By Maddy Majewski, Abbi Pflum, Abigail Turner, Kaylee Homerding
UWGB students had the opportunity to attend the Green Bay Gamblers game Friday, March 4, 2022.
“Theme nights” for the Green Bay Gamblers is not a new concept, and Friday’s game was “College Night.” The event was put on by Good Times Programming and allowed students to take a trip to the Resch Center for a discount price. Nic Hanke, the Sports, Rec, and Travel Programmer, shared why he felt this event was important for students. “I feel it is very important to have both on-campus and off-campus events. With the off-campus events, students usually ride the bus together, which would give them a chance to meet new people and make new connections with people who have similar interests as them.” This event made it easy for students to attend an off-campus event without worrying about transportation.
“College Night” has been an ongoing theme that the Gamblers have put on, and it seems to be a hit for the audience, as well as the players. With this being the case, there were only 40 tickets available for students to purchase at the discounted rate. Hanke stated, “With ticket sales, we are sold-out, and I am hoping everyone is able to go that bought a ticket.” The discounted tickets were given to students when they presented their student IDs and were sold out quickly.
Because the campus is starting to get back to normal, it is important for the students that events like these start up again. Many people in GTP were new to the program and never saw how to run these events pre-COVID. Hanke was not a programmer pre-COVID, but he made sure some of the events stayed the same. “I heard of this event when I started working for GTP as a programmer. Students can get tickets through the UTIC Desk on the first floor of the union.” GTP will be putting on more events for students to attend.
Many students at UWGB made an appearance at the game and heard about it thanks to GTP. Students Laney and Abbi were in attendance. They both heard about the game because they had seen a poster on campus after one of their classes. With living off-campus and being a nursing major, Laney said, “We do not go to a lot of school events. A basketball game here or there, but the Resch was closer to our house we share, so we thought – why not?” Laney has only seen her younger cousin play hockey. Abbi shared, “It had to be when the goalie on Chicago’s team left the goal, and the Gamblers puck drifted into the goal, and they scored!” Laney added that hers “was the first fist fight – it was a true hockey experience.” They are both eager to attend another game and shared the team played well. Abbi said it was “exciting and a lot of fun.” Laney said, “the goalie was a little hard to watch at times, but overall, they played fine.”
Sadie, a UWGB senior, found out about this Gamblers’ game and the tickets through Kaylee Homerding, another senior working for Gamblers. Sadie has not been to a lot of hockey games, so Sadie would not consider herself a hockey fan. With going to one game, though, Sadie is excited for the opportunity to continue going to them and expanding her knowledge of the sport. Her first game was this student game night that she attended with her friends. “I think the team played well, but I also don’t know a lot about hockey in general, so maybe they didn’t because they lost?” Sadie said, “I would definitely go to another game – I’m already planning on it!” A highlight from her perspective was learning more about the sport from my friends there. “I’m glad they were patient with me and every question I constantly asked!” Sadie also thought the fights were fun to see too. From her perspective, Sadie thought that the team played well.
Lindsay Gloede, a junior at UWGB, heard about the game at an announcement during travel bingo, as well as posters and the TV advertisements on campus. Gloede stated, “As a student ambassador on campus, I do go to quite a fair share of campus events. I try to be active in on-campus activities, so I have personal stories to share on tours.” Her first Gambler’s game was her freshman year of high school when she sang the national anthem, and she had been to a few Gamblers games after that. Gloede is not the biggest hockey fan, but “I enjoy the atmosphere of hockey games so I like to go to them when I can. I do not have a great working knowledge of the sport.” When at the game, Gloede’s favorite part of the night was “definitely seeing a few fights and one of the goals scored by a player my friend Kaylee knows, so it was cool to feel more connected to the game in that way.” Gloede thought the team “played fine; the goalie was definitely struggling a bit, but I don’t have enough knowledge on the sport to make educated critiques of how they played,” and stated that she would attend another game.
Luke Weilandt, a First-year Gamblers Hockey player, gave his insight before the game on the importance of community members attending the Gambler’s games. “It is always more fun playing in front of more people, especially when they are younger. I feel like they are livelier, they chant more, they scream more, which I think has a huge impact that gets you amped up and ready to play and you play better amped up.”
This season, COVID-19 has had less of an impact which allows for players and fans to meet each other. Luke has not gotten to experience it much with the Gamblers, “but in Sioux Falls, they did their best job to obviously get the players around the fans and get to know them better.” He also stated that when fans know they have a chance to meet a player, it helps draw them in, especially the younger kids.
Player fan interactions can allow Gamblers to affect the community. Luke touched on how he has seen that happen this season, “we do a lot of interactions with our fans, I know they gave out the [trading] cards and, I think a lot of us signed them for fans.” Staff members of the Gamblers do still have to be careful with COVID as it can shut down the whole team and a weekend of play.
Weilandt said, “I thought we played well. We sustained pressure on them throughout the game, but there were a few sloppy mistakes that eventually led to goals.” He went on to say, “I thought I played well overall. I had the lucky goal and made tons of plays.”
The Gamblers were set to play Chicago Steel again Saturday night but in Chicago. After Friday’s game, Luke thought the team needed to focus on “finishing on our chances and being better in the defensive zone. We had many opportunities I felt we could have scored. I also think some of the goals could have been prevented if we did not make some uncharacteristic mistakes.”
During Friday’s game, both teams came out swinging. The Chicago Steel was first to light up the board, with a goal from Jackson Blake, only 29 seconds in. After that, the period was quiet until Steel went down a man on a holding penalty eight minutes in. Just a minute later, Gamblers’ defenseman Kent Anderson would capitalize on the Power Play and net his first goal of the season and first of his USHL career. The period ended with Steel leading 2-1 after a second goal at 14:01 by Nicholas Moldenhauer.
The second period brought on the tempers and fists of both teams. Gamblers’ newcomer Peter Kramer and Steels Sam Lipkin decided to fight it out only three minutes in, with both receiving a major and misconduct for fighting. Around the four-minute mark, Steel decided to pull their goalie, allowing Luke Weilandt to get an empty-net goal for the Gamblers to retie the game. At the same moment, Sawyer Scholl was called for interference giving the Steel a Power Play that they could not capitalize on. Only a couple more penalties would come for both teams in the second, but on the final one, the Gamblers got a Power Play, and Ryan Greene took full advantage of it, putting the Gamblers up 3-2 as they headed off the ice.
The third started similar to the first, with the Steel scoring within the first minute, thanks to Jack Harvey. Halfway through the fists would fly again between Steel’s Hunter McDonald and Gamblers’ Carter Batchelder and Owen Murray. Batchelder would end up leaving the ice with a major concussion. Right at the halfway mark, the Gamblers would take back the lead momentarily with a goal from Captain Jarod Crespo. Steel fired back with another goal from Jack Harvey 30 seconds later to create a tie game once again. Both teams received a few more penalties as Steel gained three more goals, two from Adam Fantilli and another one from Moldenhauer, to end with a 7-4 victory over the Gamblers.
There are two future college nights for the remaining 2021-2022 season. Those games are scheduled for April 1 and April 15. You can find the remaining Promo Schedule here: https://gamblershockey.com/promotions/