Greening up Green Bay | NCAA Hockey Regionals

I’ve always dreamed of going to Green Bay. In November. Wearing my purple Vikings jersey for a game at hallowed Lambeau.

Yet March is good, wearing Sioux green. When the NCAA men’s hockey regional tournaments were announced and the UND Sioux were selected for the Midwest Regional at Green Bay’s Resch Center,  we were all game to go. So were Gram and Gramps. Auntie Terri. And cousin Michael.

Checking out the "other" sports site in town.

Sioux Saturday

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?) .

Jules and Caroline, ready for their 5th Sioux game in a row (2 in GF, 2 in St Paul, now in GBay) ~ Lucky ladies!
Matt in position to high-five his fav guys as they enter the rink
The girls stake out their position to high-five the Sioux

R.I.P., RPI

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: Times Union
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.
 
I love this photo. It shows the surprise, emotion and win some, lose some that I adore about sports. photo credit: Kalamazoo Gazette

 

 
 
Sweet suite
We stayed at the Cambria Suites in downtown Green Bay. Nice, especially the breakfast buffet with made-to-order omelettes.
 
 
Sioux-perstitions
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…
Play a few games at Gram, Gramps, Terri and Michaels hotel {youll have to ask T & M about their evening...}
 
Start drinking before noon. Root Beer for our littlest Sioux fan, who knows a whole lot more about hockey than I ever will!
Dining at the Tilted Kilt, watching the replay of the Sat Sioux game. The kids got to see themselves on TV (ah, vanity...)
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.

This pretty much captures the GB mentality throughout town.

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.

Mr. Lombardi still stands as a sentry. I swear hes smiling at his trophy also being back in town.
You can feel the history, pride and echoes of heartbreak and roar of victory. I loved visiting this crown jewel of the NFL with all its palpable history.

Championship game

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:

 
 
After the Sioux won, 6 - 1, we all felt like hugging Brad Malone. photo credit: USCHO
 
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.
 
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