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February 16, 2000 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-16

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 16, 2000

'M' hockey thrives on Dekers' support

Michigan hockey fans seem to be unlike any other fans in the
country - this has already been established.
With their raucous cheers and undying loyalty, the Yost Ice
Arena faithful put their hearts on the line week in and week out.
But there are a few patrons whose enthusiasm extends
beyond the confines of the Wolverines' home rink. The mem-
bers of the Dekers Blue Line Club live and breathe Michigan
hockey.
They unite in support of the Wolverines often following the
team to distant locales and bringing an element of the Michigan
spirit with them.
"We're all just hockey lovers and we love Michigan hockey,"
said Dekers club president Dave Linebaugh, who has been a
season ticket holder since Yost became an ice rink in 1974.
Linebaugh is not alone in his support. The Dekers boast
members from all walks of life - including fans like Otto
Myznir who came to the United States from Austria only ten
years ago.
Since skiing, not hockey, is Austria's most prominent sport,
Myznir wasn't a fan until he arrived in Ann Arbor. But now, by
self-admission, Myznir is hooked on the sport.
Through the Dekers Club, Myznir and his family have
formed a strong bond with the Michigan hockey program.
The club - founded in 1962- was organized to support the
Michigan hockey program through financial and event contri-
butions.
"There's a lot of history behind the club," Michigan coach
Red Berenson said. "They're a huge support group. They're
hockey fans and a lot of them will go on the road with us.
"The team understands that these people are more than just
fans - they're big supporters of the program., They're just
tremendous."
The volunteer, non-profit organization raises funds through
the 50/50 raffle held during home hockey games, banquets and
fundraisers. All the money goes to benefit the Wolverines. For
example, this past year the club endowed a hockey scholarship.

JESSICA JOHNSON/Daily
Michigan goalie Josh Blackbum is one of the many beneficiaries
of the Dekers Blue ine Club's support.
But perhaps more importantly, the Dekers enjoy a close rela-
tionship with Michigan coach Red Berenson and his team.
They also organize events such as a golf outing, the senior
banquet and Dekers fun night at Yost.
This past weekend, ninety members turned out to have break-
fast with the coach.
Berenson-addressed the crowd, as did CCHA Commisioner
Tom Anastos. Though attendees peppered Anastos with ques-
tions including debating questionable refereeing calls, when
Berenson spoke he had everyone's attention.
In return, the coach awarded his fans the same respect,
divulging his thoughts on a variety of topics from the team's
upcoming playoff run to the recent resignation of Michigan ath-
letic director Tom Goss.
"We see a lot of the Dekers at (my weekly) radio show,"
Berenson said. "I feel like I know most of them and they've
done a great job. Everyone has a different reason for liking
hockey whether it's the speed, the action, the contact and so on.
But it's hard to enjoy a baseball game or a basketball game after
you've been to a hockey game."
For the Dekers, Berenson's statement holds a lot of truth.
These Michigan fans are hockey fans for life.

Arbitrator rules
against Sanders
DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit
Lions were awarded some - but not
all - of the money they wanted
returned from retired running back
Barry Sanders.
Sam Kagel, an NFL arbitrator,
ruled yesterday that Sanders must pay
back $1.83 million of his $11 million
signing bonus. For the Lions to get the
rest of it, they have to wait - and
Sanders must stay retired.
The Lions wanted Sanders to return
$5.5 million of the bonus he got in
1997. He played two years of a six-
year contract before shocking the
football world by abruptly walking
away from the game July 28, on the
eve of training camp.
"We have contended all along that
just because you've retired you don't
owe the entire amount back,"
Sanders' agent David Ware said after
the ruling was handed down. "He
ruled consistent with our position."
Sanders hasn't paid any money
back yet.
"Barry is retired," Ware said. "As
long as the circumstances remain
what they are, he will remain retired."
Gophers' star center
Pryzbilla suspended
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Just a day
after being selected Big Ten Player of the
Week, Minnesota center Joel Przybilla
was suspended indefinitely from the
team for failing to meet academic
requirements, Minnesota coach Dan
Monson said during practice yesterday.
Monson did not immediately specify
what standards Przybilla did not meet,
other than to say the sophomore 7-footer
fell short of team rules in several areas.
Przybilla did not attend practice.
Monson said the suspension will last as
long as the problem exists.
"There's a definite lack of commit-
ment," Monson said. "There's more
than one thing. But I'm not going to
elaborate much more than that. It's an
academic thing. He's got to commit to
academics or he's not going to be a part
of this."
Monson said he had previously dis-
cussed the problem with Przybilla, who
was named Big Ten Player of the Week
on Monday for a 33-point, 14-rebound
effort in the Gophers' upset win against
Indiana..The sophomore was averaging
17 points and I . rebounds in Big Ten
play this season.

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