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man with cricket bat
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A public cricket field opened in Detroit on Saturday for the first time since the 1970s.

Cricket player Saiyed Ahmed is one of the people who helped make the new pitch a reality. To keep up with cricket’s rising popularity in Detroit, he pushed for the city to build a professional, public field.

AAU Junior Olympics

Thousands of young athletes will spend the next week running, jumping and tumbling in Southeast Michigan.

The region is hosting the 51st annual AAU Junior Olympics. Events are taking place in various locations.

Paul Campbell is the games national chairman. He says the Junior Olympics is a stepping stone to a college scholarship for many athletes.

“Not all of them, but a good percentage of them will go on to college and get that college scholarship,” says Campbell.

Matt Radick / FLICKR HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Problems keep piling up for Michigan State University.

The sports doctor Larry Nassar, sitting in jail on federal and state criminal sexual assault charges, accused of assaulting the gymnasts who turned to him for care. The woman's gymnastics coach who retired after it became known she vigorously supported Nassar, even in the face of athletes' complaints.

And, two separate allegations of sexual assault against Spartan football players since January.

A street sign that says, "Caution, Flying Discs."
Don Jensen

The game of disc golf is on the rise in Michigan. The relatively young sport, which began in California, follows the rules of traditional golf, but there's a twist. Instead of striving to smack dimpled balls into 4-inch holes, players hurl hard, flat discs into baskets.

Courses can be found all throughout the state, from metroparks in the southeast, all the way up to Copper Harbor in the U.P. Disc golf is especially popular in West Michigan, which has been dubbed the “Golf Coast” by Don Jensen.

female softball player getting ready to pitch
Library of Congress / Public Domain

Softball teams from the Big Ten, including Michigan State and the University of Michigan, open their conference tournament in Ann Arbor today.

Next month, thousands of fans will attend the NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. In 2020, softball will return to the Olympics after a 12-year-hiatus.

It’s a far cry from softball’s early days when top female and male players often had to move to find a company-sponsored team with a travel budget so they could play in a big tournament.

Michigan's All-American tight end Jake Butt was projected to be a first round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, but a torn ACL in the Orange Bowl made him a fifth round pick. Luckily, he had some insurance.
Maize & Blue Nation / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia wrapped up this past weekend and there were a number of storylines involving players with Michigan connections.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Pearson

This week, the University of Michigan did something it hasn’t had to do in 33 years: hire a new hockey coach.

The last time the job opened was 1984. Athletic director Don Canham heard Red Berenson was on campus moving his oldest son, Gordie, into his dorm room. Canham called Berenson to his office, offered him the job for the third time, and Berenson finally took it.

If he hadn’t, it’s not clear who Canham could have hired. After all, the guy Michigan just fired was a failed former high school hockey coach. Michigan was at the bottom of a glorified bus league, with an empty building, and nothing to brag about.

Some NHL players, like Alex Ovechkin, have said they plan to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, despite the league announcing it won't send its players to compete.
Jennifer Griggs / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.

 Red Berenson, coaches the University of Michigan's hockey team.
MGoBlog / Flickr

Gordon “Red” Berenson"  loved the game from the start. When he was a six-year old kid in Regina, Sasketchewan, for Christmas his parent gave him new skates, gloves, and shin pads.

He was so excited, he called his best friend on the party line – at 6 a.m. When his friend’s mom answered, she said, “Do you know it’s 6 a.m.?”

Berenson replied, “Yes -- but this is important!”

He played most of his games outside, where the prairie winds make it feel like you’re skating uphill. By 18 he was so good, the Montreal Canadiens wanted him to turn pro. When he decided to go to the University of Michigan instead, the Canadiens' general manager warned him, “If you go to an American college, you’ll never become a pro.”

Berenson went anyway.

Ninety seconds into his first game at Michigan, he skated end to end and scored his first goal. He scored 78 more, including 43 his senior year, still a Michigan record. He was the best player in the country.

Many schools in Michigan have grappled with whether they should dump Native American mascots and nicknames.

Plenty of things can stand in the way: history, tradition, emotion. But one Michigan tribe wants to make sure money isn’t the barrier to change.

Belding has been the Redskins since the 1940s. The entry of the school and the field boast giant stones engraved with Belding Redskins and an image of a Native American chief in a headdress.

Michigan History Center

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.

MGoBlue screen shot

The man who led the University of Michigan's hockey program for 33 years is retiring.

77-year-old Red Berenson says he was getting questions on the recruiting trail about how long he'd remain head coach – and it seemed the right time to "get out of the way."

He says he'll play a distant role as an advisor when it comes time to choose his replacement.

Joe Louis Arena during its final season
Cynthia Canty / Michigan Radio

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.

Flickr user Bruce Tang / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s the cherry on top of the March Madness sundae.

When either Gonzaga or North Carolina emerges victorious tonight, "One Shining Moment" will play to close March Madness.

Jim Brandstatter

Dr. William B. Stegath, Michigan Radio’s longest living alumnus, passed away Wednesday, just two weeks before his 97th birthday.

Bill was best known as the Voice of the Wolverines, and announced Michigan football games on WUOM from 1953 to 1962, a role only held by two other people.

In that time, Bill was the sports director at WUOM, and announced games for Michigan basketball, baseball, and hockey in addition to football games in the fall - quite literally a “U-M Man for All Seasons.”

John Auchter / Auchtoon.com

Artist's POV: As I'm sure Red Wings fans are keenly aware, there will be no Detroit hockey club in the NHL playoffs this year.

USA Hockey / Facebook

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.

Mark Goebel / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The longest playoff streak in the NHL officially came to an end last night after the Red Wings lost to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Detroit's playoff streak was the longest run of all four major league sports. In that time, the Wings won four Stanley Cups and six President's Cups.

The last time the Red Wings were not in the playoffs, George H.W. Bush was president, the reunification of Germany was underway, and "The Simpsons" had just aired for the first time.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Michigan State University football coach Mark Dantonio is breaking his silence over controversy plaguing his team.

Dantonio held a press conference Tuesday. It was his first time speaking publicly, aside from an earlier, written, press release, since early February.

Three unidentified players were suspended in early February after a sexual assault investigation came to light. The director of college advancement and performance, Curtis Blackwell, has also been suspended, though Dantonio declined to explain why.

The first part of this story, you probably know.

The Michigan men’s basketball stunk so badly two months ago, just about everyone figured they’d never get to the NCAA tournament in March. They had some talent, but other coaches considered them one-dimensional: all offense and no defense. Worse, they said Michigan was soft and lazy – two things no coach wants to hear about his team.

Stateside 3.23.2017

Mar 23, 2017

Today on Stateside, a widow says mental health stigma killed her husband. And, we learn what's left to honor Detroit's Brown Bomber when  Joe Louis Arena is gone.

"The Fist" of Joe Louis is one of two symbols of the iconic boxing champion that currently exist in Detroit.
Alexander Day / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The clock is ticking on Joe Louis Arena.

The Detroit Red Wings' final season at the Joe is down to just a handful of games. Next season finds them on the ice in the $600 million Little Caesars Arena.

After a handful of music and sporting events, that's it for Joe Louis Arena. It will be torn down for a new riverfront development.

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley joined Stateside to talk about question she wants answered: After the arena is torn down, how will the city of Detroit honor such an iconic figure in the city's – and the country's – history? 

Kris Draper played 17 seasons and won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings.
Dinur / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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. 

Lomas Brown
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

 

From a band kid growing up in Florida to a fearsome offensive tackle who played 18 seasons in the NFL, including 11 years with the Detroit Lions, Lomas Brown has a story to tell.

He was named to the Pro Bowl for seven straight seasons. And he got a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Steve Johnson / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Wolverines are in and the Spartans are out of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Michigan swept into the Sweet 16 with a big win Sunday in Indianapolis.

Moe Wagner scored a career-high 26 points and spurred a furious second-half rally to send Michigan past second-seeded Louisville 73-69 on Sunday and into the Sweet 16.

The seventh-seeded Wolverines (26-11) have won seven straight, six since a frightening plane accident before the Big Ten Tournament. They also earned a ticket to the Midwest Regional in Kansas City, Missouri, their first since 2014.

John U. Bacon

The Michigan men’s basketball team just finished one of the craziest seasons in program history.

After a sluggish start, the Wolverines were in danger of not only missing the NCAA tournament, but even the second-rate National Invitational Tournament.

The Big Dance is here! This year, Michigan and Michigan State qualified for the 2017 NCAA men's basketball tournament, but neither had an easy path. And both teams face uphill climbs if they want to make a run at this year's Final Four. 

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to talk about both teams' chances in the tournament, but he said Michigan's run to the Big Ten tournament championship was one for the ages. 

Last week, Michigan men’s basketball team traveled to take on Northwestern. For years, that trip amounted to a fun field trip for the Wolverines, a chance to pad their stats before taking on the Big Ten’s big boys.

Not this year. The Wolverines and the Wildcats both entered the game in the top half of the league, and on the verge of an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s two time Olympic boxing champion is about to notch another first in her career.  

On a fight card, the headliner is usually a celebrated champion or a well-known up and comer. And on premium cable TV, always male.  

But tonight, Showtime’s headliner is Flint’s Claressa Shields.

Shields says she’s not feeling any special pressure being ‘the headliner.’

The 2008 Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings pose for a group photo on the ice of the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh.
Michael Righi / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.

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