Monday, April 10, 2006

Hockey Madness

So all last week I was keeping an eye on craigslist and ebay for hockey tickets. Since Wisconsin was playing for the Championship here in Milwaukee, tickets were going fast and furious for well above the $50 face. I emailed everyone who posted on craigslist and offered them a little above face, hoping that someone would either take pity on me or would end up with extras on the day of the game and be willing to part with them cheaply rather than eat the ticket. So a Boston College fan from Chicago wasn't interested in the afternoon game and sold me two tickets for just above face.

The game was literally the most electric thing I've ever been too. I've been to the SuperBowl and I've been to a Final Four championship game, but for both, I wasn't attached to the teams playing. Sure, the feeling was crazy and tons of fun, but in the end, it loses something when you don't care who wins.

The Bradley Center holds about 18,000 people and literally 17,000+ of those fans were for Wisconsin. Wisconsin's hockey fans are rabid to begin with and they all just fed off of each other. Everyone was used to the cheers and so all the cheers were organized and louder than I've ever heard. Having all 18,000 people in unison on our patented Sieve! cheer was fabulous.

There's this great 70 some year old guy who is at every hockey game. His name is Phil. Apparently he's a factory line worker for Oscar Mayer. After every goal he holds up signs and the whole crowd knows what to do. They count 1, We want more. Or 1,2,3, we want more. You get the idea. He has a few other cheers that he initiates. He's my hero. He has some old lady groupies and they wear sweatshirts with the numbers on them and stand up for the 1,2, we want more...etc cheers.
I long to be in Phil's posse!

The one newspaper printed signs that said Sieve on one side and We Want More on the other. Phil is immortalized.

Phil is a highlight of my hockey going experience. I love when you can hear him on the TV broadcasts.
Yeah, I'm a nerd.

Ok, so we scored a fabulously amazing shorthand goal. This guy Carlson had the weekend of his lifetime. An article I read said something about how most of the country had heard of Brian Elliot, because he was in contention for the MVP and he's literally the best goalie we've seen in the past few years in all of college hockey. College hockey fans would know Robbie Earl and maybe one or two other names from Wisconsin. Hard core fans can name a few other guys. Literally no one could or would have been able to name Carlson. The kid came out of oblivion and played an amazing defensive game and scored this short handed goal, off balance with incredible puck control. It was stellar.

Robbie Earl added an open net goal. The whole game was fabulous.

Friday night was a skills challenge thing that we had purchased tickets to before we knew we were going to the game on Thursday. The idea was that we'd at least get to go to something. The Hobey Baker was presented and Wisconsin's Brian Elliot didn't win.

But the whole Wisconsin team was in suits in the section next to us and was just sitting there in between portions of the evening, so I went in the lobby, bought a program and the team passed it down the line and they all signed it. It was like me and a bunch of little kids getting autographs, but I have no shame, so it was ok.

They also gave out all the pucks used during the skills challenge, which by the way was lame as hell. I'm it transferred well to TV, but it was long and boring sitting there. Getting the program, however, made the night worthwhile. Plus, a kid from a local D3 school was part of the skills challenge and he won the hardest shot contest by a landslide, so that was cool.

Anyway, at least I walked away with some cool gear, but all in all Friday was rather disappointing.

We ended up just eating dinner and watching the game at my place, but in the end we wished we'd have gone somewhere else. After the edge of your seat drama of Wisconsin's 3 OT win to get to the Final Four, this game was so calm.

As mentioned earlier, Robbie Earl's goal was nothing short of spectacular. He got flattened, started for the bench, realized his team was on the offensive and scored. It was absolutely brilliant. Wisconsin then scored with 10 minutes left in the third period, which was the end of it. Pretty anti-climatic.

Boston College pinged one off the inside of the post with less than 3 seconds left, which we didn't even catch until after the game was over. Suddenly, as we're all celebrating, they show a replay and we're like HOLY CRAP. The game was almost in OT.

But yeah, it was a really cool weekend and I can't believe I was lucky enough to be made into a fan this season. We're good foils. He was a hockey fan, but never would have taken the initiative to go to all the games. I'm enthusiastic and made sure we saw about 6 games in Madison and Milwaukee this season. We make a good team!

Anyway, I'm sure none of that was exciting for anyone but me, but there you go...

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