After my trip to western Wisconsin this weekend to cover the Wausau West-Hudson game at John Gornick Arena, I had attended my 20th high school game of the year.
That is fewer games than in previous years, because I can no longer include 20+ Point-Rapids Red Panther games, as my daughter Emily is now a sophomore at Concordia University-Wisconsin. And her former team is now known as the Point-Rapids/Marshfield Red Panthers. They no longer need my services as public address announcer, scorekeeper, and mix-master. Life goes on...
But with apologies to Johnny Cash, this year, comparatively, I've been everywhere. Well, at least in the central Wisconsin corridor from west to east, as I have attended games in Hudson on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, and at Cornerstone Community Center in Ashwaubenon/DePere/Green Bay. No one seems to know where it is actually located.
So, please take this column as a fun-filled exercise on Super Bowl Sunday, on which I could really give a rat's butt about who wins. I only hope I can win a quarter on the only Super Bowl pool that I signed my 'Trasher' to.
Go, right numbers!
Anyhoo, I have put on nearly 1,900 miles on our vehicles and spent 38 hours in the pilot's seat. Don't tell my wife, but I much prefer driving her 2016 Nissan Altima to wrestling my 2003 Mercury Mountaineer down the road. My truck is nicknamed 'Jed.' You know, if you are old enough to remember: 'A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed...'
Here's where I have been so far this season:
Of the 20 contests at which I have taken photos, jotted game notes, and dodged flying pucks, 13 of them were boys games and seven were contests for the ladies.
I am humbled by the people that know who I am and give me carte blanche to anything and everything I need to cover a game, and wondering where the hell the people have been that have never heard of Wisconsin Prep Hockey.
Really? Ah, newbie hockey parents...gotta love 'em.
Many people come up to me and say, 'Trasher, what are your favorite rinks?'
Well, I like some rinks more than others, as my rationale for liking a rink as a 'media god' includes: where can I best take pictures from?
Eau Claire Hobbs, KB Willett, and the South Wood County Rec Center all have upper mezzanines or platforms that allow for good above-ice shooting with no obstructions.
At other rinks, I can climb a ladder and shoot above the glass or park my butt in a penalty box, making sure to stay out of the way of offenders of hockey law while still getting that classic shot of the unforgettable goal or crunching hit.
I do have complaints about Cornerstone that could (should) be corrected. Rink 1 is fine for shooting pics but has zero Internet reception. Rink 3 has great Internet but has less-than-optimal picture-taking options.
Here's a hint to the fine peeps at CCC: get rid of the netting above Rink 3 on the player bench side, as the netting protects no one. And get a few more routers so people can access the interwebs anywhere in that fine facility.
Okay, Lady GooGoo or whoever has finished her halftime act, so I should end here. I will probably travel to another 15-20 games the rest of the season, as playoff and state tourney time has a bunch of important games that we at WiPH will do our best to cover.
I would be interested to see what kind of stats my partners have for this season as far as traveling to games. Maybe one or more of them will respond.
Bottom line: we love high school hockey and cover as much as we can. It's what we do!