Cold War
"The Cold War" had the highest attendance of any hockey game in history
1 2 3 OT Total
Michigan 1 1 1 {{{visitor_OT}}} 3
Michigan State 1 0 2 {{{home_OT}}} 3
Date October 6, 2001
Arena Spartan Stadium
City East Lansing, MI
MVP {{{MVP}}}
Attendance 74,544

The Cold War was a college ice hockey game played between U.S. college rivals Michigan State University and the University of Michigan on Saturday, October 6, 2001. It set the world record for the largest crowd at an ice hockey game with 74,544,[1] a record that was broken on May 7, 2010 when the opening game of the IIHF World Championship between Germany and the USA drew 77,803 to Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.[2]

Longtime rivals with the U of M in hockey (and other sports), MSU decided not to play this contest at East Lansing's Munn Ice Arena, but instead set up an ice rink in the middle of the much larger Spartan Stadium, which they filled to 103.4% of capacity. This meant that 74,544[3] packed the Big Ten Conference American football stadium (the home of the Michigan State Spartans football team) to watch the MSU Spartans and the U-M Wolverines skate to a 3-3 tie.[4][5] Two 300-piece marching bands were present on field and the game was internationally televised. Country artist Shannon Brown sang during the second intermission.

Other outdoor hockey games[edit | edit source]

The Cold War set off a wave of outdoor ice hockey games in large stadiums. In November 2003, the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens dropped the puck on the Heritage Classic – the NHL's first regulation outdoor game. An NHL record crowd of 57,000 that braved -18 °C temperatures was also treated to Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier returning as Oiler alumni in the preceding Alumni Game.

On February 11, 2006, Ohio State and Wisconsin attracted 40,890 fans to the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic at Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. This was the second outdoor game involving US college teams, with more planned in the future.

Since 2008, the NHL has staged the Winter Classic annually on New Year's Day. As of 2010, none of these games have passed the Cold War in attendance.

The effects of this event were felt in Europe as well, where local Swiss rivals SC Bern and SC Langnau held their 100th meeting at Bern's Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf in front of 30,076 spectators on January 14, 2007. The game was sold out within 53 hours of tickets going on sale. These two teams regularly fill one of Europe's largest ice hockey arenas, the Bern Arena, with 16,000+ fans. The attendance was the largest in European club ice hockey history at the time, and broke a 40-year old mark set in Sweden. That country would reclaim the European cllub record on December 28, 2009, when Frölunda defeated Färjestads 4–1 in an Elitserien match held at the Ullevi in Gothenburg in front of 31,144.[6] Another European game to surpass the former record attendance in Bern was an Austrian League game between Klagenfurt rivals KAC and VSV on January 9, 2010, which drew 30,500 to Hypo-Arena for a 3–1 VSV win.[7]

Record surpassed[edit | edit source]

The opening game of the 2010 IIHF World Championship took place on May 7 at the retractable-roof Veltins-Arena, normally used by the soccer club FC Schalke 04. On this occasion, the stadium's configuration allowed for a capacity of 75,976, which would ultimately be exceeded by almost 2,000, breaking the all-time attendance record.

This new record is not expected to last for the remainder of 2010. On December 11, the two teams involved in the Cold War will meet again, this time with Michigan hosting the game at its football venue, Michigan Stadium. UM is billing the game as "The Big Chill at the Big House".[8] When UM halted ticket sales to the general public on May 6, 2010, over 100,000 tickets had been sold; remaining seats are being set aside for students. As of the 2010 football season, Michigan Stadium has an official capacity of 109,901.

Television[edit | edit source]

The game broadcast by FSN Detroit, which made it available nationally. The announcers were Matt Shepard, Billy Jaffe and Shireen Saski. John Keating hosted a pregame show.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Latham, Krista. "Game shatters records, players’ expectations". The State News. October 8, 2001.
  2. "Historic win for Germany", International Ice Hockey Federation, 2010-05-07. Retrieved on 2010-05-07. 
  3. Gumbrecht, Jamie. Big game brings out fans, winter clothes". The State News. October 7, 2001.
  4. Jahnke, James. "'The Cold War' ends in stalemate". The State News. October 7, 2001.
  5. McCollough, J. Brady. No winners in record-breaking game". The Michigan Daily. October 8, 2001.
  6. "Publikkaos när Europarekordet slogs",, 2009-12-28. Retrieved on 2009-12-23. (Swedish) 
  7. "Eishockey: Villach triumphiert im Freiluft-Derby", Die Presse, 2010-01-09. Retrieved on 2010-05-08. (German) 

Preceded by
1957 IIHF World Championship Gold Medal Game
Ice hockey game attendance record
Succeeded by
2010 World Championship Opening Game
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