, the heat, lights,
seats and public address system are sub-standard.
I wonder how many people went to the game against Du-
luth when the lights went whacky? I also wonder how manyc
of those fans have come back to see another game this year.I
Or is it the cost of tickets that scare away the cus-I
tomer? It is a little bit ridiculous to expect to lure pros-
pective ticket sales with the price as high as it is.
Wouldn't it seem more logical for hockey tickets to cost1
less than basketball in the hopes of attracting people to the
Season ticket prices have taken themselves right out of
consideration, the opposite of football and basketball.
Why a man like Don Canham, who knows full well the value
of revenue, doesn't concern himself with hockey is a mystery.
It would seem logical for Canham to want to push the
hockey program, sell season tickets at a rate comparable
to the other two money-making sports and channel added
income into the athletic department.
I took these suggestions to Canham himself, but he wasl
out of town until Monday and obviously unavailable for com-P
It is ironic that at other schools the problem is reversed.
At Michigan State hockey outdraws basketball almost every
time - forcing all basketball games to be played at night
since fans will flock to Munn Arena at any time of the day.
At Wisconsin the Badgers play in a beautiful coliseum
owned by Dane County. Fans in Madison, like those at East
Lansing, can buy hockey tickets for Friday or Saturday, but
not both.,
Even at Duluth where the Bulldogs boast the worst team
in the WCHA the fans support the team in admirable style.
I know I waited too long to write about this; there is
only one more home game to go, but the first round of the
playoffs will probably be at Yost, and the NCAA's are closeby.
So, if you really want to see an NCAA tournament but can't
go to Atlanta for some reason, show up at the Olympia in-
stead. I mean, if you squint your eyes the RenCen looks like
Peachtree Plaza.

Detroit 102, Los Angeles 101
New York Nets 91, Denver 88
Washington 109, Indiana 101
Buffalo 5, Cleveland 3 '"J"
New York Rangers 5, Toronto 4
Montreal 4, Atlanta 2
Chicago 5, Detroit 2r
Miami of Purdue 76, W. Michigan 66
S. Carolina 86, S. Florida 63
Kent State 76, Bowling Green 68
Jacksonville 70, Florida State 64
Youngstown 90, Cleveland State 65
Toledo 69, Central Michigan 61
Alma 90, Hope 65
St. John's 92, Boston College 69
Notre Dame 111, Loyola-Chicago 86t
Clemson 67, Duke 63I
Syracuse 106, Niagara 82
Kansas State 68, Oklahoma 55 7 k , I




By DON MacLACHLAN was getting better every day in knew that I was at the school game because I don't know bow
"At forward, a sophomore practice," Staton said. "As the where I wanted to be - with a to react to poorer forwards. But
from Ferndale, number 23, Tom' year progressed, I thougnt I winner." against a team like Indiana with
Staton." was getting near the poit FOR AWHILE it didn't look good forwards, I st id, them
At the sound of those words a where I could step in. Once I like Staton Was going to enroll hard and fight that little birex-
6-3 forward comes charging got the opportunity it seemed at Michigan. At first Soton e- tra to get over a pick or pick
from the Michigan bench, high to make the whole year worth- cided he did not want to go to up a loose ball."
stepping and clapping his hands while." . any school in the state of Mich- As a small forward Staton util-
until he slaps hands with his Staton's opportunity came in igan - he just wanted to get izes his quickness to drive inside
counterpart at forward, Woher- 1the first round of tne NCAA away from home. However, aft- on bigger, foes, and seems to
ine co-captain John Robinson. tournament against W i c h i t a er a little coaxing from his fath- have an uncanny sense of find
Four of Michigan's starters State. With the Wolvzrines er, the All Stater decided a state' ing the open man underneath
from last year's NCAA ruaner. struggling and facing elirnina- school wouldn't be so bad - es- for an easy lay-up.
up returned this season. Way- tion in the second half, coach pecially Michigan. "If I don't drive my opponent
man Britt, last year's captain, Johnny Orr called on Staton to' to the hle I'm not helping the
graduated and through hard do the job. The inexperienced After meeting the ,llas It eam" Staton remarkd "Then
work and determination, Tom j freshman responded with keyfetMciawolbeaie
Staton earned thevacant start- steals and six points sparking place to go," Staton added" I let the opponents sag on Rick-
ing spot. the Wolverines to a last second think I made one of the great- ey and Hub.
STATON is an enthusiastic in- 74-73 victory. est choices in my life so far." STATON IS a real competitor
dividual. Last year as a resewe "That game gave me a lift,'' Staton's aggressiveness and both on the floor and off. He is
he paced the bench before Staton said. "I saw I was going hustle as a small forward, has a fine student and is hopeful of
games and slapped hands with to play some so I could fina'ly keyed his fine defense this year. going into law or the ministry
all of the starters to keep them prove myself and show I wa Scott May, Phil Sellers and upon graduation. In the mean-
fired up. This year on occasion capable of doing what she drian Dantey aju a bew i e pushes hlmseif to do
he leads the cheering for his fel- coaches asked." of the opponents Staton has been his best.
TEMSsaifig -asked to shut down in the pat f"I' a erbefeig to ls
low teammates and provokes THE MOST satisfying perso and hetresponded quite wellp and "ou willrlose feyoungre ot
the fans to get in on the ap- al victory for Staton came in:- and you will Iose if you are not
plause. the NCAA Midwest Regional, "IT ALL COMES down to my putting all out in bas erball or
"I really don't know where when the Wolverines dovmned intensity." Staton said. "Against'in life," Staton said. "But if
that enthusiasm comes from," Notre Dame-and center Bruce a team like Ohio State, I don't you've done your best, what can
Staton said. "Sometimes it is Flowers. have such a good defensive you say?"
hard to generate. I may be a Staton was a guard on ofense -
little bit of a ham, I don't and a center on defense as a
know." nren caver. Flowers' school
"I like to make things happen (Berklev High) nioned Ferndale
and it shows on the couet," Sta. High for the league title three
ton said. "I guess that carries conseclltive years. The Berklev-'
over from my emotional state. Ferndale rivalries were always00
Basically, I'm an intense person highlighted by the pairing of,
when it comes down to things I Staton against Flowers-- de-
enjoy." snite a six-inch height advan-
LAST YEAR was a trying' tape for Flowers.
time for the sophomore trom "All last year everyone saw
Ferndale. A two-time All Stater Notre Dame games on TV and
came to Michigan and found saw how Bruce was startrin
himself in a reserve role his # while I was here on .he bench,"
freshman year, seeing imited Staton said. "People were al-
playing time. During his prep ways asking me if I was sorry
career he averaged 2.3 points with my decision to enroll here.
and 15 rebounds per 2ontest, and "But -when we were up by
was the standout on the 'eam. three near the end of the game
"I kinda adjusted and knew I last year, I smiled at him and!
N T 2 1'N TFEG -

Daily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG
TOM STATON does "his best" as he leaps to the basket
against Ohio State's Kelvin Ransey in a game earlier this
season. Staton has been an inspirational leader for the Wol-
verines all season.

rult T: T2 C CTf 1

I 11y 1Linn ;nltylN r U nl N 1 IIIJO

Benson lost

for season

By The Associated Press
center Kent Benson will be side-
lined the rest of the season, his;
brilliant college career ended
prematurely by a back injury,'
Coach Bobby Knight announced'
Benson, who has had recur-
ring back trouble for severalI
years,hre-injured itSunday
when he wvas knocked to the
floor while drawing a charging
foul from Purdue freshman
Joe Barry Carroll in a Big Ten
game at West Lafayette. The
injury was diagnosed as mas-
sive bruising and swelling.
Benson, who was Indiana's
high school "Mr. Basketball' at!
New Castle in 1973, ends his col-
lege career as Indiana's second-
leading all-time scorer and re-
bounder, averaging 15.2 points

and 8.1 rebounds. Fuentes, a native of cuba,
He averaged 19.8 points a had a career-high batting av-
game overall and 21.1 points erage of .280 in 1975 at San
in Big Ten competition this Diego, hit .263 last season and
season, despite being double owns a lifetime batting aver-
and triple-teamed much of the age of .264 in 1,335 games -
time. all in the National League.
With Benson out, the pivot The switch-hitting Fuentes
chores likely will fall to 6-foot-9 broke into professional baseball
sophomore Jim Roberson and with the San Francisco organi-
6-11 freshman Derek Holcomb. zation in 1962 and played with
the Giants between 1965 and
Tito the Tiger 1974, most of the time as a reg-
ular second baseman. He was
LAKELAND, Fla. - The De- traded to San Diego in Decem-
troit Tigers made a move to ber 1974.

After Lanier's basket, Los
Angeles called a time out. But
Don Chaney's shot with four
seconds left missed and Carle
Russell's shot at the buzzer
was short.
L a n i e r scored 29 points,
grabbed 14 rebounds and held
superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
to 14 points - 13 below his av-
Eric Money had the hot hand
for the Pistons in the second
half, scoring all of his 22 points
after intermission, including
nine in a row and 16 points in
the final quarter.


solve their second base problem
yesterday by signing veteran
Tito Fuentes to a one-year base-
ball contract for $90.000.
The 33-year-old Fuentes, who
played out his option with the
San Diego Padres last year,
agreed to the deal by telegram.

** *

Bo b-A-Dob
DETROIT - Bob Lanier's
basket with nine seconds left
last night gave the Detroit Pis-
tons a 102-101 National Basket.
ball Association victory over the
Los Angeles Lakers.





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