By JACK VANASSCHE, Editor in Chief

Free pizza. Free shirts. Free hockey.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn athletics department is offering this deal to students, faculty and staff for Thursday night’s home opener for the hockey team.

Along with free entry to see UM-Dearborn host Lawrence Technological University, students, faculty and staff will be treated with a “‘Born Blue” branded shirt as well as free pizza.

Thursday night will mark the first game at the UM-Dearborn Ice Arena since renovations to the rink began over the summer.

Even the team hasn’t been able to see much of its own home ice, as the renovations forced the No. 7 Wolverines to practice at the Dearborn Ice Skating Center (DISC). The team then opened the regular season in Chicago against No. 10 Robert Morris-Illinois over the weekend, earning a split.

Head coach Chris Haltinner said the team is looking forward to returning to its new ice.

“So excited to be back and playing in our home arena,” Haltinner said. “It’s good to be back home.”

Haltinner said he hopes the home crowd can give his team an advantage against the Devils.

“We’re hoping that we can get a good turnout,” he said. “I think (Lawrence Tech) is gonna be coming out with a lot of fire.”

Haltinner urged students and fans to really get into the game.

“Do not sit on your hands. Support our team,” he said. “The best part about being a college student is supporting your team.

“Hopefully they come out here and get rowdy for us.”

Haltinner also encouraged students to make a night of the game, and compared the possible experience with UM-Dearborn athletics to UM-Ann Arbor athletics.

“Get out there, tailgate, have a good time. When there’s big crowds on hand it helps our teams tremendously.”

Puck drop for the game is at 7:30 p.m.