Sauer – the sixth-winningest coach in college history
– writes a bi-weekly column for Inside College Hockey.com.
"The Dean" was the head coach for 31 years at Colorado
College and Wisconsin, where he won two national titles. Sauer
retired at the end of the 2001-02 season. He was the 2003
Snooks Kelley Award winner for contributions to U.S. hockey
and ranked 16th on INCH's list of the all-time greatest
college hockey coaches.
listening pleasure, find The
Bud Song on Wisconsin's official site.
of the fun in doing this column is the opportunity to interact
with you, the hockey fan. Please send your questions or comments
all the rule changes being proposed to get more scoring in
the game, which one appeals to you the most? Tim E., LaCrosse,
was a lot of talk about this at the NHL All Star Game, obviously.
The one rule change I like the most is one being advanced
by Jacques Demers, I believe, which would force teams to forecheck
two men and make the third forward forecheck at least 10 feet
over the blue line. This would basically eliminate the trap,
which all NHL teams use so effectively.
forechecking means there would be more turnovers and likely
more scoring chances. It seems that would provide a higher
scoring game. It seems like an intriguing change to me.
The Dean's List by Jeff Sauer
A lot of time
coaches get credit for providing motivation to their team. This
week I attended a funeral for a 13-year-old young man who has inspired,
motivated and brought perspective to the University of Wisconsin
hockey program for the past eight years.
between Andrew Thiel and the Badger hockey program started in 1996
when I got a call from a doctor in Marshfield, Wis. telling me how
a young patient of his had a brain tumor. The prognosis wasn't good
for this young person, but he was a big hockey fan, a big Badger
fan and the doctor wanted to know if he could come to a game.
Andrew was adopted
by our team. We got him a Badgers jersey, autographed sticks and
had him come into our locker room whenever his family made the three
hour car ride from Marshfield to Madison for games. He was always
outside the locker room in his wheelchair, next to the glass, when
the Badgers moved their games from the Dane County Coliseum to the
Kohl Center six years ago. In fact, he was there as recently last
month, high-fiving Badger players like Dan Boeser and Adam Burish
as they came onto the ice against Michigan Tech.
took him on the ice the night we received the MacNaughton Cup in
2000. Dustin Kuk and Steve Reinprecht had their pictures taken with
Andrew and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association trophy. Erik
Raygor was a big booster of Andrew's the year he received the Hockey
Humanitarian Award in 1998. And two of my former players, Mike Cerniglia
and Jake Soper, were in the church, along with a lot of young Marshfield,
Wis., hockey players Tuesday for Andrew's funeral. I know the current
Badger players and staff were also affected by Andrew's death.
As much as Andrew's
family always thanked Wisconsin's hockey players for their support
during his illness, he did more for us. His visits to the locker
room provided perspective after tough losses. He provided motivation
to hockey players in their playing days as he struggled to fight
cancer and taught all of us never to give up.
after Andrew joined the Badger hockey family, the youngster from
Marshfield would attend the post season hockey banquet and present
the UW seniors with rings, signifying their four-year contributions
to college hockey.
certainly added to those contributions during his unique relationship
with college hockey.
As sad as saying
good-bye to Andrew was, the National Hockey League's All Star Game
weekend in St. Paul, Minn., earlier this month was a celebration.
I experienced a glorious three days which started in Madison on
Friday night at the well-played North Dakota-Wisconsin game.
With am energized
Kohl Center roaring, Wisconsin turned a WCHA race upside down. The
Badgers rallied from two goals down with six minutes left in the
third period to beat the Sioux, 4-3, on what ESPN's SportsCenter
deemed a highlight film overtime goal by Robbie Earl. And suddenly,
the Sioux, which had been No. 1 in the country, found itself in
a race with Wisconsin, St. Cloud and red-hot Minnesota-Duluth for
the MacNaughton Cup.
two extras to the UMD-North Dakota series in Duluth Feb. 27-28?
I didn't think so.
If that wasn't
exciting enough, it was thrill to go back to my hometown for the
NHL All Star Game the next day. St. Paul did a marvelous job, providing
an environment suited for the best players in the game. The town
was alive and made pro hockey's special weekend the centerpiece
of all activities in the Twin Cities that weekend – from the
spectacular Ice Palace across from the Xcel Center to the Hockey
Falls party at the Metrodome Saturday night to the on-ice events
Saturday night and Sunday at the Xcel Center.
It was truly
a gathering of the hockey community. I got to visit with everyone
from my linemate at Washngton High School in St. Paul to Billy Baker
of the 1980 Olympic team to NHL execs like Lou Lamoriello, the former
Providence Coach, on a walk through the concourse. It was great
to see former collegians like Paul Martin and Ryan Malone in the
Young Stars game and a real treat for me to watch one of my former
players, Brian Rafalski, in the All-Star Game itself.
The whole weekend
was like a visit to Disneyland for a hockey fan. St. Paul and the
Minnesota Wild deserve as much credit as can be dished out. Just
as they did at the Frozen Four in 2002, they served up a delightful
hockey smorgasbord again this month.