As real sports fans know, nobody travels like Sioux hockey fans. We left early on Saturday morning and watched the sun rise over Wisconsin. Greg and I talked yet again about what a lovely state it is. Neither of us had ever been along this route. Of course the family road trip also yielded wonderful memories, with the blissful anticipation of our Sioux in the playoffs.
Along with hundreds of other UND fans, we arrived in plenty of time for the first game, Sioux vs. the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers (Engineers?) .
Matt enjoyed watching his summer hockey coach, B. Brutlag, (also Gram and Gramps’ best friends’ grandson) take the first penalty on a big hit, just :42 in to the game.
photo credit: UND
The Sioux won, 6 – 0.
Go, Western Michigan, Go
We came back to the arena to watch the other semi game, Denver vs. Western Michigan.
W. Michigan has a GREAT band, terrific fans and incredible team. They were up 2 – 0, then Denver tied it up in the final 5 minutes.
One overtime, still tied.
11:14 into the second overtime, Denver scored. As we told the W Mich fans at our hotel breakfast the next day, “Thanks for wearing Denver down for us.” The fans noted they don’t have the rich hockey tradition of a school like UND. Well, that’s how you build it. Don’t tell my Sioux fam, but that was my fav game of the tourney.
We stayed at the Cambria Suites in downtown Green Bay. Nice, especially the breakfast buffet with made-to-order omelettes.
Getting ready was quick and easy. Like any good hockey fans, we wore the exact same thing and got ready the exact same way. With Sunday’s game not until 4:30, we had a Sunday in Green Bay, so we did what people DO on certain Sundays in Green Bay…
10 days a year = 1 interesting town
From the moment you hit Green Bay’s city limits, it’s apparent this is “Title Town.” Everything is green and yellow. Signs, billboards, buildings. You get the feeling if grass wasn’t green, they’d pave the joint with something to fit the approved color palette. And yet, the Packers only play here a max of 10 days each year. Go figure.
The downtown is modest yet classy with some gorgeous architecture. The lake/riverfronts are a neat mix of developed with pathways, restaurants and cool shopping — and beautiful beaches closer to the lake.
Then, there’s Lambeau.
Back at the rink…
The kids again high-fived their fav guys, Grandma was again a nervous wreck, and we all cheered the Sioux onto the ice for the championship game vs. Denver, fried cheese curds in hand (hey, didn’t I say we love Wisconsin?).
Nice shot, Lammy. photo credit: USCHO
The Sioux won, 6 to one, and we all felt like hugging Brad Malone:
They did it. They earned a trip to the Frozen Four. And we were there. The glow of the win and a great family getaway lit our way back across Wisconsin, along with a night sky full of gorgeous stars.
Since then, things have multiplied: We now own 2 condos; There are now 2 more mountains full of ski runs; 1 more hottub in our pool complex. Many more extended family and friend members who join the fun. And we have 3 kids. This year, only 1 joined us in Big Sky. Julia couldn’t be persuaded to miss school. Caroline heard Gram and Gramps were on point to stay with Jules and she was all in. A week with their calm, fun nature and great cooking? Who wouldn’t love it?! Plus they saw the Sioux hockey team play in Grand Forks, then at the Xcel Center for the Final 5.
So Greg, Matt and I went to Big Sky. He’s an excellent only child. But it wasn’t the same without the girls. Even so, some highlights:
The snow was gorgeous. Matt, cousins and friends are all outskiing the older crowd now (damn, ‘knew the day would come…).
Three-fifths of a family vacation was full of happy memories. Now on to a full family vaca!