Tomorrow afternoon, at 4 o'clock, we'll see the puck drop at a Badger Hockey game for the last time...at least the last time holding our season tickets. No doubt about it, one of the things I will miss the most about living in Wisconsin will be Badger Hockey.I had never been to a hockey game until I started dating Jeff. We both lived in Milwaukee; I was a graduate student, and he was a producer for the weekday morning news.
Hockey was in Jeff's blood...for as long as he can remember, he and his brother would each get a night~if I recall correctly, I think Mike had Friday nights with Dad and Jeff got to go on Saturday nights. Jeff and Mike grew up playing hockey, being driven to Madison in the wee small hours of the morning since there wasn't a team in Mt. Horeb. The basement of the house in which Jeff grew up was nearly floor to ceiling Badger; and the majority was Badger Hockey.
I fell in love with the game the minute I stepped into the Kohl Center for the first time. The roar of the crowd, the thunder of the Crease Creatures, the anthems from the UW Band...the atmosphere was one of magical excitement.
So here are some of my favorite memories and Badger Hockey traditions that will never fade...
When I first started going to games, I didn't understand that we were to shout "SIEVE" at the opposing goalie...I thought we were shouting "Steve"...the name of a player... That's a classic "Tammie-ism" that goes down in Section 203 history.
Another great memory is The Blue Line Club~before it became outrageously priced. It was the only place to order an "adult" beverage, and we'd go down to the club in between periods and usually would stay well into the subsequent periods.
A Badger Hockey staple is The Count...Phil, in his white sweater, at all the games: 1, 2, we want more...Evie got to hold the "2" sign when she went to a game with us...Here's the video!Five goals by the Badgers at a home game means free custard from local Culver's when you give them your ticket. "We want ice cream".
We had our own "personal" game which made the season an awful lot of fun. Choosing "My Guy" for the new year...Shane, Angie, Jeff and I would choose our freshman for the year and yell, "That's my guy!" when he would score.
There was a special year that a young fella named Justin Schultz joined the team and we all wanted him for "My Guy" so we just decided to call ourselves "Schultzy's Section..."
I'll never forget being at the Frozen Four in Milwaukee when we won the National Championship game at the Bradley Center...FANTASTIC. Magical.
We had our own "pre-game" traditional dinner at Jordan's Big 10 Pub...greatest pre-hockey food Evaaahhh...and the best staff. Pub chips and Strongbow...I still can't believe they never added a sandwich to the menu called "The Shane."Then there was the game where we met Blake Geoffrion; our first Hobey Baker award winner. (That's the Heisman Trophy of hockey, for those who know even less about hockey than I do.)
To make the hockey games even more fun, we finally "met" the folks who sat behind us in Section 203. We REALLY met them for the first time when we all were going to the Frozen Four in Detroit...sharing that experience together, and all the games thereafter just made me love hockey games even more because our fun had become even "funner" (couldn't believe it was possible)!
My friend Vicki and I took a road trip to St. Louis for the Ice Breaker Tournament one fall. That was a ton of fun, until a waitress asked if we were at the game because we were a parent of one of the players. What? Really?
Our Hockey Christmas parties and white elephant gift exchange were truly a blast. Maybe we can talk our friends into planning the parties for a weekend we're able to come back for a game.
We took many road trips over the years: St. Cloud State, Detroit (Frozen Four), Milwaukee (Frozen Four), Minnesota, Boston...
A few seasons ago, one of us came up with the idea of officially dubbing ourselves the Real Housewives of Section 203. However, we actually get along, unlike the "Real Housewives" on "The Real Housewives".
A couple of years ago, the "My Guy" game turned into full Fantasy Teams; and Jeff's been kicking our butts since day one.Last year, Evie went to her first Badger Men's Hockey game. (Click that link to the video; Jeff did a phenomenal job of capturing the event, and documenting the family history of Badger Hockey). Evie had been to see the Badger women play before, but the crowds and noise of the Badger Mens' games were something we had to prepare her for. She got hooked! She will be with us tomorrow as we sit for the last time in Section 203, (officially).
How will I explain my tears to her, other than that these games have been more than a sporting event to us~they have been a part of Jeff and I through good times and bad.Badger Hockey has a phenomenal history...a legacy...more than a game, more than a team...
Our Saturday nights in Reno will be difficult come October...but it will always be "A Great Day for Hockey."