DISCLAIMER: The writer of this blog is a Level-5 Wisconsin Badger fanatic and apologizes in advance for any homerism that ensues.
Rest assured, despite the schizophrenic weather that Wisconsin tends to receive, there was no snow on the ground when Brendan Woods rose this morning.
But there might as well have been.
Today is the day that University of Wisconsin hockey players call Christmas. It’s the day on which the players receive their gear for the season. As the Jacks former assistant captain describes it, the mother lode he’ll be given could outfit him for about three weeks.
Jacks fans know the prototypical power forward as Woody or Woodsy or assistant captain. Whatever moniker you prefer for the player who is as affable as he is talented, rest assured that Brendan Woods is acclimating quite well to life on campus in Madison, Wis. And a little yuletide on Sept. 1 can’t hurt.
Woods, the son of Washington Capitals Assistant Coach Bob Woods, recently returned to campus after having been there from June 11 to Aug. 6. During that time, he took part in training, skating twice a week and captain’s practices. He also got a couple of college courses under his belt. After some quality time back home with family and friends, he's back in Mad City and the hockey season is rapidly nearing.
The ice went down in the Kohl Center - one of the most daunting barns in NCAA – just a couple of weeks ago. Despite Jacks Head Coach and former Badgers assistant Kevin Patrick’s best effort to get Woody the inside scoop on life as a Badger, nothing could have prepared him for his first skate on UW’s ice surface.
“It’s sick,” Woods says, “and it’s a little intimidating, especially not knowing exactly where you stand yet.”
Despite being a little overwhelmed with said skate, Woody feels perfectly prepared, thanks to staying in constant contact with Patrick, who served five years behind the bench at UW.
“He’s helped so much,” Woods says. “He knows the expectations and he’s made it very clear to me what I need to do to succeed. Just from talking to him, I already feel like I know Coach (Mike) Eaves.”
For Woods, the bottom line is taking things as seriously as he should. He’s trying to have a blast and savor the experience and not put the proverbial cart in front of the horse.
Patrick expressed to Woody how crucial time management is during college. After juggling an intense workload at Mona Shores High School and his first full United States Hockey League season, Woody feels right at home. Although the best part – albeit the hardest – is yet to come.
Some intriguing dates to keep an eye out for this season:
· Oct. 21-22: The Badgers host their longtime rival, the powerhouse that is the North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
· Oct. 28-29: Woody and the gang play host to former Jacks defenseman and current University of Nebraska-Omaha freshman Jaycob Megna and his fellow Mavericks.
· Nov. 18-19: The Badgers visit another former Jack, Charlie Taft, at Colorado College.
· Nov. 25-26: Albeit a nonconference series, the Badgers will host the Mercyhurst Lakers, featuring former Jack Ryan Misiak.