Great Lakes Invitational
The venerable Joe Louis Arena has only one year left, before it’s replacement is ready to drop the puck. Completed in 1979, Joe Louis Arena, the home of the Detroit Red Wings, is the third oldest venue in the NHL, behind Madison Square Garden and Rexall Place. JLA, along with MSG are the only two NHL arenas without a corporate sponsor name.
I had never seen a hockey game at Joe Louis; my chance to see the Frozen Four there in 2010 was scuttled by the NCAA when they held the tournament at the football stadium – Ford Field.
Since I’m basically in the area right now anyway, I figured the Great Lakes Invitational was a great way to see some hockey at The Joe.
The NCAA screwed up back in 2010. The Joe is an old rink, to be sure, but it’s still a great home for hockey, and the history throughout the building is staggering. Everywhere one looks, is a piece of the Red Wing’s storied history.
The Great Lakes Invitational also has some great history. The tourney started in 1965 with Michigan Tech as the host school, since then the GLI has grown into one of the premier tournaments in Division 1 hockey. Michigan was added as a co-host in 1976.
Due to the weather, I didn’t get to Detroit in time to see the games on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Michigan State was to take on Northern Michigan in the third place game. The Spartans scored early in the first period, and took that 1-0 lead late into the third, when NMU tied it up and sent the game into OT. Robbie Payne scored in the extra period to give Northern the win.
In the title game, Tech came out flying and took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. The Wolverines woke up in the second period, scoring 3 goals, as their offense took over the game. MTU went skate to skate with Michigan in the third, with both teams having several scoring chances. Michigan iced the game with an empty net goal with less than a minute to play, to give Michigan it’s third consecutive GLI title.
A fun tourney and I really had a blast in Detroit.
To the NCAA:
I paid $25 for a two day pass to attend four games at the GLI. The attendance for Tuesday was just short of 16,000, and on Wednesday it was 16,571. When the B1G Championship game was at The Joe last March, attendance was dreadful, just like it is for almost every single Regional. Take a page out of the 51 year old Great Lakes Invitational, and stop gouging people on tickets. There were a ton of families taking in the GLI, because they could afford to go, you knuckleheads.
To hockey fans everywhere:
When the puck is in play, don’t get up for the tenth time in the period for ice cream. Please wait until the whistle. I realize that stadium etiquette is a dying art form, but the GLI title game takes the top spot for the worst I have experienced.