Monday, June 7, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
From Page 11
putting brochures in the dorm mailbox
of every freshman.
More importantly, it was turn-
ing a 12-26-0 record into 22-15-4 and
eventually, turning that into 34-10-3.
Wearers of the Maize and Blue began
to fill the building consistently. By the
time Michigan hosted the 1991 NCAA
regional, it had enough fans to set a
weekend attendance record that still
stands to this day.
But the attendance was onlythe first
step in creating a true home-ice advan-
THE TURNING POINT
The student section, barely extend-
ing blue line to blue line behind the
benches, had already started the
No. 3 seed Michigan was up 4-3
on sixth-seeded Cornell as the sec-
onds slowly counted down in the 1991
The crowd, staring at the approxi-
mately 200 Cornell fans situated near
center ice on the side opposite of the
student section, belted out the num-
bers. "Five! Four! Three! Two!...". But
the countdown never finished.
Big Red forward Kent Manderville
slapped a backhand shot from the top
of the circle past freshman goaltender
Steve Shields to tie the game. Cor-
nell then scored on its first trip down
the ice in overtime to end the game,
but it was the halted countdown that
spurred the veteran BigRed crowd.
"I've never heard a countdown
stop," William Sangrey, a Cornelligrad-
uate student at the time said. "Five,
four, three, two, and it stopped. The
whole building just stopped."
The following night, as the first
period waned down, the boisterous
Cornellians added a new chant to their
already versatile repertoire.
"They would go, 'Ten, nine, eight,
seven, six, five, four, three, two,
OHHH!' to make fun of the crowd
reaction," then-Michigan graduate
student Matt Thullen said.
But the Michigan fans were drawn
in before that.
The personal cheers and clever-
ness of Cornell clicked with them, and
on that weekend in mid-March, the
crowd took its first step toward becom-
ing what it is today. In the face of the
rowdy Ivy League crowd, it began to
defend its building.
"(The Cornell fans) were loud and
they got their message across, and I
think the fans kind of took it as a chal-
lenge," Thullen said. "We're the ones
with the intimidating building. We're
the home team.
"We're not going to let these guys
come in and basically do anything
But many of the Michigan fans were
new to college hockey and didn't know
how to pass the test presented by the
Cornell contingent. So, the Wolverine
fans took the Big Red's cheers.
The number and variety of cheers
that were taken vary, depending on the
memory of each person that was there.
Some say that Steve Shields wasn't the
only goalie who had his mother call to
tell him he sucked.
Others can only remember Cornell
goaltender Jim Crozier getting hit
with "It's all your fault! It's all your
fault!" added to the end of Michigan's
already established goal count. But the
most important lesson that Big Red
crowd taught wasn't a specific chant -
it was the attitude that a college hockey
crowd should have.
"I think that the Cornell folks kind
of taught us how you can really make
a chant that really gets under people's
skin a little bit better," Thullen said.
And after a 6-4 Michigan win, the
decisive game came on a St. Patrick's
Day Sunday in front of Berenson's first
sellout that wasn't against Michigan
State. Michigan rode the crowd to a
The winning method had been
The win also ended the three-day
fan crash course. The Michigan faith-
ful left for seven months of hiberna-
tion, unsure if the atmosphere would
take hold without Cornell baiting
So in the home opener of the 1991-
92 season, the crowd faced another test
- Michigan State. The fans showed up,
and armed with their knowledge from
early March, Michigan home games
have never been the same.
"The very first series of games, it
was packed," Eric Storhok, a graduate
student at the time, said last month.
"There was enough students that once
somebody came up with a clever cheer,
everybody was doing it immediately."
It was the beginning of the mod-
ern era of the Yost crowd, one that
has relied on the cheers and ability to
adapt that was taught to them by 200
kids from Ithaca, New York.
And when the Big Red came back to
Yost in 1997, they saw the monster they
"They gave us a hard time about
stealing their chants and those of us
who were at that game were like, 'if we
could chant 'thank you,' we would,"
story about the
crowd online at