Many believed that legendary Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson was planning on retiring at the conclusion of this upcoming season. After all, he is 70 years old and has been Michigan's coach since 1984. The natural expectation when someone has been a coach for that long is that the end is near.
As it turns out, however, Red Berenson will not only be Michigan's hockey coach in 2011-12, but he will also be coaching through at least the end of the 2012-13 season. Michigan announced the three-year extension today, and Berenson had this to say about the news:
"We've been doing a one-year contract of late and it seems like we're spending a lot of time talking about when I'm going to retire," Berenson said. "I think we can put that to bed for awhile and just focus on what we're doing. The situation at Michigan is a little clearer in terms of recruitment or leadership of the program or what my future is. It's pretty simple. I've thought about it a lot. I definitely was thinking about leaving earlier, but my passion has really been with this team and these players. They're making a commitment to the program and I want my commitment to be clear as well."
For the Michigan hockey program, this is absolutely great news. Not only is it wonderful that Berenson is staying on for at least three more seasons, but this should eliminate the concerns of many recruits and take away negative recruiting fodder for other programs to use. Berenson's future was very unclear for the last few years, but now that is no longer the case.
In addition to announcing Berenson's extension, Michigan released its schedule for the 2010-11 season. Here are some interesting things I noticed about the schedule:
- Michigan actually opens the regular season against Mercyhurst on Oct. 2, plays an exhibition game a day later and then has another exhibition game after a series at Bowling Green.
- Michigan's non-conference, early-season away game this year is against New Hampshire. The last couple of seasons it had been against Boston University.
- The Wolverines head to Alaska to play the Nanooks on Nov. 5-6.
- Michigan has back-to-back home series against Notre Dame and Lake Superior State before heading to Wisconsin and Minnesota for the College Hockey Showcase on Thanksgiving weekend.
- The final game of the first half of the season is against Michigan State at Michigan Stadium (The Big Chill at the Big House). This game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 11 and is the only game that weekend.
- The Great Lakes Invitational has a pretty solid lineup this year, with Michigan playing Michigan Tech and Michigan State playing Boston University in the opening round.
- Michigan and MSU play a home-and-home series on Jan. 7-8. The two teams will play their fourth scheduled game of the season on Jan. 29 at Joe Louis Arena. That is the only game scheduled for Michigan that weekend.
- The Wolverines' final home game of the regular season is set for Feb. 19 against Western Michigan.
The Big Chill at the Big House is obviously the most noteworthy game on the schedule, but all in all it looks like an interesting slate of games.