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Posted on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

Latest investment is part of Michigan's plan to maintain Yost Ice Arena, not replace it

By Pete Cunningham

Looking out his office door at Yost Ice Arena, longtime Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson marveled at the sight of the new scoreboard sitting on what normally is center ice.

With suspension cables and workers in hard hats scattered about the iceless surface, Berenson wondered if the enormous new scoreboard would cause Yost to collapse once raised to the ceiling.

Berenson was joking. But with the Board of Regents approving a new $14 million renovation project -- the arena’s fifth, and most expensive facelift since 1996 -- it begs the question of what the long-term plan is for one of college hockey's the most iconic, and oldest, arenas.


Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson marveled at the enormity of Michigan's soon-to-be-hung scoreboard, which includes nine high definition LED screens.

Angela J. Cesere |

Berenson speculated that “there will come a day” when the arena, built in 1923, will have to be replaced. Athletic director Dave Brandon said that day is not on his timeline.

“We don’t plan a replacement,” Brandon wrote in an email. “We believe this investment will take care of the immediate needs of the facility.”

Berenson has been the coach of the Wolverines for 27 seasons and, in that time, has seen many colleges build new arenas, noting that “some of them have been really successful and some of them have been more of a basketball building.”

Yost has been the home of the Wolverines for Berenson’s entire tenure and is famous for not being new or state of the art.

Berenson likened Yost and its old barn feel to a classic car.

“Like keeping an old car, you gotta put new tires on it, you gotta paint it… like an old car, we’re going to spruce (Yost) up,” Berenson said.

“I think Michigan has been really happy with our building and our program for the most part and they’d like to maintain that at this point,” Berenson added. “I think they like Yost so much that they don’t see a reason to build another building. And so, if we like Yost that much, well then why don’t we fix it up?”

The latest “spruce up” -- scheduled to begin at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season -- will include new loge boxes, improved lighting and an increased number of concession stands. It will bring the total amount spent on the arena to $22.9 million since 1996, plus the new scoreboard, which is part of a $20 million project project to add large, high-definition video displays to the football, hockey and basketball stadiums.

Brandon said he expects this investment to be the last major undertaking for awhile.

“Yost is an old building, and we will likely schedule other maintenance projects into the future,” Brandon said. “But this phase will take care of most of the ‘noticeable’ changes.”

“It’s still going to look like an old car,” Berenson said. “It’s going to have a lot of the attractions that it always had, but it’s going to be nicer.”

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at or by phone at 734-623-2561. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

Yost is like Fenway Park. Make it feel new without being new.


Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

At least Michigan Hockey is getting something, after the Football and Basketball projects, Hockey seems to have been forgotten.


Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

Yes, Yost is classic, but using the old car analogy -- the seats are like an old model T, and knee room is like a Yugo. I won't go there again, as it's too uncomfortable. NMU has a beautiful arena with nice seating. People forget that Yost used to host basketball, and the hockey games were held in the crappy old Coliseum. With all the money spent on the basketball renovations (which has yet to be the type of winning program UM hockey is) -- it's probably more about attracting recruits. Hockey players come to UM because of Berenson and the winning ways of the team, despite the throwback character of Yost. A new hockey arena would have better sight lines, nicer seating, and could be made to accommodate more fans. If they can fill Michigan Stadium for a freeze-your-butt game, a new hockey arena that can hold 10,000 fans would be pretty nice.


Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

I've been to NMU's arena many times. Just because they have seats doesn't mean they have a lot of leg room. Sorry if Yost doesn't have nice, plush seats so you can sit on your bottom all game. If you want seats, pay a premium and sit upstairs. This is Yost. I want my bleachers. Second, a bigger hockey arena does NOT equal a BETTER hockey arena. Will a bigger arena have the same atmosphere or will it allow 3,000 more fans who only cheer when there's a goal, thus lessening the effects of the other fans (mostly students) who are cheering? Will games against lesser schools only bring in 8,000 fans, thus leaving 2,000 quiet, empty seats? Yost is an icon of college hockey. You don't just replace it for no good reason.


Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 8:42 p.m.

People come to michigan to play hockey because Yost is iconic. There is no atmosphere like it in all of college hockey.


Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

Removing the plywood from the windows and allowing some natural light in would do wonders for the look of the place from both inside and outside.