Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


In second year as captain, Madison native wrapping up dream-like career after enduring rough first year

Three seasons ago, Adam Burish and the rest of that year's freshman class had two options: stay and play for the new head coach, Mike Eaves, with his grueling practice regimen and tough attitude, or quit.

A lot of players on that year's squad found Eaves' style a far cry from that of the man Eaves replaced, Badger coaching legend Jeff Sauer, but quitting wasn't really ever an option for some, especially for Burish.

"That thought never even crossed my mind," Burish said of the possibility of leaving the Badgers. "It never even came within a hundred miles of my mind."


The Madison native grew up idolizing his hometown team. He sat in the stands every Friday and Saturday to cheer on the Badgers of years' past, and he dreamed of one day putting on one of those cardinal and white jerseys and skating in front of fans like him. Once he had realized that dream, he wasn't giving that up for anybody.

From a class that once held eight players, five of them — Eaves' "Junction Boys" — stuck it out through a full four years at UW, despite a freshman season that tested them to wit's end.

"If you know those other four guys in there, it's a hard-nosed, tough, hard-working group of guys," Burish said of his senior classmates. "The attitude of us, the way we were, is whatever you tell us to do, we're going to do it, and we're going to do it better than anybody else."

The Junction Boys were formed in that first year, and their leader was molded out of their toil and the sacrifices those five athletes made. Burish stood out as the guy with all the qualities of a good leader, and he was picked by his teammates to be team captain in only his junior year.

"He's a hard worker, he's a man of his word, he can go out and do what he says and say what he does," Eaves said of Burish. "He has an ability to look over his shoulder in the locker room and see who needs a hug and who needs a kick in the fanny."

Burish has the rare ability to push players to their limits while remaining their friend. He makes himself available to everyone on the team, from freshmen on up, and he offers advice or an ear to remedy his teammates' problems.

He can also kick over a garbage can or two if the situation requires such actions.

"Most importantly, he's always upbeat and energetic. It's a good attribute to have in a leader," fellow senior Nick Licari said. "You know he's always going to go out there and work hard, and he's always going to speak up when need be."

Burish is the first person to share the credit for a win with his teammates and the first person to take the blame for a loss. He represents his team with pride and passion, and he looks out for his teammates first.

"A good leader is someone who puts the guys in the dressing room above himself at times," Burish said. "That's one of the most important things that I try to do a lot."

Sometimes he lets his passion for his teammates and for the game take over against better judgment.

Against Colorado College earlier this year, Burish made a late hit on CC forward Scott Thauwald that earned the senior a one-game disqualification. While the hit looked like a cold-blooded assassination to casual viewers, Burish was really trying to prevent Thauwald from laying a big hit on teammate Robbie Earl.

"In his effort to try and help the team, he does go over the edge," Eaves said of his captain's emotions. "We have to sit down and talk about those things."

Burish recognizes that his emotions sometimes get the better of him, but he refuses to change his style of play. He believes there are even times when a well-timed penalty for the right reason can fire the team up, and his teammates would be more than willing to kill off a two-minute penalty if it gives them some momentum in a game.

"With me, what you see is what you get, and I'm an emotional kid," Burish said. "At times do I maybe need to take a step back? Yeah, probably, but that's one thing I'm never going to take away from my game."

He would be unwise to change the way he plays, as his style has brought him success not just as a leader but also as a player. Burish has improved his point total every year of his career, and he currently sits fourth on the team with 22 points.

Never the most skilled player on the ice, Burish turns that emotion and energy into offense.

Those emotions will continue to play out as Burish's time as a Badger draws to a close. The Badgers play their last regular season home series at the Kohl Center this weekend, in front of the fans to whom Burish and his fellow seniors have brought so much joy. Badger fans will be saying goodbye to a hockey player that brought an unrivaled amount of enthusiasm to the rink every night — a player who played with his heart on his sleeve.

"It's going to be emotional," Burish said. "The biggest thing is trying not to think about it too much. It's been a dream for me to be here, and for these four years to fly by and have it be done, it's emotional."

Not only for Burish but for those who have watched him grow into the Badger that he has become, it could be a tearjerker.

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