Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers.gif
Institution University of Wisconsin-Madison
Location Madison, WI
School Founded 1848
Enrollment 40,305
Colors Cardinal and White
Chancellor John Wiley
Athletic Director Barry Alvarez
Rink Kohl Center
Capacity 15,237
Dimensions 200'x97'
Men's Coach Mike Eaves (Wisconsin '78)
Women's Coach Mark Johnson (Wisconsin '94)
NCAA Championships Men: 1973, 1977, 1981, 1983, 1990 , 2006 Women: 2006, 2007 , 2009, 2011
WCHA Championships MacNaughton Cup (Men's Regular Season): 1976-77, 1989-90, 1999-2000Broadmoor Trophy (Men's WCHA Tournament): 1977, 1978, 1982, 1983, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2006Women's Regular Season: 2006, 2007Women's WCHA Tournament: 2006, 2007
Major Rivals Minnesota, North Dakota
Student Section Crease Creatures

The Wisconsin Badgers are a Men's Division I and Women's Division I team in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Men's program[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Badger hockey history is easily divided in two distinct eras: The pre-modern era, from 1921-1935, and the modern era, from 1963 to present.

Pre-Modern Era[edit | edit source]

Records indicate that Badger hockey had existed as a club sport as early as 1892, but was not formalized as a varsity sport until 1921. Coaching changes were frequent and seasons were short, due presumably to relying on mother nature to provide suitable playing conditions.

Modern Era[edit | edit source]

The modern era of Badger Hockey began in 1963, with the decision of athletic director Ivan B. Williamson. The Badgers started out ambitiously, playing as an independent team and scheduling 8 games against Western Collegiate Hockey Association teams, losing all 8 games. However, the persistence eventually paid off. Late in the 1965-66 season, the Badgers finally broke through, beating the Minnesota Golden Gophers 5-4 in overtime, their first win over a WCHA opponent. At the end of that season, Coach John Riley retired, and UW hired "Badger" Bob Johnson, a man who would mold the program into what it is today.

The next milestone for UW hockey was WCHA membership, which came for the 1969-70 season. The newcomers suprised the NCAA community by grabbing an NCAA tournament berth in their first season as members of the WCHA. The early success captivated fans, who packed the Dane County Memorial Coliseum to see the Badgers play. More success would follow under the guidance of Johnson. After again earning an NCAA bid in 1972, the Badgers won their first national championship at the 1973 Frozen Four, quite an accomplishment for a team in just their tenth season. Badger Bob's 1977 team further cemented Wisconsin Hockey in the national landscape, by sweeping the WCHA regular season, tournament, and NCAA tournament titles. Behind the efforts of four first team All-Americans, Mike Eaves, Mark Johnson (Bob's son), Craig Norwich and Julian Baretta, the 1977 team won the title in amazing fashion, getting an equalizing goal late in regulation and winning goal in overtime in the final against Michigan.

The early 1980s were a glory period for Badger Hockey. The Badgers lost star player Mark Johnson to the 1980 American Olympic Team, but reloaded and reached the NCAA title game three consecutive times in 1981, 1982, and 1983. The 1981 title was especially sweet, coming with a defeat of archrival Minnesota in the championship game. The Badgers had been upset in the WCHA first round by Colorado College. In a two game total goals series, UW took the Saturday game by a score of 8-2, only to lose on Sunday 11-4, losing the total goals series 13-12. Badger fans to this day refer to that loss as "Black Sunday."

After again reaching the championship game in 1982, where the Badgers lost to North Dakota, the program was dealt a double blow with the resignation of "Badger" Bob Johnson. Johnson would later coach in the NHL and win the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins, carrying his "Badger" nickname with him where ever he went. He left Wisconsin after 15 seasons with 3 NCAA championships, a record of 367-175-23, and having built the program into an NCAA powerhouse.

The pain of 1982 was quickly eased in 1983, however, with the hire of former Badger assistant coach Jeff Sauer from Colorado College Tigers. Sauer turned around and won the 1983 NCAA championship in his first season. Wisconsin defeated Harvard 6-2 to earn the program's 4th NCAA title. For a little added revenge for the previous season, Wisconsin won the title on North Dakota's home rink in Grand Forks, the same place Paul Houck's stunning triple overtime goal had sent the Badgers to a springboard late season victory.

Under Sauer's leadership, the Badgers would qualify for eight consecutive NCAA tournaments from 1988 to 1995, winning the program's 5th NCAA title in 1990, with a 7-3 victory over Colgate. Also, Sauer presided over the team's move from the venerable Coliseum to the new, on-campus Kohl Center in 1998. The Badgers have second in college hockey attendance every year since moving to the Kohl Center.

The long run of NCAA appearances was not all glory, however. Wisconsin reached the 1992 NCAA final against Lake Superior State, losing 5-3. The game, which featured some questionable calls by the referee that continually put the Badgers at a 2-man disadvantage, irked several players so much that they lashed out beyond Sauer's control, verbally abusing the referees and earning Sauer a 1-game NCAA suspenion. That game was later vacated by the NCAA for minor rules violations unrelated to the incidents in the championship game.

In the mid 1990s, Badger hockey hit a bit of a lull, earning NCAA bids in 1998 and 2000, but generally underachieving compared to the high standards of the 1970s and 1980s. The 1999-2000 team featured a duo of 2nd overall NHL draft pick Dany Heatley and Steven Reinprecht, won the MacNaughton Cup, and earned a #1 postition in the polls for most of the season, only to be upset by Boston College in the NCAA regionals. Two seasons later, during the 2001-2002 campaign, coach Sauer announced his retirement. He had intended to announce his decision at the end of the season, but as word leaked out, he was forced to announce his intentions half way though the season, resulting in a grand farewell tour across the WCHA. Jeff Sauer left Wisconsin with two NCAA titles and a record of 489-306-46 at Wisconsin, and a 655-532-57 overall record as a head coach.

Sauer's replacement was Mike Eaves, a former player who still holds the record as UW's all-time leading scorer. Eaves was a member and captain on the 1977 NCAA championship team. His first season at UW was full of hardship and controversy, including one of the worst records in the modern era. However, in 2003-2004, Eaves brought the Badgers just short of the Frozen Four, falling in overtime to Maine. Eaves has improved the Badger's skill level, conditioning, and teamwork. After a disappointing finish to the 2004-2005 season, the Badgers returned to national prominence by winning the 2005-2006 NCAA championship by winning the Frozen Four held in Milwaukee, WI.

Traditions[edit | edit source]

Women's program[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]


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