After relishing the Huskies opening weekend sweep of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, the Old Dog and Mrs. Dog are about to finish a month-long odyssey through Michigan to watch the Huskies. We’ll end up in Texas at the end of it all and will have put about 2,750 miles on Mrs. Dog’s hamster-mobile, her Kia Soul.
It started back on September 21st, when we drove to Saginaw Valley State to see the Huskies play football against the Cardinals. While we were at the pre-game tailgate, the Old Dog ran into Darcy Way, MTU’s Senior Advancement Officer since 2015, former Tech goalie from 1978 to 1982 and assistant coach from 1994-2000. As often happens, we were talking about hockey (even at a football game), and I mentioned that we wanted to go to Phoenix after New Year’s Day to watch Them Dogs take on Arizona State.
So, I asked him how we can get tickets, because they weren’t on sale yet through Tech’s ticket office. Mrs. Dog had called and tried to buy two for each night of the series, but there wasn’t any information available about tickets.
Darcy told me that the Sun Devils’ current on-campus rink, where the games are scheduled, only seats 750 (something that has contributed to ASU’s continued independent status). He added that ASU has allotted Tech a measly 50 tickets for each night. “They should give us 700 and keep 50,” said Way in his normal deadpan delivery. I knew Arizona State’s rink was small, but I didn’t realize it was that small.
But Way added that tickets would go on sale Monday, and that I should call then and see what might be available. So, bright and early, The Old Dog dutifully looked up the ticket office phone number on Tech’s website. However, I was routed instead to the alumni office, and a couple of phone calls later, I connected with Kay Larson, Assistant Director in the alumni office. Kay helps Mrs. Dog and me every year with the DFW Alumni football game watch party we hold in the Dallas area each year, so we’ve gotten to know each other over the past decade.
Kay gave me another phone number, and, voila, $132 later, Mrs. Dog and I were on the list for two reserved seats each night. I also found out that ASU has some standing room only tickets for a much lower price, so don’t despair totally if you were thinking about a weekend of winter relief to watch the Huskies in Tempe. Of course, there was still a catch—ASU hadn’t sent any tickets up to Houghton yet, so they couldn’t tell me where the seats might be, or even if we would be sitting together.
Not quite two weeks later, the tickets arrived in the mail, and Shazam! We had seats together for both games.
That led up to our trip last week, as we traveled to Ann Arbor to attend Homecoming at the University of Michigan. Yes, The Old Dog is also a Wolverine alumni from the Ross School of Business (it says so in my bio below every column), so hold the hate mail—the Huskies are #1 on my list.
But it is a great time. The B-School throws an exceptional tailgate with an open bar in the three-story atrium of the $500 million building constructed with money from Stephen M. Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and a U-M B-School alum. (Hence the B-School name.) It’s a fabulous building—but of course the tailgate itself is part of the unending, continuous effort U-M makes to separate alumni from their money.
While we were there, the Old Dog was incredibly lucky and caught one of the three special souvenir footballs that the Dean, Scott DeRue, tossed into the crowd. Actually, it really was lucky, because DeRue threw a pretty good spiral right at me, and I thought it would be an easy pick. But, a woman close by jumped at the toss at the last second and tipped it. It smacked me right in the mouth. I managed to hang on and made a nice catch, and it only cost me a bit of a fat lip.
After sopping up our share of wine, mimosas, Bloody Marys, and Michigan craft beer (they had Two-Hearted Ale—the Old Dog’s favorite), we headed to the Big House and sat, squeezed into bleacher seats smaller than any airline torture chamber, through an anxiety filled four quarters as Michigan topped Iowa in an offense-is-optional 10-3 game.
There was a Husky moment, though. At one point, a promo for Michigan Hockey was shown on the stadium Jumbotron. Mrs. Dog yelled, “Bite me, Mel.” It seemed appropriate.
After the game, we were able to visit with our daughter, (Maize and) Blue Dog.
You see, Blue Dog is the Black Dog in the family. The Old Dog went to Tech. Mrs. Dog went to Tech. Our son, Red Dog, also went to Tech. But Blue Dog, she’s smarter than all of us (and she is), she had to go to Michigan… In fact, she turned down a full academic scholarship in Houghton to accept a work-study grant in Ann Arbor. And she’s an engineer, so go figure.
Blue Dog performed with the Michigan Alumni band before the game, at half-time, and in the post-game show, too. Having band alums march with the regular band at Homecoming is a Michigan tradition, and Michigan is nothing if not traditional. We couldn’t stay long, though, as it takes forever to exit the Big House, get to wherever you are parked, and then get out of town.
And Mrs. Dog and I had a deadline. We had to be back into our hotel (about 30 miles away) by 6:30 to listen to Dirk Hembroff and then log in to FloHockey to watch the Huskies take on Robert Morris. Of course, that was another 3 anxiety inducing hours of defensive hockey, but things worked out in overtime as Alec Broetzman blew one past the RMU goalie for a short-handed goal in overtime.
Next morning, we were up bright and early, and headed Up North to the Summer Dog House, about three hours away. We then tuned in again (do you tune in to a video stream?) on Sunday afternoon and watched Them Dogs destroy RMU in the second game—and Broetzman again was a huge factor with a natural hat trick in the first period.
This week, we are packing for Texas and prepping the Summer Dog House for hibernation. But we’re taking a small (475 miles or so) detour…we are leaving for the Keweenaw Friday morning to watch the Huskies weekend series against the Alaska Nanooks. It’s the first time Mrs. Dog and I will be able to see a game live at the JMac since Winter Carnival 2002.
Planning for this trip was also a bit weird. Mrs. Dog lined up the tickets in early September as soon as they went on sale. But she ran into trouble when she tried to book a hotel for the weekend—and she started looking in early June–as soon as the schedule was released! There was nothing, not a single room in Houghton or Hancock available, so we ended up with a reservation for the AmericInn in Calumet.
Later, on an email showed up offering us a room from a cancellation at the Holiday Inn in Houghton. The price was $330 per night. When Mrs. Dog told Number One Son Red Dog about this, Red Dog (who spent considerably more than the normal allotment of four years in Houghton) said, “Sh**, that’s a full monthly house payment in Houghton. For each night!”
So, we will have to commute from Red Jacket. No matter, we are looking forward to seeing everyone who follows The Old Dog either Friday or Saturday. And Mrs. Dog is particularly excited. When we were at the semi-elitist B-School tailgate, Mrs. Dog opined “Hey, I’m much more interested in being able to have a drink at the JMac next week. That’s so cool.” Take that, Yost Arena.
Sunday, we’ll leave Calumet, stop in the Chicago area to have dinner with Red Dog, and the next day we’ll head for Dallas. Two days later, we’ll be back at The (Main) Dog House in Addison just outside of Dallas. And we won’t be back on the sled trail until we fly to Arizona to start 2020.
So, anyone who’ll be at the JMac for either of the Alaska games should look for The Old Dog and Mrs. Dog. We’ll certainly be in LampLighters in the West Concourse between most periods. And we are sitting in Section D behind the visitors bench (Row 15 on Friday and Row 17 on Saturday). We’ll also be hanging out somewhere in Houghton after the games, too. We’re always excited to meet Tech fans and talk about Them Dogs.