A men's hockey game at the Kohl Center.

A men's hockey game at the Kohl Center.

 Pep band plays before the start of men's hockey game.

Pep band plays before the start of men's hockey game.

 UW players on the bench.

UW players on the bench.

 Break out.

Break out.

 Screening the goalie.

Screening the goalie.

 View across the arena.

View across the arena.

A couple of weekends ago I visited Madison, Wisconsin. I had hoped for a winter wonderland - snowshoeing in the woods, skating on an outside rink or even on a lake - but the weather didn't cooperate. However, I did get to see three (3!!!) hockey games at the University of Wisconsin. Watching live hockey is fascinating - you can see the plays unfold and check out the behind-the-play mayhem. When you watch a televised game, you can only see what the cameras show you.

On Friday evening the men's hockey team ("Badgers" is UW's nickname) suffered an overtime loss at the hands (paws?) of the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota - an epic duel of rodents. The men play in an arena about the same size as those used by professional NHL teams, with various food options, a pep band, and a large, very active student section.

On Saturday and Sunday I saw the women play. UW is the top ranked college team in the country and they didn't disappoint, beating the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks both afternoons. The games were close, hard fought, and a ton of fun. The Badger women play in a new arena that seats close to 2300 extremely enthusiastic, emotionally invested fans. Attendance was good - even on Sunday, when the game overlapped with the Green Bay Packers' do-or-die playoff football game. I came away extremely inspired by these young women, on both teams, who battled it out with at least the ferocity that the men displayed. I wish that everyone could see them play!

 The Kohl Center concourse features display cases related to athletics at the University.

The Kohl Center concourse features display cases related to athletics at the University.

 This display portrays Brianna Decker, a UW alumna who, in 2012, won the Patty Kazmaier award for best female NCAA Division 1 hockey player. She currently plays for the Boston Pride in the NWHL. She is also on the U.S. national team. 

This display portrays Brianna Decker, a UW alumna who, in 2012, won the Patty Kazmaier award for best female NCAA Division 1 hockey player. She currently plays for the Boston Pride in the NWHL. She is also on the U.S. national team. 

 Introductions.

Introductions.

 Going back the other way.

Going back the other way.

 

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