Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Best Badger hockey player ever

Scott Mellanby, Gary Suter, Dany Heatley.

When you think of Wisconsin Badger hockey, you think of the long, red and white legacy of winning.

Kelly Fairchild, Sean Hill, Mark Johnson.

With more than 60 players with NHL experience, past and present, the list of Wisconsin alumni reads like a who’s who of hockey.

Tony Granato, Steve Reinprecht,

Forget the “State of Hockey” I’ll take Badgers hockey any day of the week. While the men’s program boasts of six national championships and the women have four of their own, who can forget 2006, when Wisconsin became the first Division 1 school to earn both the men’s and women’s championships in the same year.

Adam Burish, Mike Richter, Brian Engblom.
At least once a year, my wife and I make a road trip to Madison, Wisc. to catch the “Wha’ D’ya Know” radio show, to shop at the local farmer’s market, run up and down State Street and for a Wisconsin Badger hockey game or two.

However, when you talk about the many Madison alumni who’ve gone on to successful NHL careers, it’s hard to name just one as the best in Badger hockey. In fact, Its almost like having to name your most favorite child.

For me, however, it’s no contest….my favorite alum would have to be Chris Chelios.  
Where would you start?
How about awards…11-time All-Star games; the James Norris Memorial Trophy (1988-89, 1992-93 and 1995-96)’ NHL All-Rookie First Team (1984-85); and NCAA All-tournament team (1982-83); Mark messier Leader of the Year Award (2006-07); Bud Light Plus/Minus Award (2001-02); Olympic Silver Medal (2002); Olympic Tournament All-Star team (2002); and Wisconsin Athletics hall of Fame (2011).

Championships? How about three in the NHL – Montreal Canadiens (1986) and the Detroit Red Wings (2002 and 2008) – and an NCAA title with the Badgers (1982-83).
Stats? How about 185 goals, 763 assists, 948 points and 2,891 penalty minutes…Skating more than 233 ¾ quarters on ice in 1,651 NHL games…A member of four NHL teams (Montreal, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta).

Longevity? Again, his 1,651 NHL games is the most of any defenseman. If his number of games were to be ranked among position players, he’d rank fifth.
And ultimately…Chelios was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame just last month; the first UW player to be enshrined.

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