Hockey Night in Mad Town


It was a "White Out" game in the second set of a two game match with B1G foe Ohio State Saturday night.

The Badger men's hockey team took out the Buckeyes Friday, but couldn't put the "biscuit in the basket" more than once Saturday.  It was a disappointing loss for the white-clad faithful that packed the Kohl Center, but for my first time in person at big-time hockey game it was a great time.

Once upon a time, I would have been around 10, my Dad and I went to the new (at the time) Janesville Ice Arena to see the Hockey playing Badgers in an intrasquad game.

Since then, I've been to some minor league hockey games, watching the Indiana Ice either in the Pepsi Coliseum or the CNO Field house.  Those games were fun, but didn't have the feel of this game.

The large crowd flocked to the Kohl through single digit temperatures wand much colder wind chills, to gather around a sheet of ice.

Welcome to Wisconsin.  (This time, there weren't any holes in it.)

15,000 of us - hollering "Sieve" at the Buckeye goalie.  Singing the Alma Mater before the third period (even those of us who can only claim to be "subway" alumni).  Singing the end to the Badger song to the tune of the very old Budweiser jingle, "When you say Wis-con-sin.  You - said - it - all."

There were plenty of opportunities to score, but the puck wouldn't cross the goal.

There is a different rhythm to hockey than other sports.  A tension when the other team has the puck at your end of the ice and you want it out of there, and the hopeful nervousness as your team crosses the blue line advancing to the opposition's net.

Hockey isn't a sport I grew up with.  It was something I could pick up on the far away Boston or Philadelphia radio stations late at night with my clock radio to listen to  their rapid-fire play by play.

When we lived in South Dakota (and had cable TV for the first time) with nothing to do - we decided to go to the public library for some books on hockey and started watching the weekly Sunday night game on ESPN.

Blue lines, red line, minor, major, penalty boxes, hat tricks, power plays, and short-handed goals.

There is a lot of terminology to learn.  There is a visceral quality to the game, in the man v. man (or woman v. woman) competition played out a half-dozen times across the ice.

Hockey is another sweet deal in Madison.  Among the leaders nationally in attendance; hockey is a third revenue sport for the University of Wisconsin.

The Badgers hang six national title banners from the rafters, and there is hope that this group may have a run in them for another crown this year.

Counting Badger women's hockey with the men's and alumni - ten Badgers will be playing for their county's Olympic hockey teams in Sochi,

Like the song says, when it comes to college hockey, when you say Wis-con-sin, you've said it all!