The Big Chill At The Big House: Final Attendance Of 104,073 Is Announced

It took approximately a month, but Michigan and Guinness World Records looked at the available information and agreed on an attendance figure that satisfies all parties involved.

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Final Attendance Figure For The Big Chill At The Big House Is 104,073, According To Guinness

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.

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Broken Ticket Scanners May Be Cause Of Attendance Discrepancy; FSD To Air Replay During Holidays

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.

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Guinness Confirms World Record For The Big Chill At The Big House, But Tallies Much Lower Crowd Figure

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?

From AnnArbor.com:

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?

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World Record Hockey Crowd Of 113,411 Watches Michigan Beat Michigan State, 5-0

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.

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The Big Chill At The Big House: 113,411 In Attendance Sets Record For Largest Outdoor Hockey Crowd

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.

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The Big Chill At The Big House: Michigan Practices In Michigan Stadium (Video)

  • The Michigan hockey team took the Big House ice earlier this week to start preparing for The Big Chill on Saturday. Below is a video taking a look at the practice.

  • When the Michigan hockey team enters the stadium on Saturday, there will be a pre-game fireworks show in the south end zone. If Michigan scores, there will be fireworks shot from both end zones. Finally, after the game there will be a six-minute fireworks show set to music from the movie "The Big Chill." Those fireworks will be shot from the top of the east and west structures.
  • According to Dave Brandon's blog on MGoBlue.com, a stealth bomber will be part of a flyover before the game.
  • The current weather forecast for Saturday is a high of 34 degrees and a 20% chance of precipitation. The overnight low is 29 degrees with a 60 percent chance of precipitation. Luckily, the wind is only projected to be around six miles per hour, so the wind chill won't be too much lower than the actual temperature.
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The Big Chill At The Big House: Red Berenson Tests Ice; Other Notes

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.

  • From AnnArbor.com comes a video of Michigan head coach Red Berenson testing out the Big House ice:

  • AnnArbor.com also has a photo gallery of the ice being painted and of Berenson's test run on the ice.
  • MVictors has a picture of the Michigan Stadium setup from 2,000 feet in the air.
  • The first game in Michigan Stadium will take place between Adrian College and Concordia (Wisconsin) College Saturday morning. A full schedule of games can be found here.
  • Parking for The Big Chill will be similar to a Michigan football Saturday.
  • From 10:15 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. on the Sunday after The Big Chill (Dec. 12), there will be eight open skate sessions. Tickets to skate on the Big House ice are $15 per person and a portion of the proceeds will go to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. Click here for more information.
  • Click here for a live webcam of Michigan Stadium.
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Video: Preparation For The Big Chill At The Big House Begins

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.

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Michigan Unveils Jerseys For The Big Chill At The Big House

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:

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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.

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