MADISON, Wis. – For the start of the 1963-64 school year, then-Director of Athletics Ivan B. Williamson called on head coach John Riley to bring intercollegiate ice hockey back to the University of Wisconsin. The Badgers previously had a varsity program between 1921 and 1935. Today, Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez and men’s hockey head coach Mike Eaves announce a season-long celebration as the program recognizes the 50th season in the modern era of Badger hockey.
“The history of Wisconsin men’s hockey is one of the strengths of the program and the entire Wisconsin athletic department and we want to take a look back at all that has been accomplished, while at the same time look forward to the coming season and the future,” said Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez. “From the facilities, with the Kohl Center and now LaBahn Arena, to the program’s tradition and fan support, there is a lot to celebrate.”
In addition to the logo, which will be featured prominently on Wisconsin’s jerseys, on the boards at the Kohl Center and on shirts handed out to student season-ticket holders, the program is honoring its history in other ways.
The 2012-13 season marks the 50th anniversary of Badger hockey, and also marks the 40th anniversary of the program’s first NCAA title in 1973, and the 30th year since UW’s fourth NCAA title in 1983. Nights honoring those NCAA championship teams will make up part of the schedule. The department will honor the 1973 team on Friday, Jan. 25 when the Badgers skate against Alaska Anchorage, while recognition comes for the 1983 squad on Friday, Feb. 8 when Wisconsin takes on Bemidji State.
Throughout the season, men’s hockey will also recognize honorary captains during all 19 regular-season home games with names and a schedule to come. The honorary captain will make the ceremonial first puck drop each night.
On Friday, Nov. 2, the ice at the Kohl Center will be dedicated to “Badger” Bob Johnson and be officially named for the program’s greatest architect.
In addition, this year’s schedule poster will pay homage to the program’s history and tie the current day Badgers to the teams from the 1920s and 1930s.
“I was here in the 1970s as a student-athlete when Bob Johnson was the coach and have been here for the last decade as a coach myself, and it has been a great journey,” said Eaves. “We carry the torch forward for everyone who has been involved throughout the last 50 years and the entire history of the program, and we want to use this season as a chance to recognize some of those people and the tradition they created.”
Look for information on other ways the program will celebrate its 50th year in the modern era as the season progresses.
Men’s hockey opens the season with an exhibition game on Saturday, Oct. 6 against the U.S. Under-18 Team beginning 8 p.m. at the Kohl Center. The regular season starts Friday, Oct. 12 against Northern Michigan in Green Bay, Wis. The Badgers begin their regular-season home schedule on Friday, Nov. 2 against Colorado College at 7 p.m.