Spartan Stadium Hockey Match Inspired Global Trend
Ice hockey played in football stadiums? Why not? It’s a trend that MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis started in 2001. The inaugural event drew 74,554 hockey fans to Spartan Stadium for a matchup with University of Michigan dubbed “The Cold War.”
By repurposing MSU’s football venue, Hollis sparked a movement among hockey teams and leagues all over the world. Today, several such outdoor spectacles are played each year in the NHL, NCAA, and in several foreign leagues in Russia, Germany and Switzerland.
Next month, MSU and UM will square off once again, but this time at Soldier Field in Chicago—home of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears.
The Feb. 7 game is part of the Coyote Logistics Hockey City Classic.
“It’s a special experience for the players given all those dynamics: a world-class city, a historic football stadium and matchup that happens to have become the longest-standing rivalry in all of college hockey,” said MSU’s Tom Anastos, head hockey coach.
It will be the fourth matchup of its kind for MSU and UM. Anastos said these types of events have multiple benefits for the program and the school.
“Our alumni base in the Chicagoland area is very significant and we thought this would be a good opportunity not only for our hockey program but for our entire athletics program. It gives us a chance to connect with our Chicago-area fans—while taking advantage of the visibility and potential recruiting possibilities,” Anastos said.
For the second consecutive year, the MSU Men’s Soccer team advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The No. 14 Spartans finished the season with 12-5-6 record, falling just a win shy of their seventh College Cup in school history.
Women’s Cross Country
The No. 1 MSU Women’s Cross Country team capped an undefeated season in the fall with the program’s first-ever National Championship. The Spartans finished with four individuals in the top 25 — the most by any school in the country.
The MSU Volleyball team once again made the NCAA Tournament, a feat they have achieved for the fourth consecutive year. The Spartans extended their winning streak to six matches with a first-round victory against Loyola-Marymount, but were knocked out in the second round against the No. 1 Spartan Cardinal.
Senior punter for the MSU Football team, Mike Sadler, was recently named an Academic All-American for the fourth time in his collegiate career, becoming the first-ever four-time Academic All-American in school history.