Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badger careers winding down

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In their four years with the Wisconsin men’s hockey team,
seniors Davis Drewiske, Josh Engel, Matthew Ford and Kyle Klubertanz have seen
plenty of positives in their careers.

All four saw extended time on the ice as freshmen, with each
playing at least 18 games in the 2004-05 season. Through four years, three of
the four have played over 100 career games (Engel has played in 94), and all
were members of the 2006 squad that won the NCAA Championship during their
sophomore season, which is easily the highlight of each of their respective

?That’s something special you’ll take with you wherever you
go,? Ford said of the national title. ?What you’ve learned from that team, the
experience and memories, you’ll never forget.?

But there have been some things that have been slightly
harder to swallow.


The season after winning it all in 2006, the Badgers
finished just 19-18-4 overall and missed the NCAA tournament. Classmate Joe
Pavelski left the team to go to the NHL after winning the title. Fellow
classmate Joe Piskula did the same one year later.

?Obviously you miss them; they’re good friends,? Drewiske
said of his former teammates. ?It would be nice to have them around still, but
you’re still happy for them.?

Although the two former Badgers have moved on to play
professionally ? Pavelski with the San Jose Sharks, Piskula with the Los
Angeles Kings ? they, and this year’s seniors, continue to keep in touch.

?They’re still your buddies. You still talk to them here and
there,? Ford said. ?You always have that special relationship of being part of
the National Championship team and being a part of Badger hockey.?

?I talk to Joe Pavelski probably once every two weeks,?
Klubertanz said. ?I ask him a lot of questions, and I get a lot of information
from him. It’s been awesome, but it’s tough to lose him.?

For two of the seniors, the next step has already been taken
in reaching their ultimate goal of playing in the pros. Ford was drafted by the
Chicago Blackhawks in the eighth round of the 2004 NHL draft, while Klubertanz
was a third-round selection of the Anaheim Ducks.

Both have adopted the ?wait?and-see? approach in regard to
where they will end up when their Wisconsin careers conclude.

?It’s just one of those things you shoot for,? Klubertanz
said. ?You never know. All you can really do is go out and play, and that’s all
that’s in your hands. … For the four seniors this year, we’ve all had pretty
good seasons, so we’ve just got to wait and see.?

?I hope to have the opportunity to play hockey when I leave
here,? Ford said. ?It’s always been a dream to play college hockey ? which I’ve
gotten to ? but it’s also been a dream to play pro hockey.?

The chance to play in the NHL isn’t as certain for Drewiske
and Engel, who remain undrafted. But they still hope to extend their hockey
careers past their days as Badgers.

?I’d like to play. I think I could play somewhere,? Engel
said. ?Hopefully, I’ll get a couple tryouts or a couple looks. I’d still like
to try to live on the dream.?

None of the four are too quick to look to the future,
however, as they realize their season here is far from over. The team finishes
the season ? the last regular season games for the seniors in their career ? on
the road against St. Cloud State this weekend.?
Then they will have a week off before the WCHA playoffs begin, which, if
all goes according to plan, will be played at the Kohl Center for the first

Because of the work still left to be done, Klubertanz said
he hasn’t had time to think about the end of his time with the team.

?I don’t think any of this will sink in until the season’s
actually done,? Klubertanz said. ?We’re still playing and don’t really worry
about that stuff too much.?

Drewiske also knows the road to the NCAA playoffs will not
be an easy one. The team must finish among the top 16 in the nation to qualify
for that postseason tournament.

?We still have a couple of big challenges ahead of us,?
Drewiske said. ?We need to take care of business this weekend to set us up for
the playoffs.?

If not for the leadership of these four seniors, the young
Badger team may never had a shot at the tournament this season. Wisconsin’s
roster boasted nine freshmen to start the season, but the newcomers have
improved dramatically, according to Drewiske and Klubertanz.

?The young guys have done a nice job coming along and have
really matured,? Drewiske said.

?We knew that we had a lot of young guys coming in,?
Klubertanz added. ?It was key for us to be guys to be looked up upon. I think
for the most part, us four have done a great job. We like to take pride in
doing that.?

Ford credits Drewiske ? this year’s team captain ? with
stepping up and answering the challenge that comes along with wearing a ?C? on
his jersey.

?All four of us, but Davis especially, got guys up to speed
right away,? Ford said. ?With so many young guys, everybody’s gotten [an
opportunity] to play.?

Engel and the other seniors have been in the skates of the
freshmen before. They all still remember the first time they stepped onto the
Kohl Center ice.

Which is why the end will be that much harder for them.

?I remember being a freshman and looking at the seniors
like, ‘Wow, that’s a long ways away,’? Engel said. ?But it definitely flew by
really, really fast.?

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