Jan. 14, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The operations team from the University of Michigan Athletic Department associated with hosting the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year's Day was named the BASF Team of the Month, it was announced today (Jan. 14). The operations team, made of members from the facilities, event management, broadcasting and marketing groups, will be honored at tonight's men's basketball game against Penn State.
BASF, the world's leading chemical company, is the creator of the Team Chemistry MVP Award. BASF, which has major facilities located in Wyandotte and Southfield, Mich., will recognize one group in the athletic department from across all sports at least once a month that represents the best qualities of team chemistry and its importance both on and off the field.
The historic event and its success were due in part to the countless hours that men and women from the athletic teams worked during the month of December and on Jan. 1.
The facility and operations team was faced with many challenges because of the weather conditions. In December, 14-hour days were not uncommon. As if it wasn't hard enough to change a football stadium into a hockey rink, Mother Nature got into the act. A late December snowfall required the maintenance team and countless other members of the U-M community to work five straight 16-hour days prior to Christmas, removing snow from Michigan Stadium. More than 140 yards of snow from the upper bowl and the ring around the stadium was removed and transported to the area behind the Varsity Tennis Center. It took seven days to melt the snow in the lower bowl (row 60 and below) using jet engines to blow heat under huge tarps.
On New Year's Day, many of the U-M Athletics Team arrived at 4 a.m. to prepare for the biggest event in NHL history. Mother Nature had a surprise with game-time temperatures at 13 degrees and snow falling at a rate of six inches prior to and throughout the game. The athletic teams did their best to keep the parking lots, stadium steps and seats and the pedestrian pathways clear of ice and snow. Many of the team salted the aisles of Michigan Stadium, doing so with 20 pounds of equipment strapped to their bodies as they walked the 90 rows of seats. Afterward, this group of men and women worked to do their best to improve fan egress as the weather worsened.
From the first day the Winter Classic was awarded to Michigan in 2012, and continuing through the second week of January with clean-up duties, the U-M team worked hand in hand with the NHL to ensure this event was a major success.
Brandon's Blog: The Unseen Heroes of the Winter Classic (1/3/2014)
Media Contact: David Ablauf (734) 763-4423