Showcasing the Showcase

Is the College Hockey Showcase positioned on a bad weekend? Michigan State coach Rick Comley thinks so.

Comley would like to see the games between Big Ten teams Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin moved away from the Thanksgiving weekend, when attendance is off.

“I think they’re prime games and they should be played at prime times,” Comley said at his news conference Monday.

You can understand his concern. The Spartans aren’t selling out Munn Arena regularly, and games against prominent opponents like Wisconsin and Minnesota could be marketable if they didn’t go up against Thanksgiving weekend.

I’ve been to Munn and its Michigan counterpart, Yost Arena, only for the Showcase, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t experienced the true flavor of either because of the timing. Students are gone for the holiday. Hunting, shopping, etc., take away others.

It’s the same at the WCHA rinks, which will host games this weekend. Personal experience tells me that a little bit of the Kohl Center edge is gone on Thanksgiving weekend.

Badgers coach Mike Eaves said that he thinks having the games on Big Ten Network provides the necessarily exposure. The network is scheduled to show both Minnesota games live and Friday’s Wisconsin-Michigan State game live on its Web site.

“I just enjoy the competition,” Eaves said. “The exposure part of it, when I hear exposure, I think about TV and those kind of things. If it’s on TV over Thanksgiving, I think people would watch it.”

Maybe. But there may be weekends that provide even more exposure. That’s Comley’s point, and it’s a valid one.


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