Sports

It was recently announced that the National Hockey League (NHL) will not be sending its players to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The last time NHL players weren't included in the Olympic hockey tournament was in 1998. After nearly two decades, that is expected to come to a close next year when the Winter Games are hosted in Seoul, South Korea.

Big outdoor stadiums hosting hockey is a trend that’s been on the rise over the past decade. The 2014 NHL Winter Classic, held in Michigan Stadium, drew more than 100,000 fans to watch the Red Wings play the Toronto Maple Leafs, the largest crowd ever to watch a professional hockey game.

But the Wings' very first outdoor game wasn’t at a stadium or even in a big city. It took place in 1954, at the self-proclaimed “Alcatraz of the North.” The opponent: the Marquette Prison Pirates.

It is the end of multiple eras for sports fans in Michigan and specifically metro Detroit. Last night, the Detroit Red Wings played their final game at Joe Louis Arena, a place they have called home since 1979.

Tonight, the Detroit Pistons will play their last home game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, an arena where they've played since 1988.

The U.S. Women’s Hockey team will play in the IIHF World Championship after all. The team ended their threat of boycotting the tournament after agreeing to a four-year deal with USA Hockey.

One of the players happy to be back on the ice is Farmington Hills native Megan Keller. The defender who plays college hockey for Boston College joined Stateside to talk about what the women's national team was hoping to gain from the new deal.

It's been called "Brawl in Hockeytown." Some call it "Fight Night at the Joe."

On March 26, 1997, Darren McCarty of the Detroit Red Wings punched, then kept on punching, Claude Lemieux of the Colorado Avalanche.

The reason for that fight happened 301 days earlier in Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference Finals when Lemieux hit Wings center Kris Draper from behind, sending Draper face-first into the bench and smashing his face (see video below). He suffered a broken orbital bone, a broken cheekbone, a broken nose, a broken jaw and a concussion. 

The Michigan State Board of Education is trying to pressure schools to drop team mascots and nicknames that are offensive to Native American tribes.

The board is asking the Legislature to adopt budget sanctions on schools that won’t scrap offensive Native American mascots.

“We want to make sure that students are able to go to school and to learn and be in environments that are conducive to learning, and so that is why it’s quite important,” said Pam Pugh, a Democratic board member.

For the first time since 1990, the Detroit Red Wings might not go to the NHL playoffs.

John U. Bacon spoke to Stateside about the Red Wings' playoff chances and his predictions for Michigan’s college basketball teams going into March Madness.

Photo courtesy of Gary D. Smith at Picture This.

The varsity girls basketball coach at Traverse City West High School has died, school officials confirmed on Wednesday. 

Mike Wilde coached a variety of sports in Traverse City Area Public Schools for more than 30 years, including basketball, baseball and football.

The city of Detroit lost one of its business icons when Mike Ilitch passed away. Many people know him for being the founder of Little Caesars Pizza, but most know him as the owner of the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.

Michigan Sports Hall of Famer Ray Lane began covering sports in Detroit starting in 1961 and was there when Ilitch bought the Red Wings in 1982 (for $8 million!), and later the Tigers in 1992. Lane joined Stateside to look back at the sports side of Ilitch's legacy.

We're midway through February, which for college basketball fans means March Madness is just around the corner. Many fans around the state are likely saving those sick days to watch the opening round of the men's NCAA tournament, but fans in the Great Lakes State aren't guaranteed to have a home team to root for this year. 

Mike Ilitch certainly left his mark on downtown Detroit, beginning with the major renovation of the Fox Theatre in 1988 and continuing to this day with the ongoing construction of Little Caesars Arena for the Red Wings and the Pistons.

There are those who found a lot to criticize in the way the Ilitch family acquired downtown property, maintained that property, and financed its arenas.

Michigan Radio's senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry joined Stateside to talk about Ilitch's legacy when it comes to the business side of his life and what he did for the city of Detroit.

Crystal Mountain Resort

A 10-year-old skier from Chicago died Monday after a crash at Crystal Mountain Resort. Resort spokesman Brian Lawson says the girl was part of a group taking a ski lesson on an intermediate trail.

“The skier skied slightly ahead of the class, apparently lost control briefly and then struck a tree,” says Lawson.

The girl was considered a "level four" intermediate skier and she was wearing a helmet. Lawson says snow conditions were good Sunday, but the girl may have hit an icy patch.

It was a stunning weekend at the top of the College Football Playoff Rankings as the teams ranked second, third and fourth (the top four qualify for the playoff) were all upset.

One of those teams was the University of Michigan who fell to Iowa on the road by the score of 14-13. The last time the teams ranked second, third and fourth all lost on the same day was in 1985.

The Next Idea

The thrill of riding a two-wheeled bicycle, clutching the game-winning ball, or making a show-stopping save in soccer are examples of rites of passage that every child should have the opportunity to experience. Unfortunately, many children with disabilities never develop the physical skills or confidence to participate in extracurricular programming like this. Adapted physical education physical education modified to teach fundamental motor skills – is hard to find in Southeast Michigan. And this kind of adapted learning can be a gateway to sports, games, and other physical activity that promotes emotional and physical well-being.

It was a big weekend for football around the Great Lakes State. The University of Michigan stole most of the headlines with an historic 78-0 road win over Rutgers. It was a dominant win in just about every phase of the game as the Wolverines "took the paddle" (as John U. Bacon likes to say) to the Scarlet Knights.

After a one-sided loss, there are always fans and sportswriters who like to criticize the head coach for running up the score. However, John U. Bacon said in his weekly segment on Stateside, it wasn't Jim Harbaugh being a bad sport.

It was a big weekend for Michigan sports headlined by the Detroit Lions' dramatic 39-35 season opening win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The post-Calvin Johnson era began with Lions kicker Matt Prater redeeming himself for an earlier missed extra point by hitting the game-winning field goal with four seconds left. 

It's that time of year again as college football kicks off this week.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to talk about the five Division I teams that will begin the 2016 season. 

 


NBC has drawn plenty of criticism for its coverage of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Count veteran sports journalist Joanne Gerstner among the critics.

“It honestly drives me crazy,” Gerstner said about NBC’s Rio Olympics coverage.

“I literally have not run into anyone who said, ‘Wow, I love NBC’s coverage primetime,’” Gerstner said. “Everyone is like, ‘what is this?’”

The Bliss Polo Club plays in front of a large crowd on a recent Sunday afternoon.
Daniel Wanschura

Northern Michigan’s lakeshore climate is perfect for growing cherries, apples and other fruits. But Mason Lampton says it’s also perfect for his favorite pastime: playing polo. The Georgia resident realized the cooler summer temperatures were much more suitable for polo than the 100 degree heat down south.

One year, as he was summering in Harbor Springs with his family, he saw an old potato field in nearby Bliss Township. He bought the field but instead of planting potatoes, decided to play polo. It took over a year to get the field graded, irrigated and in playing condition.

Now, the Bliss Polo Club is enjoying their sixth year of polo and are in the middle of their final tournament of the year this weekend.


 

The wait is over — Nike’s line of University of Michigan apparel is finally available. Crowds lined up outside the MDen on State St. in Ann Arbor to wait for the new gear to be released at 12:01 am Monday. Football coach Jim Harbaugh and Athletic Director Ward Manuel both appeared at the retail store.

But not everyone understands the hype that came with the switch from Adidas to Nike, like Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon. He said, “I must not be their target audience because I don’t get it.”

Verbal and physical assaults on referees have become an issue so serious that Michigan may be joining 20 other states in specific legislation that protects sports officials.

Mark Uyl is the assistant director for the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). He believes some of the greatest concerns for referee safety comes from recreational and youth-level programs, where volunteer coaches lack accountability.

The Detroit Tigers have the fourth-highest payroll in major league baseball, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Despite this, the Tigers have lost 11 out of their last 13 games.

 

It’s playoff time for a pair of Michigan sports teams as the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons have kicked off their respective post seasons.

The Wings emerged from the weekend trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning two games to one, with the all-important Game 4 at the Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.

The Pistons are in what many are calling a “David vs. Goliath” matchup with the top-seeded Cavaliers, and dropped the first game of the series 106-101 in Cleveland.

Both teams have challenges in front of them. But can they advance?

Last week, the NCAA finally ruled on Jim Harbaugh's satellite football camps for the University of Michigan.

They said that teams are no longer allowed to hold camps outside of their own facilities.

If you’re a fan of college basketball, there’s nothing better than March Madness, the massive 68-team single-elimination tournament that determines the national champion. It begins on Wednesday and captivates the sports world for the next three weeks. And thanks to millions of dollars being poured into office pools each year, it captivates a lot more than just sports fans who are filling out their brackets in an attempt to predict the winners.

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