Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007

Wisconsin Hockey Night

By Nicole
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Wisconsin Hockey Night October 21, 2007 | 01:38 PM A couple of weekends ago we traveled to Madison for Hockey Night at the Kohl Center. I heard from one of the players that this event had happened last year, though it was a much smaller scale. Essentially, it was an open invitation for fans to come catch an inside glimpse at the men's hockey team and be able to take in a women's game. For $15, you were admitted to watch the men's team's first practice of the season (more on this later), then you were served dinner, where the team was individually introduced and both Mike Eaves (men's coach) and Mark Johnson (women's coach) addressed the audience. The members of the men's teams each sat at the tables with the attendees, which was a very cool chance for the kids to interact with the players. The ticket then admitted you to the women's game against Robert Morris (which the won 3-1). Ok, so we were a little late, as I had some iPod buying misadventures, so we didn't catch much of the practice. But though I knew it in advance and it's now been 4 more days, I still can't believe that Saturday was their first practice. The team will be playing in a preseason tournament this weekend and I just can't believe they are allowed only one week of practice. I know that the NCAA sanctions all of that and there were likely "captains practices" prior to this, but I am just flabbergasted that officially they are given (I think) two weeks before the season starts. If anyone knows more on this, please let me know. Admittedly, my hockey knowledge is basic at best. Ultimately, I think the intent of the evening was child oriented – offering them a chance to get up-close and personal to the players, but I got a whole lot of information about the players and it was pretty cool to get a chance to just casually converse with a couple of the guys. Sophomore Jamie McBain was at our table and he was immediately befriended by the youngest child at our table – who, by the way, was hilarious. He was incredibly inquisitive and outgoing. His older brother seemed more "starstuck" but the little guy had a rapid-fire set of questions for Jamie, who was both entertained and little overwhelmed, I think. The little guy took us all aback, because he was so gregarious and talkative. When Jamie told him his name, the little guy told him that there was a James in his class. He paused, then told Jamie that the James he knew was REALLY naughty. Little Guy's mom told him he couldn't talk to Jamie while he was signing autographs, but he was so anxious he had to put some fingers in his mouth to keep it occupied! Jamie's from Minnesota and I asked him how choosing Wisconsin went over at home. He laughed and said he didn't get too much crap, but that he had grown up playing with most of the guys on Minnesota's team, so the rivalry was especially fierce for him. The boyfriend then asked if the rivalry was really, actually strong on the ice, or if it was just between the fans. Jamie said the guys are up for it just as much as the fans – even saying the guys all circle that weekend on the calendar. The other player sitting next to us was freshman goalie Scott Goodmanson. Scott's from Canada and actually took a year off between high school and college because of Brian Elliot. He said had Elliot left early, he would have entered right away, but when Elliot decided to stay for his senior year, Scott took the year off to save his eligibility for when he knew he had a fighting chance at the netminder spot. Both Mark Johnson, women's coach, and Mike Eaves, men's coach, addressed the group. Before they were introduced the emcee had some stats Last season the men averaged 14,335 in attendance, which is a record for the University and and was the NCAA high. That average attendance is better than 5 NHL teams. Mark Johnson went to talk about the women's team, which at the time had won 29 straight dating back to last season. They were 3-0 to start the season and had yet to allow a goal. (At time of publish, the girls had improved to 6-1-1) He also added that they had graduated 7 seniors and brought in 7 freshman. Though the team's composition had changed, Johnson urged the hockey fans to "give us an opportunity. Come see the product." The men's team had a rough season after graduating and losing to the pros so many of the members of their national championship winning team. However, they did go 8-3-2 over the last few weeks of the season to finish strong. They also had the #1 recruiting class in the country this year. Their new class includes 9 NHL draft picks, including the 3rd overall and 12th overall picks. Of the 26 guys on this year's roster, 17 are underclassmen. It's the youngest team Wisconsin has fielded in 26 years. This year's new class includes: #12 Tom Vargas, a transfer from St. Lawrence, where he spent one season. #16 Sean Dolan, a 6'3" forward. He was a member of the US Under-18 Junior Select Team at 2006 Viking Cup in Camrose, Alberta. He played 2006-07 season for the Chicago Steel of the USHL where he scored 22 goals, 40 points and 76 penalty minutes in 59 games played, before adding two goals and four points in five playoff games #27 Cody Goloubef, a defensemen. He scored 10 goals and 42 points in 49 games with the Milton Ice Hawks of the OPJHL in 05-06 and was named the team's Rookie of the Year. #1 Scott Gudmandson, goalie. Finished 2006–07 season with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the BCHL, after beginning year with Omaha of the USHL. He posted a 15-8-0 mark with a 2.84 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and two shutouts in 24 games played with Salmon Arm. He posted an 18-8-5 mark with a 2.10 goals-against average and .925 save percentage with the Drayton Valley Thunder of the AJHL in 2004–05 to earn recognition as the 2005 AJHL Rookie of the Year #3 Craig Johnson, defense. Played for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the NAHL where he posted eight goals and 34 points in 60 contests to lead the team's defensemen in 2006–07. He was also second on the team with four game-winning goals. He is from Waupaca. #10 Patrick Johnson. Son of Women's coach Mark Johnson. He spent most of 2006–07 season skating with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL where he posted 11 goals and 27 points in 47 games with the Stars. He also scored two short-handed goals and 11 power-play points. #17 Ryan McDonough. 2007 Minnesota Mr. Hockey, Ryan was the #12 overall pick in this year's NHL draft. He won silver with Team USA at the 2007 IIHF World Championships. He was a member of the silver medal winning U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the 2006 Under-18 Junior World Cup in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. He was a member of the 2005 United States Under-17 Select Team that took first place at the 2005 Five Nations Cup in Huttwil, Switzerland #7 Brendan Smith, defense. Skated two seasons with the St. Michael's Buzzers of the OPHJL where in 2006–07, posted 12 goals, 36 points and 90 penalty minutes in 39 games played to lead team's defensemen. He was selected to play in the 2006 Canadian Junior A Hockey League All-Star Game ... won a silver medal with Canada East in the 2006 World Junior A Challenge. He was the 27th overall draft pick by the Detroit Red Wings. #8 Joshus "Podge" Turnbull, forward. Skated 2006–07 for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL where he was named team rookie of the year after collecting 27 goals and 54 points in 60 games played. He was also voted by Waterloo fans as the inaugural winner of the Fan's Choice Award. We was the team's Rookie of the Year and was a 5th round draft pick of the LA Kings. #19 Kyle Turris. Chosen 3rd overall by the Phoenix Coyotes. Named RBC Financial Group Canadian Junior A Player of the Year for 2006-07. He played for Team Canada in 2006-07, including two stints with Canada's National Under-18 Team - the 2006 Junior World Cup in the Czech Republic and the 2007 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Finland. He played a major role in Canada West's gold medal triumph at the 2007 World Junior A Challenge in Yorkton, Saskachewan, scoring his team's first four goals in a tournament-opening win over Russia on his way to the tournament's MVP award. He collected a BCHL-high 66 goals for the Burnaby Express, 15 goals more than the closest skater. He posted 121 points in 53 games played to rank second in league scoring during the regular season. He also posted a league-high 19-game point-scoring streak. He tied for the league lead in playoff scoring with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) despite playing one less postseason round than the rest of the top 10 scorers Nicole
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