Eastern Michigan University’s hockey team will play an outdoor game at 8:30 p.m. on Dec.8 at the University of Michigan football stadium.
The Eagles, who usually play at The Peak Summit Academy high school in Romulus, will play the University of Michigan Dearborn team at The Big House. The game is a part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Outdoor War event and will be the Wednesday before the Big Chill at The Big House, when U of M hockey plays Michigan State University on Dec. 11.
Coach Kevin Gee, in his first year with the team, was approached with the idea by Dave Debol, coach of the U of M Dearborn team, and he gladly accepted the offer.
“For us, it’s really big,” Gee said. “A club level in that environment outside, it’s really special and they will remember it for a long time.”
Adam Petsche, sophomore defensive player, said the team is anxious to play its first outdoor game and they are especially excited because it’s at The Big House.
“Everyone is juiced,” said Petsche, who doesn’t mean they are all taking steroids, but that everyone is “chomping at the bit to get out there.”
The ice will be put down in the U of M stadium on Dec. 6, the Monday before EMU’s game. In the couple of days leading up to the Eagles game, there will be high school and youth hockey games being played, as well.
Gee said there is a kind of rivalry between EMU and U of M Dearborn because they often are trying to recruit the same players.
“We compete for a lot of the same kids,” he said. “So many of the kids know each other and have played against each other in high school, it spices things up.”
Out of the 29 players on the roster this season, 20 of them are new to the program. Gee is trying to turn the EMU hockey program around. He said they are doing that by recruiting a lot, improving equipment and facilities with hopes of attracting better players to the team.
So far, they are off to a good start with a 4-3 overtime win in their season opener against the U of M club team. They were lead to victory by freshmen Gary Astalos who had a hat trick in his first game with the Eagles.
Petsche said his new coach is doing good things for the program and they have a good solid core of players to work with.
“I’m excited about the new year, everyone is coming together good,” he said. “I’m excited about coach Gee. He will turn the program around.”
The Eagles play the University of Oakland Friday at the Onyx Ice Arena in Rochester and return home Saturday to play them again at The Peak Summit Academy in Romulus. Both games start at 8 p.m.
Tickets to see EMU take on U of M Dearborn at The Big House will be available at the door. Tickets will be free for students who can provide a student I.D. Adult charge is $6 and $2 for senior citizens.
More information about EMU’s hockey team is available at www.easternmichiganhockey.com