Both the US College Hockey Online and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls rank the University of Wisconsin women's hockey team first in the nation this week, with 18 wins and two losses overall. The Badger women also lead the WCHA with 36 points at 12-2. They are, in short, the hottest team on campus.
Care to skate with them?
Your big chance comes Sunday, January 9, when the Badgers host their first-ever Outdoor Hockey Meet and Greet. Presented by Becker Law Office and City of Madison Parks, the event is scheduled for 10-11 a.m. at Vilas Park. On tap: autograph and photo opportunities and an appearance by Bucky Badger.
Sunday's event is intended to drive interest in Fill the Bowl, an effort to break the NCAA women's hockey attendance record during the Wisconsin-Minnesota game on Saturday, January 29 at the Kohl Center. Scheduled for 7 p.m., Fill the Bowl doubles as a non-perishable food drive for the nonprofit Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, with admission set at the low, low price of $1.
Becker Law principal Donald Becker is an enthusiastic booster of UW women's hockey, this Sunday's Outdoor Hockey Meet and Greet at Vilas Park, and the Fill the Bowl game later this month. He has pledged to donate $1 to Second Harvest for every fan who shows up to help Fill the Bowl on Jan. 29, magnifying the generosity of fans who bring non-perishable food donations that night.
He views this Sunday morning's Outdoor Hockey Meet and Greet as a way to get people out with the Badgers at Vilas Park and "get them energized and excited about this team."
His enthusiasm for this year's Badger women's hockey players is audible over the phone. "They're a heck of a team," he says, hailing this Sunday's event as an opportunity "to encourage people to meet some fine student-athletes." In anticipation of Fill the Bowl later this month, Becker notes, Badger women's hockey team members visited Second Harvest on December 21 to devote some volunteer time toward feeding the hungry people served by the nonprofit.
These same student-athletes' current winning ways give them a decent shot at breaking the NCAA women's ice hockey single-game attendance record, set February 6, 2010, when the Badgers vanquished Bemidji State 6-1 before 8,263 fans at Camp Randall Stadium.
Granted, part of the attraction there was the unusual setting and the men's game that followed. But the combination of $1 ticket prices and a non-perishable food drive for Second Harvest make the Jan. 29 Wisconsin-Minnesota women's hockey game a face-off with reasonable potential to set yet another attendance record -- especially if the idea catches fire and word spreads.
Becker's ambitions for attendance during Fill the Bowl? "I'm looking at 10,000," he says -- a figure that would result in him writing out a check for $10,000 to Second Harvest.