[media-credit name=’AJ MACLEAN/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′][/media-credit]After a night of celebrating the national championship out on the town in Madison, everyone was at the Kohl Center Sunday night to join in the festivities on the day Gov. Jim Doyle proclaimed UW Men's Hockey Team Day.
The Badgers defeated Boston College 2-1 Saturday to earn the school's sixth national championship and first since 1990.
Not only was the entire men's hockey team — players and staff — on hand for the celebration Sunday, but the women's hockey team joined in as well, along with a variety of local celebrities.
"To Coach [Mike] Eaves, congratulations on a job fantastically done," UW Chancellor John Wiley said. "Two championships in one year is over the top."
"You brought this trophy back where it belongs," Doyle added.
But the event remained light-hearted, including a moment after Doyle finished his speech when UW junior defenseman Jeff Likens stepped up to the microphone and proclaimed "Doyle rules!" Later, junior goaltender Brian Elliott let out one more moose call, Ross Carlson sported a handlebar mustache, and Eaves — yes, Eaves — busted out in song.
And the celebration would not have been complete without an appearance by UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez.
"It's hard to win national championships. There are so many pieces to the puzzle," said Alvarez, the former UW football head coach. "We own college hockey."
It is a hard statement to argue now, seeing as both the Wisconsin men's and women's hockey teams claimed national championships. It is the first time in history that one school has garnered both titles in the same year.
"Coming from Minnesota, [Wisconsin] is the state of hockey," senior assistant captain Tom Gilbert said.
The night included a dual interview with the head coaches, Eaves and Mark Johnson. The two who won a national title together as players in 1977 both won titles as coaches for their alma mater in 2006.
Robbie Earl took time out to thank the senior class, a group of five players who were pivotal in turning the program around. He also said he hopes to be back in the same place next year.
Earl, whose NHL Draft rights are owned by the Toronto Maple Leafs, said that, as of right now, he plans to return.
Two weeks after the women's team held its own celebration, it was back to do it again, as the two teams shared in the revelry.
And Adam and Nikki Burish — Madison natives who grew up going to Badger games — tried to settle the debate over whose trophy was better. Adam, the captain of the men's team, and Nikki, an assistant captain on the women's, are the first brother-sister combination to play hockey for the Badgers, and now they both have national championships to boot.
Everyone who spoke made sure to thank the UW fan base, which turned out in droves for the celebration.
"We were out there an hour after the game and not one of them has left," Burish said after Saturday's game. "I want to celebrate with those people because they are what makes Wisconsin such a special place to play. They deserve it as much as we do."
Burish said Sunday that not only could the Badgers repeat as national champions next year, but that he could see them winning three in a row.
But the fans and the future will have to wait. For now, the celebration continues.
The men's team picked up a hefty police escort on its way back into town after Saturday's game, and it was clear the players did not go straight to bed.
It's obvious: the Badgers are not ready to let the celebration end.
"Let's keep this party goin'," Burish said.