Posted by: Kath Usitalo | March 16, 2010

Hey, Hey, Hockeytown!

Fans are hoping the massive Spirit of Detroit sculpture will wear the championship jersey again this year

Detroit claims the title “Hockeytown” not only for its beloved Red Wings, who first took to the ice as the Cougars in 1926 and 11 times have brought home the NHL championship Stanley Cup, but because the team rewards their fans with exciting giveaways at select games throughout the season.

In December, for example, to recognize the 30th anniversary of Joe Louis Arena, the Wings’ home ice, all fans received a mousepad. That’s special. But considering how much everyone bashes “The Joe” and wants it replaced I guess it’s something that the anniversary was noted at all.

Kids Dental Awareness Night is March 26, and the first 3,000 youngsters under the age of 12 will receive a free dental kit. An ironic gift at a hockey game, the sport that counts lost teeth as a badge of honor. And how many kids are going to rush to that game to collect their roll of dental floss?

At the April 7 Fan Appreciation Night all fans* get a car flag (presumably a Red Wings flag) *while supplies last. What, they don’t know how many seats there are at The Joe, and order the number of flags accordingly?

College hockey action: My cousin Mike Usitalo played at Michigan Tech and is a UP Sports Hall of Famer (MTU photo)

Detroit loves its Winged Wheelers but turns out for college hockey action, too. This weekend the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Championship takes to the ice at Joe Louis Arena with Ferris State playing Northern Michigan Friday, March 19 at 4:30 p.m. followed by Miami versus University of Michigan at 8 p.m. The match for third place is Saturday the 20th at 3:30 p.m.; the championship game is at 7:30 p.m.

Check for Family Four Pack and regular priced tickets at The Joe; students can get discounted tickets at their colleges or the Joe Louis box office with ID.

The NCAA Frozen Four comes to Detroit’s Ford Field April 8-10; it’s the first time that the men’s college hockey championship will be played on a football field converted to an ice rink. Games are on Thursday and Saturday with festivities for fans at Ford Field on Friday, and at GM Renaissance Center throughout the weekend including Detroit’s FanFest activities.

Houghton is the birthplace of Pro Hockey

I had intended to explore the connection between Detroit’s passion for hockey and the fact that Michigan is the Birthplace of Organized Professional Ice Hockey (not clear on the home of disorganized, unprofessional hockey), and  trace the origins of the sport to the UP city of Houghton and the start of the International Hockey League in 1904. I wanted to tell you how we visited Dee Stadium, on the site of the original Amphidrome ice rink, and saw memorabilia in the History of Hockey Exhibit.

But I got distracted by the dental floss.

Fortunately, through the wonders of the World Wide Web you can go online to learn more about Copper Country Hockey History, and my cousin Mike Usitalo‘s contributions to the sport.

Next time I see him I’ll have to ask how many of his teeth are his own.

"Pssst....buddy, got a spare pair?" Mural at Dee Stadium, "The Dee," commemorates birthplace of scalping pro hockey tickets



  1. Go Wildcats!

    Happy, Happy St. Urho’s Day, Kathi! :}

  2. Yah, sure, you betcha! Tanks a lot, eh?!

  3. […] on the same day that the NCAA Frozen Four took to the ice at Detroit’s Ford Field, we had our own Frozen Four camp chairs in da UP, eh? […]

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