For the past six years my career (and my life) has been dedicated to sports. More specifically these days it has been Wisconsin men's hockey. A new aspect of my position in Madison has been travel and this spring has been a whirlwind. About 15 months ago I took on the role of marketing hockey - a sport I previously knew little about – has been both fun and intimidating. Hockey has an interesting culture and I have made it my mission to learn about the sport and make an effort to continually get better at marketing the sport.
I have been lucky enough to be able to make several trips with the team to their various away games to meet my counterparts at other institutions, learn about their game day experience and get to know the coaching staff and team on a more personal level. This was also four straight weeks of travel across the country. The perks of travel for me, in no official order, great and healthy food, always time to exercise and a fun opportunity to explore my field and get to know new people.
One of my favorite trips of the season was a short jaunt to St. Paul, MN. The Big Ten Men's Hockey Championships were held at the Xcel Energy Center, home of the NHL's Minnesota Wild. The Badgers were winners of the WCHA conference tournament in the same building last season so it was a special place to be playing in again.
My role on the road increases in the post-season as I organize a pre-game tailgate for Badger fans at a local restaurant, near to the tournament venue, to entertain everyone before they head into the game. I secured the a popular venue this season, Pat McGovern’s Pub, less than two blocks from the Xcel.
McGovern's is a spacious venue that welcomed our visiting Badgers with much hospitably. We packed in the red and white fans, and the Badger Band, for two days as the Badgers captured the first ever Big Ten Conference Men’s Hockey Tournament! The Xcel Center is a fantastic venue and my counterpart from Minnesota was the production manager for the event. It was neat to see what he did under the direction of the Big Ten.
I also had the opportunity to make a quick trip after the Badgers' semi-final game to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where the Gophers were hosting the NCAA women's swimming championships. I made the trip with a member of the development office and we visited with the Badgers head coach and even got to watch swimming phenom Missy Franklin set an American Record in the 200 yard freestyle! I definitely nerded-out during that race and the chlorine made me a bit nostalgic for my swimming days.
Overall, it was a festive weekend that everyone enjoyed and great to see the Badgers come back and beat Ohio State. As we say in marketing – winning always helps. Oh, and running wise – I had the greatest run near the Ramsey Hill area. It was a heck of a hill going out but it was a refreshing downhill to end the run, in the sunshine.