Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Crease Creatures, Grateful Red rough it out for best seats

Ah, hockey season is upon us once again. That wonderful time of year when the beer is cold, the ice is colder and UW students freeze their hockey-loving heinies off waiting for the best season seats available.

I swear, that line gets longer every year. But don't take my word for it … after all, this is only my second year at Wisconsin. But fifth-year men's hockey coach Mike Eaves had something to say on the topic:

"Every year, there's been a line, but this line seems to be a little longer and it's been there a little while longer," Eaves said. "Kids are excited, they see the product, they felt the excitement last year and they want to be a part of it again."


Eaves hit it right on the head; the anticipation for the upcoming season, the passion for watching the national champions protect home ice from the best seat in the house — it all makes sense of those lines reaching ridiculous lengths.

And not to leave out Bo's boys, the Badger basketball fans were also on hand, waiting for those coveted courtside seats. Losing just one player from last year's squad, head coach Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin basketball squad is looking to perhaps crack the top 10 in the rankings and make some noise on the national stage.

Yes, the Crease Creatures and the Grateful Red are back for another season, with more drive and more passion than ever before — made apparent by the students' resolve in waiting out in the cold for more than a week. As it happens, both sets of student tickets were finally being distributed Saturday, Sept. 30, making the Kohl Center and surrounding areas very chaotic as everyone collected their season stubs.

Personally, I think the system sucks. I don't completely understand — and surely there are other fans with me on this — why the athletic department insists on forcing fans to wait outside, enduring temperatures plummeting to below 40 degrees, for any extended period of time.

What's more, in addition to making fans wait for up to 10 days just to garner decent seats, the department has the gall to mandate what people can and can't bring! No grills to cook food and tailgate. Understandably, the university doesn't want any school-related activity leading to alcohol, but what's wrong with some brats and soda?

The rules apply 24/7; if no member of the group is there during any periodic line check — even if it's 4 a.m. — you all lose your spot. So hey, you want a tent to keep yourself warm at night? Can't do it. My god, coats are okay, but no blankets! Imagine that: get your basketball tickets here, with a side of frostbite.

I know I couldn't do it, no matter how much I love the game. It's hard for me to believe that your average Joe Sportsfan would. Even some of the hockey players, including Brian Elliott, Jack Skille and Jeff Likens said while they appreciated and admired the fans' grand support, they wouldn't do the same thing if they were in that position.

Sure, they might just be talking, but it's hard for most to fathom waiting outside for most of 10 days, in what turned out to be a pretty brisk September by Wisconsin's standards.

Representatives from the ticket office and a few students said the idea was to allow the most dedicated fans a shot at the best seats. This is an OK line of thinking, but you wouldn't think the university would condone missing classes and risking health in the name of front-row seats.

But when I talked to some of the guys and gals waiting outside the Kohl Center, all bundled up on a frosty Friday afternoon the day before the tickets were distributed, you could just tell instantly that this method was working. These kids wanted to be out here badly, even without any sure guarantee.

"You figure that the ideal ticket distribution method would be some sort of way that rewards the most die-hard fans," senior Dan Herman said. "If you're going to wait it out here for 10 days, you really like your hockey, so you think that these people up front probably deserve the best seats for making the biggest sacrifice."

Herman, who has experienced this process four years in a row, headed up a group that was ninth overall in line (out of around 300 foursomes), and Herman admitted that he wasn't even sure to get the first crack at the seats he was hoping to snag.

"I think we should probably get first row, but it's hard to tell," he said.

For the most part, everyone seemed to be making the best of things. I asked a few people what they thought of the system, but it was difficult to get too much of a negative answer. To be honest, most people were too busy enjoying the experience, such as senior Eli Mash, who ended up scoring tickets for basketball in the lower bowl.

"I love the situation how it is; everyone's in this family atmosphere, it's fun," Mash said. "I'm looking forward to it being over, but this is the true college experience. I like it all."

With footballs flying around, a hot dog vendor roaming the Kohl Center front yard and dozens of laptops out it seemed that people were — gasp! — actually enjoying themselves.

This is the essence of Wisconsin basketball and hockey. True fans will do whatever it takes to get the best seats possible for those two sports.

After watching the lines grow longer and longer, Skille of the men's hockey team said this of UW students:

"Wisconsin Badger fans are the best hockey fans in the nation. I don't care what anybody else says."

I second that, Jack.

Aaron is a sophomore intending to major in journalism. He wants to hear your best Kohl Center Kampground story from this year or any others from the past. Post your story below or send it to [email protected].

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