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It’s been settled: The crowd for The Big Chill At The Big House was 104,073.
Roughly a month after the outdoor ice hockey game was held at Michigan Stadium, Guinness World Records finally settled on the official attendance figure for the event. In the immediate aftermath of the game, there was a large discrepancy between Michigan and Guinness as to how many people filled the seats.
Michigan announced a crowd of 113,411, a figure that obliterated the previous world record of 77,083. Guinness tallied 85,451, which was still a new world record attendance, but obviously far short of Michigan’s count.
Anyone in attendance at The Big House on December 11 would argue that at least 100,000 people were in the stadium. But the enormous difference in figures had to do with a problem in scanning tickets at the game. A Guinness spokesperson told the Detroit Free Press that “further evidence had to be provided.”
So Michigan took the ticket scanning numbers and camera footage to CCHA Commissioner Tom Anastos to determine a more accurate figure. The information was presented to Guinness, they gave it the thumbs up, and the final numbers were released.
Michigan fans get the nice, round, six-digit figure that they were hoping for (and that anyone with a working pair of eyes agreed with). And college hockey (along with the Michigan and Michigan State programs) get the signature event they can use to promote the sport. Ultimately, it all worked out.
Though Michigan officials initially announced an unofficial crowd of 113,411 for The Big Chill at the Big House on Dec. 11, Guinness World Records only gave the university credit for 85,451. It was still the largest crowd to ever watch a hockey game, but the announcement of a significantly smaller crowd was a bit disappointing.
There may be a legitimate reason for the discrepancy, however. The Michigan Daily reported that broken ticket scanners may have been the culprit, according to athletic department spokesman Matt Trevor:
Additionally, Guinness only counted tickets that were scanned — not tickets that were ripped to show admittance, Trevor said. Because of the cold temperatures, some of the scanners’ batteries died, Trevor said, so those admitting people into the Big House had to start ripping tickets instead of scanning them.
"At some point during the day most (employees) who had scanners had to change out the battery, and during that time they had so many people still trying to come through," Trevor said.
The athletic department said they will continue to work with GWR officials to certify the count, a process that may including counting people from photographs of the event. Good luck with that, guys.
If you want to help out, you can set the DVR on Christmas or New Years Day and count for yourself when Fox Sports Detroit will air replays of the contest. If you can’t wait that long, you can always buy the DVD, availible from the M Den for $19.99.
FSD replays will air at 3 p.m. on Christmas Day and 5 p.m. on New Years. By airing at 5.p.m, the New Years replay will avoid competing with the NHL’s Winter Classic and Michigan and Michigan State’s bowl games.
The good news? The Big Chill at The Big House hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State held at Michigan Stadium last Saturday set a world record for largest audience to watch an outdoor hockey game.
The bad news? The Guinness World Records disagree with the unofficial attendance numbers announced by Michigan.
Unofficially, the crowd at Michigan Stadium on Saturday was counted at 113,411. That shattered the previous record of 77,803, set in May at the World Championships in Germany.
Guinness World Records, however, is certifying the attendance at 85,451. That’s still a world record, but obviously a far lower number than Michigan was touting.
So what caused such a major discrepancy?
Guinness uses a different system of calculating attendance than the NCAA. Guinness adjudicator Mike Janela said Saturday that Guinness relies on the number of tickets scanned on the day of event rather than tickets sold.
Janela himself offered further explanation on the official Guinness World Records website:
The University announced an unofficial crowd of 113,411 during the third period. To better the GWR mark of 77,803 set at this year’s IIHF World Championships, however, it was necessary to provide scanned evidence of the bar codes on each spectator’s ticket. At the time of the announcement, 85,451 tickets had been scanned, with the numbers continuing to increase, but more than enough to certify a new record.
While we still await final documention to award an official final number, the spectacle of the event can’t be denied.
So it appears that a final attendance figure has yet to be verified. But it looks like the numbers from Guinness and the NCAA aren’t going to match up.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told AnnArbor.com that “media members, stadium workers and other people present for a game” are usually factored into an attendance mark. Guinness does have a list of non-ticket holders who were in Michigan Stadium for the hockey game.
So which attendance figure are you going to cite when talking about The Big Chill at The Big House years from now? And be honest, have you looked at the Guinness World Records since you were in grade school?
In the big picture, The Big Chill at The Big House was a tremendous success. A crowd of 113,411 filled the seats at Michigan Stadium to witness a hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State.
That’s the biggest audience in stadium history, surpassing the mark of 113,090 that watched this year’s football season opener versus Connecticut and checked out the newly renovated facilities.
It was the largest crowd to watch any sporting event in NCAA history.
The attendance obliterated the previous record for an outdoor hockey game, set in May of this year for the World Championships when 77,803 watched Germany play the United States.
And — oh, yes — the crowd set a Guinness World Record.
But though the event was all about, well, the event, all those thousands of people came to Michigan Stadium to watch a college hockey game. And in the small picture, Saturday’s game was a tremendous success for the Michigan hockey team.
The Wolverines are in a three-way battle for first place in the CCHA, and needed a win to keep pace with Notre Dame and Miami (Ohio). Losing to the second-to-last place team in the conference wouldn’t have helped matters. With that on the line, Michigan dominated their in-state rivals, shutting them out 5-0 in their first meeting of the 2010-11 season.
Putting an Olympic-sized ice rink down on the Michigan Stadium field allowed more space for the Wolverines to use their speed, and they took advantage of the opportunity. Defenseman Jon Merrill and forward Carl Hagelin both scored two goals for Michigan. Left wing David Wohlberg tallied the other score for the home team. Three of Michigan’s goals came on the power play.
Shawn Hunwick was a last-minute emergency starter in goal for Michigan. Bryan Hogan was originally named as the starter, but injured his groin during pre-game warm-ups. If Hunwick was at all unsettled by suddenly being told he was going to play, he certainly didn’t show it. The senior stopped all 34 shots he faced from the Spartans.
Michigan will be off until December 29 and a match-up with Michigan Tech in the annual Great Lakes Invitational at Joe Louis Arena.
Setting the world record for the biggest crowd to watch an outdoor hockey game was the goal when The Big Chill at The Big House was announced. And with more than 100,000 tickets sold, achieving a new attendance mark was all but a formality.
Expectations were exceeded, however, as an audience of 113,411 was announced for the hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State at Michigan Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
That’s the largest crowd ever to witness an outdoor hockey game. It’s the largest crowd to attend any event played at Michigan Stadium. And the mark was officially recognized as a Guinness World Record.
The previous record for an outdoor hockey crowd was 77,803 for a game between Germany and the United States played at the World Championships in Gelsenkirchen, Germany in May of this year.
The Cold War between Michigan State and Michigan played at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing drew 74,544 in 2001. The first NHL Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres played at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo drew 71,217 in 2008.
Michigan forward Carl Hagelin scored on a power play 12 minutes into the second period to give the Wolverines a 3-0 lead over Michigan State in The Big Chill at The Big House.
Capitalizing on penalties has been a key difference in the game thus far, with Michigan scoring two power-play goals.
Hagelin’s score was his eighth of the season.
Defenseman Jon Merritt has two goals in the first period, giving Michigan a 2-0 over Michigan State after the first period of The Big Chill At The Big House.
The two schools are playing an ice hockey game outdoors at Michigan Stadium 10 years after facing off at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.
Merritt’s second goal came with five minutes remaining in the period. His first score came on the power play for Michigan.
Bryan Hogan was slated to get the start in goal for the Wolverines, but suffered a groin injury during pre-game warm-ups. Shawn Hunwick replaced Hogan at goalie.
In the offseason, Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge often spends his Friday and Saturday nights at Yost Ice Arena watching Michigan hockey games. He lives in Saline and is a season-ticket holder for Michigan hockey, so it's no surprise he will be spending this upcoming Saturday at Michigan Stadium to watch The Big Chill at the Big House.
Inge got a chance to get a look at the ice on Thursday with his kids and he will be one of the 110,000-plus fans in attendance on Saturday.
“I appreciate all the work that went into this,” Inge said. “It’s going to be the biggest spectator hockey event ever to happen.
“I’m a huge hockey fan. I love all aspects of the game. How hard it is, to be honest with you. I’ve become a Michigan fan. This is my team to follow.”
From one Michigan fan who will be at The Big Chill to another, Go Blue, Mr. Inge.
So far this season for the Michigan hockey team, Shawn Hunwick has been starting at goalie on Fridays and Bryan Hogan has been getting the call on Saturdays. This is similar to what happened two years ago. Billy Sauer would play one night and Hogan would be in the lineup the next. The two alternated starts until it became obvious that the team just seemed to play better with Hogan in net. At that point, head coach Red Berenson went with Hogan and he became the full-time starter for the rest of the season.
This season, it looks like Hogan is on his way to once again becoming the full-time starter. He was the main man in net for Michigan last year until suffering an injury late in the season. Hunwick finally got a chance to play and Michigan went on an amazing winning streak, playing its way into the NCAA tournament by way of a CCHA tournament championship. The Wolverines were a bad call away from playing in the Frozen Four, and Hunwick really served as the spark for a team that had struggled most of the season.
Although neither goalie has played bad this season -- Hunwick has a 2.79 goals against average and a .903 save percentage and Hogan has a 2.11 GAA and a .923 save percentage -- it's becoming clear that the team just seems to play better with Hogan in net. The same thing happened with Sauer two years ago. Michigan just didn't seem to play well with him in net, so Hogan won the starting job. This year, Hogan has a 7-2-0 record and Hunwick is 2-3-4. The records speak for themselves. Michigan just wins more with Hogan in net.
Based on this, Berenson has decided to start Hogan in net on Saturday for The Big Chill at the Big House. He said that neither goalie has played "exceptionally well" lately, but Hogan has found a way to win. For Michigan, both this season and in 2008-09, that seems to be the deciding factor for who to start. Hogan has won and Hunwick hasn't, so that is why Hogan will be the goalie on Saturday against Michigan State in the Big House. Not only is this game important because it is a CCHA contest and MSU is a rival, but you don't want to lose a record-breaking event on your own ice (or turf, in this case). Considering that, starting Hogan makes the most sense.
We are eight days away from The Big Chill at the Big House, which is expected to shatter the hockey attendance record. Upwards of 110,000 people are expected for the game, and crews have been hard at work all week to get Michigan Stadium ready for the event. Below is a rundown of notes about the event, recapping the latest news from this week.
The day after Michigan's final home football game of the season, preparation began for The Big Chill at the Big House, the hockey game pitting Michigan against Michigan State at Michigan Stadium. The game isn't until Saturday, Dec. 11, but the process of getting the stadium ready is already underway.
Right now, as the video below shows, crews are working to install the platform that the ice for The Big Chill will be installed on. The platform includes one layer that serves to protect the FieldTurf, as Michigan obviously doesn't want that to be damaged considering it was just installed this past summer. Another layer is what appears to be a wooden surface, which is also being installed based on these pictures from UMGoBlue.com.
Once the platform is fully installed, crews can start installing the ice, a process that takes a few days. There will actually be games played on the ice toward the end of next week in order to get the surface more game-ready for The Big Chill. One of the problems for the game at Camp Randall Stadium between Michigan and Wisconsin earlier this year was that the ice wasn't worn down very much, resulting in a rather bad surface. Michigan plans to prevent this from happening by allowing games to be played in the week leading up to The Big Chill. Also, with the preparations beginning already, there will be plenty of time to fix the surface if any changes need to be made.
Michigan and Michigan State fans will be treated to some fireworks when the two hockey teams meet for The Big Chill At The Big House on Dec. 11.
A pregame display will be set off from the south end zone when the Wolverines hit the ice to start the game. Michigan goals will be punctuated by fireworks from both the north and south end zones. Following the game, a six-minute fireworks show choreographed to music will be shot from the field and from the rooftops on the east and west towers of the stadium.
On Friday, Michigan made public the jerseys it will wear for The Big Chill at the Big House on Dec. 11. The jerseys are special throwbacks made just for the game against Michigan State at Michigan Stadium, designed to replicate what Michigan wore back in the 1940s. Via the M Den, here is a shot of the jerseys:
Michigan head coach Red Berenson said this about the jerseys:
"I think it's a great idea that we're using a throwback-style jersey," said head coach Red Berenson. "It gives our fans an idea of part of the history of the program and what the team looked like. I think our players will be excited to wear them."
Personally I think the design is pretty ugly looking, especially the picture on the front of what is supposed to be a Wolverine. The jersey certainly stays true to the throwback concept, as it does look very much like what Michigan wore in the 40s (see below), but after seeing the jersey in person (some people already bought it and wore it to Friday night's game against Notre Dame) I'm not a fan at all. Thankfully it'll only be worn for one game.
In the week leading up to The Big Chill at the Big House, there will be a lot of activity at Michigan Stadium. Although the Michigan-Michigan State game isn't until Dec. 11, hockey will be played in the Big House on both the Saturday and Sunday the week before.
Previously, a tripleheader involving high school teams was announced. The tripleheader will take place on Dec. 5, starting at 4 p.m. It will feature the following three games: Skyline vs. Father Gabriel Richard, Saline vs. Ann Arbor Pioneer and Ann Arbor Huron vs. Dexter.
The day before, on Dec. 4, there will be a college hockey game between Division III rivals Adrian College and Concordia (the Concordia from Wisconsin, not Ann Arbor). The game will take place at 9:30 a.m. ET, according to Concordia's hockey schedule, so perhaps there will be other games played that day. It's pretty obvious Michigan wants to make use of this ice with many games, so it's certainly possible.
We are less than two months away from The Big Chill at the Big House, an outdoor hockey game featuring Michigan and Michigan State. The game, which is going to be played at Michigan Stadium, is approaching a sellout, as more than 105,000 tickets have been sold so far.
University of Michigan officials say they've sold 105,585 tickets for an outdoor hockey game at Michigan Stadium between the Wolverines and rival Michigan State.
Michigan announced sales Monday that would set the world record for attendance at an ice hockey game.
Back in the summer, U-M actually had to stop selling tickets because they were going so fast. Shortly after the 100,000 tickets sold mark was crossed, a halt was put on sales in order to allow incoming students to purchase them. As the new numbers show, about 5,000 tickets have been sold since then. The capacity for Michigan Stadium is 109,901, so it appears it's only a matter of time until a sellout is reached.
Regardless of if this game achieves a sellout or not, it should break the hockey attendance record with ease if the weather cooperates. The current record is 77,803, the attendance of the IIHF World Championship opening game between Germany and the United States (played in Germany). The record, which was set back in May, broke Michigan and Michigan State's record from the Cold War, which was played back in 2001 and had an attendance of 74,544.
The Big Chill at the Big House, a hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State at Michigan Stadium, is less than three months away. On Dec. 11, the Wolverines and Spartans will square off in front of what should be a record crowd of more than 100,000 people.
College hockey season begins next week, so the buzz about The Big Chill will start to get going again as more specifics are announced about the plans for this game. Until then, here is an interesting tidbit Red Berenson released last week:
"It's going to be a Hallmark game, a game of a lifetime," Berenson said. "The plan is to have an Olympic size rink and that adds another twist to it. It's in the Big House so let's give them some room to play."
An Olympic size rink is 15 feet wider than a standard NHL/college rink, meaning players will have a lot more room to work with, which should favor Michigan's speediness. Here is a graphic comparing the two different sized rinks from the LA Times:
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