The Wolverine

November 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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������ michigan hockey Suspended Defenseman Jon Merrill Is Still Committed To U-M Hockey W hen Michigan considered its potential strengths this season, it began with the defense. Fifth-year senior Shawn Hunwick was back in net while the Wolverines returned five experienced blue liners, among them sophomore Jon Merrill. The Brighton, Mich., native had tallied seven goals and 18 assists in his rookie year, earning CCHA AllRookie Team honors and All-CCHA second-team distinction. On Sept. 27, he was named to the preseason all-conference team. However, four days later, Merrill was suspended 12 games for a violation of team rules. Head coach Red Berenson would not elaborate on the violation, only that he was hopeful Merrill would learn from his mistakes and rejoin the team. The 6-3, 206-pound lefty was expected to return to practice two weeks after the suspension began, but he was not granted permission from Michigan and Berenson Oct.��17���21 or Oct. 24-28. Though there has been scuttlebutt that Merrill will eventually tire of waiting around, and will sign a contract with the OHL���s Plymouth Whalers to begin his pro career, the sophomore has yet to do so, and has told teammates and his coaches he will stick it out at Michigan. Merrill���s 12-game suspension ends Nov. 12 and he should be eligible to play when Michigan hosts Ohio State Nov.��18. ���He���s going to school every day and doing what he���s supposed to do,��� Berenson said. ���It���s still up to Jon what he wants to do. As far as I know, he���s made his decision to stay here and work through this.��� Senior defender Greg Pateryn has spoken to Merrill almost every day since the suspension was handed down and vows the Maize and Blue will welcome back their teammate when he���s ready to return. ���He���s a part of this family,��� Pa102��� the wolverine��� ������ November 2011 Merrill tallied seven goals and 18 assists in his rookie year, earning CCHA All-Rookie Team honors and All-CCHA second-team distinction. photo by per kjeldsen teryn said. ���It���ll be like he never left.��� A New Jersey Devils second-round draft pick in 2010, Merrill surprised some hockey insiders when he made the decision to return for his sophomore year, and he���s floored a number of pundits who expected him to leave school when he was suspended. But he���s expressed to teammates he���s not going anywhere, for a while. ���That���s something he���s told us the last few weeks ��� that he wants to stay in school and wants to get through this, and he wants to be back on the ice and be a part of the team for years to come,��� Hunwick said. Attendance Numbers Down At Yost Ice Arena Yost Ice Arena has long been ranked among the best and most intimidating venues in college hockey, but this year the old barn has not created quite the din the Wolverines are used to. Michigan���s per-game attendance is down 17.2 percent from the same point last year. U-M has welcomed only 30,516 fans to Yost this season or an average of 5,086 per game through six October contests. In four October games in 2010-11, the Maize and Blue averaged 6,145 patrons. There have been mitigating circumstances, though. Michigan has played three weekday games, with an average attendance of 4,837 fans those nights. The Wolverines have also gone up against strong competition ��� the football team���s night game at Northwestern Oct.�� 8 and Detroit Tigers playoff games Oct.��4 and Oct.��8. ���The loudest Yost has been this year is when they announced a Tigers score,��� junior defenseman Lee Moffie joked. ���The way the schedule has worked out, we���ve just gone up against some other events going on locally, and it���s tough to compete with the playoffs.��� Only three times in the previous seven seasons has Michigan played a weekday contest among its October slate, and never more than one. The schedule also hasn���t featured a big-name opponent yet, but that will change with four CCHA contests in November against Western Michigan Nov.��4-5 and Ohio State Nov. 18-19. October Attendance 2005-12 Pct. Year GamesTotal Avg. apacity C 2011-12 6 30,516 5,086 76.6 2010-11 4 24,581 6,145 92.6 2009-10 1 6,295 6,295 94.8 2008-09 4 24,784 6,196 93.4 2007-08 2 13,066 6,533 98.4 2006-07 6 34,913 5,819 87.7 2005-06 5 33,617 6,723 101.3 2004-05 3 20,389 6,796 102.4 * Capacity at Yost Ice Arena is 6,637

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