Michael Rosenberg’s column today ‘An inside look at ugly incident on and off the ice‘, (again, can’t the Freep come up with better column titles?) takes a deeper look at Saturday’s assault.   He starts by putting you in Bruce Kampfer’s shoes:

Everybody knew about Steve’s injury. Is that why the Spartans went after him? How much more unprovoked violence could you take against your son?

Bruce Kampfer apparently decided he’d had enough. He got out of his seat and made his way to the visitors’ locker room. MSU coach Rick Comley said Tuesday that Kampfer “attacked” Corey Tropp.

What if it were your kid?

That’s a good question, for fathers out there, perhaps one that you’ve already asked yourself.  Rosenberg’s considers this question for not only the Kampfer family, but also the Tropp’s.   More on that in bit.

Rosenberg then takes a look at Corey Tropp by talking to a former coach who confirms he’s a normal kid, and consults his bio where Tropp points to his dad as his main hockey influence.   It kind of sounds like those quotes from neighbors of the convicted serial killer, and no, I’m not likening Tropp to Ted Bundy.

Further down Rosenberg asks a question about the coverage of the incident:

As wrong as Tropp was — as seriously, unequivocally wrong as he was — how come most of the media attention has been about Michigan State’s players and so little has been about the Michigan parent?

This is what I want to talk about but didn’t think it’d be fair to hop right to the end of the column.  Now keep in mind I’m blogging from Wolverine ground zero but if I had to rank, by popularity, the items that new & old media are talking about coming out of this incident, I’d go with:

1.   The assault itself, the punishment of the MSU players, etc.
2.   The U-M students and their chants (The f-you-State and chants in general)
3.   The lack of security around the locker room ‘curtain’ (that’s what it is) to allow someone to go in.
4.   The condition of Steve Kampfer, whether he’ll sue, etc.
5.   Bruce Kampfer getting into the locker room to rough up Tropp.

I think it’s a fair question but there’s a couple reasons why it’s at the bottom of the list.  I’ll point to the coverage of Hurricane Katrina.  The media covered many stories, from the size of the hurricane, to the damage, to the inept/slow federal response, to the lack of funding for the levees, etc.   The fact that some people were looting stores was down on the list.

Kampfer getting into the locker room to avenge his son might be the biggest story of the year in the CCHA if it didn’t follow that brutal two-hand blast to the head while a guy was down attack.  And just like a lot of folks sympathized with the looters in New Orleans, I think most impartial fans and as we’ve seen, the media, give the elder Kampfer a pass because of the circumstances.

Me?  I just can’t see any way I’d go to the locker room to take on student.  One, I’d be afraid I’d get my ass kicked by an 18 year-old, and two, I’d probably be hanging around my son making sure he’s getting the right attention.  These are all probably reasons why my son will grow to be a poet and not a fullback, but there you go.


  1. You pose good questions. Climbing into the head of Bruce Kampfer, if he’s like me…and I’m in great shape for a 48 year old…I’m quite sure I can tangle with one (1) 18-year old kid. Now…a whole team of 18 year olds? That’s another story.

    Has anyone posted exactly what happened between Kampfer Sr. and Tropp? Was it a verbal “attack” or did they get down to fisticuffs?

    Your last question is interesting…why wasn’t Kampfer Sr. with his son? I’m guessing that Mom was by his side and Dad needed to vent a little.

    • Steve, after I saw the photo of Tropp I’m thinking maybe I could take him. As far as why his dad wasn’t with him, I don’t know but didn’t mean to suggest he wasn’t being a good father. We don’t know exactly the sequence of events, or for that matter, there’s no way to put yourself in his shoes.

  2. I wish I had the link but I read the other day Bruce and Tropp were locked up (kind like hockey fighters tangling in the ice but no arms getting free to throw blows) and shouting obscenities at each other. I’d frankly be surprised if we hear anything else. What goes on in the dressing room should really stay in the dressing room.

    Bruce Kampfer should have never entered the visitor’s dressing room:

    1. Steve is a what 20 years old? No mater how much his parents love him, he’s past the age daddy fights battles on his behalf. Just say no to helicopter parenting.

    2. I don’t understand how Michigan can talk about class when they have a rogue parent taking matters into his own hands. A 48 year-old picking a fight with a punk college kid… please!

    3. Going into the visitor’s dressing room serves no constructive purpose and could have jeopardized any civil case the Kampfer’s may have.

    To Michigan’s credit, and something which will probably be ignored by outlets such as the State News, dear ‘ol daddy is now banned from most U of M buildings.

    • Chris- I think most folks share your take on #1 and #3. I think it’s hard to pin your take #2 on Michigan, his dad acted alone and like Red said, you can’t coach the parents.

      If you’ve been to Yost you know anyone can hop right through that curtain and into the lockerroom. That’ll change of course now.