Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Culver's Camp Randall Badger Hockey Classic

This past Saturday we spent the day in Madison for the Culver’s Camp Randall Badger Hockey Classic. Both the women’s and men’s teams played outdoor games at Camp Randall and we were lucky enough to be in attendance for both.
With weather in the high 20s the whole time, it was cold but not unbearable and the Badgers did a great job of having warming areas available for fans.

We got to Camp Randall about 1 pm because we wanted to see the exhibits and still be in our seats for the women’s games. Inside the football practice facility there were traveling exhibits from both the International and USA Hockey Halls of Fame.

The IHHF exhibits included quite a bit of historical memorabilia, which was my favorite part. They also featured some pieces of Wisconsin history.

There were four NHL trophies on display. The Stanley Cup had been in the house for fans that wanted to see if Friday night, but sadly was not on display on Saturday.

The exhibit from the USHHF was weighted heavily to the Miracle on Ice and Badger Mark Johnson, but also featured a couple of cool pieces highlighting both Wisconsin’s and Michigan’s history of playing each other and playing hockey outdoors.

The biggest draw was video of the Miracle on Ice game. We walked in at about 18 minutes left in the final period and stood with a group of about 30-40 people and watched the match unfold. Unfortunately, the DVD has clearly seen a lot of wear, as it started skipping and stopping with about four minutes left in the game, meaning we didn’t get to see the post-game celebration and reaction, which would have been the coolest part to me.

While this litho is cool and signed, by far the coolest part is the easel made of hockey sticks. I NEED to have one of these.

This uniform is from 1924.

The top jersey is the captain's jersey from the Wolverine's third straight NCAA championship in 1953. The bottom is a rare jersey from 1948.

There was also a table there displaying the Hobey Baker Award and it was manned by two reps. As I walked up to the table another fan was commenting that the Hobey should go to Blake Geoffrion. One of the men behind the table said that with a name like Geoffrion he should be in the running. He then started rambling a bit about Boom Boom. When he realized he had gone off in his own little world, he looked back at the fan and asked if this Blake kid was related.
Yes sir, your organization has Blake in the running for your award – maybe you should know who he is.
( Blake is Boom Boom Geoffrion’s grandson. Boom Boom is credited with inventing the slap shot.)

We headed to our seats and were there for intros and the National Anthem. At first puck drop, we estimated a couple of hundred people were in attendance, which is pretty standard for women’s hockey games.
We had received tickets to the Badger Warm Up for Christmas, so we spent the second period inside the Field House. Tickets to the event were $25 and included all you could eat brats, soda, chips, cookies, cheese and beer as well as appearances by the UW Spirit Squad, Band and Bucky. We only stayed for the length of the period, so we didn’t get to see the live auction. Considering it was the only place to warm up with alcohol, as well as the cost of lunch, we figure the tickets were worth it. Plus, the hockey game and the men’s basketball game being played in Michigan were both being broadcast on screens in the Field House, so we didn’t feel we missed out on too much.
The women’s team dominated Bemidji State 6-1, setting the stage for the men’s game.

My favorite part of the outdoor rink was this homage to Badger Bob Johnson, who's known for the phrase.

Of course, Phil was there. By far the coolest part of the experience of being in Camp Randall was hearing the call of "(#) We Want More" echo back to us from the fans on the other side of the stadium. It literally gave me chills the first time around.

Digging the striped hat Rueggsagger wore the full game.

This was pretty cool - the women's team lined up and swayed and sang along with the fans to "Varsity."

There was about an hour between the two games, which wasn’t too difficult. By the time the team’s hit the ice for warm-ups and intros were down, there was very little downtime. One of the more poor decisions was to play piped in music during this time, instead of letting the band play.
The absolute worst part of the whole day was that the band was placed in about section N and therefore was completely unable to be heard where we were sitting on the east side of the stadium. We were in section U, just to the south of center ice and we could barely hear anything that was played the entire game. We lost out on the energy that is always so great during a hockey game in the Kohl Center. There was no crowd unity. It was a bit of a downer, to be honest.

One of the cooler details was having teams of mighty mites lining up to form a "tunnel" for the Badger men's team to travel through to get on and off the ice.

Puck Drop

Sadly, that puck is not in the net, but outside it.

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