I was lucky enough to take in a home and home weekend between the Madison Capitols and the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. Madison played host on a Friday night with the Gamblers hosting on Saturday.
Welcome to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
Looks like a spaceship, doesn’t it? The Veterans Memorial Coliseum is on the Alliant Energy Center campus. Frankly, I don’t entirely understand what that means. The place looks like a large fairgrounds, much like where they hold the Texas State Fair in Dallas, TX. I drove in at night, so I didn’t get a great look at it. But there are livestock barns and agricultural buildings on the grounds.
And they charge $7 for parking. It’s a pet peeve of mine.
The University of Wisconson – Madison used to play hockey here. I bet the place was rocking for Badgers games. Let’s go inside.
First stop, the lobby to buy a ticket. And… oh my.
That is some special carpet. So special, I had to get a few photos of it.
Don’t you want that for your next 70’s themed party?
The ticket cost me $18.50. A bottle of water was $3.50. This isn’t exactly a bargain.
Let’s just hope the arena is better. Let’s head to the concourse and… oh… my….
OK, but what about the arena itself? Well, it’s big.
It reminds me of the Scope in Norfolk, VA or the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, OR. It feels gigantic.
The seats at the ends are covered up, but there is a beer garden at ice level.
1980 Olympic gold medalist Bob Suter, who passed away recently, played here with the UWM Badgers.
But it’s just about game time. Please rise for the singing of our national anthem.
If you go to a game in Madison, here’s a tip. Sit in the first few rows of the upper “bowl.” The lower bowl is very flat, so you wind up sitting up on the edge of your seat a lot to see the action. But the arena staff doesn’t hold people out of the game when the puck is in play. And the spacial awareness of the fans is not at its peak.
In other words, when the game is on, they tend to roam around. They like to stand.
In the aisles…
At their seats…
Along the glass…
Stand stand stand. And if the rake of the seating area was steeper, it would be fine. But even the ushers get in on the actions.
Fine. Let’s get to the action. Here we… what the heck is going on here?
Just like coach drew it up.
Alright, well. Let’s move on. And… OH COME ON!!!
Sure. How about a break in the action. Those are kids shoveling the ice by the players. Note the discrepancy in height.
And a little chuck-a-puck.
OK. Enough of that. Game on.
AHHHH!!!! YOU ARE STANDING! WHY ARE YOU STANDING!!! THE GAME IS GOING ON RIGHT THERE!!!
The penalty boxes are a little weird. Normally the timekeeper’s booth is between the boxes. These are next to each other and skinny. The Capitols’ box saw lots of first period action, as Madison took five penalties to Green Bay’s two. There were six total in the second period, two in the third.
What you can’t see in that photo is the worst DJ at a hockey game I have ever heard. Playing songs from his computer, there was more gratuitous scratching than a big and hairy flea circus. I don’t even know what that means, but it was bad.
Hey guys, guess you know you are standing up and people are behind you, right? Yeah, I guess you do.
That’s a goal.
This one would go to the shootout. Only one goal would be scored. And I’m here to tell you, if you think every hockey fan doesn’t like the shootout, you would be wrong. They loved it in Madison.
Your final, Madison beats Green Bay 4-3 in the shootout. The game sheet is here.
An OK game, but obviously I will be sitting a little further back next time. It was a little hard to get into with all the distractions. Speaking of distractions, I’ll leave out what the people behind me were talking about during the game. Some things do not need repeating on the blog. Ask me in person some time.
The crowd was rocking, and it can’t be easy to get a good crowd in when you live in the shadow of Bucky the Badger. Wisconsin is all about the college hockey. But maybe hockey is just hockey here, and they take anything they can get. Or the Capitols are good at drawing a crowd. Either way, the fans had a good time.
Time to get ready for the other half of the home and home.