Big Ten hockey will result in more interest, higher ticket sales for Michigan, Dave Brandon says
MIDLAND -- Expect even bigger crowds in Yost Ice Arena once Big Ten Conference hockey begins in 2013, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said Tuesday.
Brandon, speaking at a Michigan Associated Press Sports Editors meeting, said facing traditional conference foes such as Penn State, Minnesota and Wisconsin will enhance offerings on the Big Ten Network, strengthen the league brand and ultimately create more excitement on the Michigan campus.
“I will sell more seats at Yost Arena knowing that we are going to tee it up against our big competitors in the Big Ten,” Brandon said. “We’ll still have a robust nonconference schedule but at the end of the day, student-athletes that come to Michigan come to win Big Ten championships.”
The Wolverines averaged an announced attendance of 6,673 at its 18 games last season at Yost Arena, which has a listed capacity of 6,637. The season-high attendance at the 88-year-old building was the 6,900 that watched a 2-1 win over Ohio State on Feb. 12.
The Big Ten announced in March that Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State will move from the CCHA and Minnesota and Wisconsin will leave the WCHA to form a Big Ten hockey conference with Penn State launching a program in 2012.
“Once Penn State had hockey, it changed everything,” Brandon said.
Big Ten hockey teams will play 20-game conference schedules and the winner of the league title will earn an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.