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Michigan coach Berenson on Big House: “I can’t imagine a better place to play an outdoor game”

Feb 8, 2012, 4:44 PM EDT

Red Berenson

Having coached the University of Michigan men’s hockey team for 28 years, Red Berenson knows a thing or two about how the game should be played.

As for where it should be played, Berenson says there’s no better venue than Michigan Stadium.

“I can’t imagine a better place to play an outdoor game,” Berenson told the New York Times. “If you want the impact of a record-breaking crowd, and in a facility that is located in a pretty central location — you know it’s pretty easy to get to Detroit. It’s already worked here.

“We had that ice in, and it fit. It had great sight lines, and everything was perfect.”

Berenson was asked about The Big House prior to tomorrow’s press conference, where it’s expected the NHL will announce the 2013 Winter Classic will be played at Michigan Stadium between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. Berenson was intimately involved in another huge hockey game played there — 2010’s “Big Chill at the Big House” between the Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans — which drew a world attendance record for a hockey game: 113,411.

Berenson remembers the game with fondness.

“We got the ice in early so the whole community could use it,” said Berenson. “We had high school games and midget games and every kind of game you could think of, plus public skating opportunities every afternoon and every night. For the public, so many people were down here, you never saw so many cameras and photo opportunities for people that maybe otherwise don’t even skate.

“They just had to come down and skate on this ice.”

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  1. Jeff - Feb 8, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Well he would know.

  2. nhlbruins90 - Feb 8, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    A great choice.

  3. bcjim - Feb 9, 2012 at 6:12 AM

    Horrible choice. Sit in an ice box to watch a hockey game? And don’t forget your binoculars…or telescope depending on how bad your seats are.

    What fool would pay to attend such an event?

  4. michiganhockey11 - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    I think the cold won’t be so much of the issue (bring your cold compression gear, thermals, boots and Carharts), but the seating. For one, hockey arenas have backs to the seats, MIchigan Stadium is just bench seats. If you’ve never been there before, you have no idea how crammed it feels. No leg room for people over 5’8″, your knees are basically in the back of the person in front of you and the person behind you has their knees in your back. Room for your tukus is less than ample. Buy 2 tickets so you have the ability to stretch a bit. God help you if the d-bag/s in front of you stand up like they do at the football games forcing you to stand up to see anything at all. All the while dealing with the guys behind you yelling at you to sit down when that’s the only way you can see anything because of the guys in front of you.

    The view for football in the upper rows won’t translate for hockey really well I think. And by all means, I am a huge wings fan.

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