St. Cloud suffered a pretty devastating injury in Saturday's tie against Wisconsin when senior captain Drew Leblanc suffered a broken leg after crashing into the boards. The initial reaction I heard from a number of people in attendance was that it looked like his leg had shattered. A career-ending injury would have been especially devastating considering Leblanc turned down some pro contract offers this past summer to return to St. Cloud for his senior season. Luckily, it was a clean break of two bones in his leg that resulted in no ligament or joint damage, meaning Leblanc could be back on the ice before the end of the season.
Five Northern Michigan hockey players were charged in a series of bike thefts around campus.
The early national signing period started yesterday with a number of players sending in their National Letters of Intent. It's largely a formality for fans, but certainly a big deal for the players that put their commitments in writing.
The strangest signing day story came from Andrew Dzurita of Penn State's 247 site, who, in tracking down Penn State's commits, reported that recruit Jonathan Milley tore his groin off his pubic bone in an early season injury. Gah. That's so horrifying I can't even make a tasteless Jerry Sandusky joke about that. (I don't know... something about how at Penn State, it's called the 'public bone'. Way too soon.)
And in case you were wondering, Terry Pegula is still giving all that money to Penn State's hockey program, probably because it's completely independent of all of Penn State's other problems.
I raised my eyebrow slightly when Michigan had to take to Groupon to move tickets for the Revenue Generating Opportunity against Bentley this year. The early season attendance woes at Michigan could be chalked up to a weird schedule against less-than-name-brand opponents. But last weekend's series against Western Michigan, a top ten ranked team, drew similar dismal numbers. Here's Yost's vaunted student section right before opening puck drop. Total attendance was listed at about 1300 below capacity for Friday night, and even that may have been generous.
It's not like the drop has anything to do with the product on the ice. The Wolverines have been as consistent as any program in the country for a long time now, and this year's team has started just as well. The general consensus is that Michigan has gone past the price point of most people on tickets, shrinking their audience. Of course, from Michigan's perspective, 5000 people paying $25 a ticket is better than 6500 paying $15 a ticket--and leaves an extra 1500 people sitting at home to buy shitty pizza incomprehensibly labeled 'artisan'--but which is better for the game of college hockey?
Sadly, this appears to not just be a Michigan problem either. When Wisconsin's game against Nebraska-Omaha aired on FSN the week the Gophers were up in Alaska, it looked as though they were still broadcasting from Sullivan Arena with all the empty seats. Announced attendance for that game was only 2/3s capacity, and a lot of those people must have been sitting off camera in the upper decks.
Michigan and Wisconsin are known for being the two best atmospheres in all of college hockey. It's sad to see something unique like that be eroded away, but like the lesson we learned this past summer with conference realignment, if you can't put a dollar value on something, that means it's worthless.