The UBC Thunderbirds are excited to host one of the premiere NCAA Division I hockey programs when the Wisconsin Badgers come to Vancouver for a pair of exhibition games August 30th and September 1st.
The series will mark the first time the T-Birds face an NCAA opponent in six years.
“It’s a huge honour for us, we’ve been working on this for a long time now,” said UBC head coach Sven Butenschon who is preparing for his fourth season in charge of the Thunderbirds program. “To get an NCAA powerhouse like Wisconsin is going to be super fun and the fact they have (Alex) Turcotte and (Cole) Caufield, two high picks from this year’s NHL draft, there will be a lot of fans in Vancouver that can get to see what some of the future holds.”
One of the most recognizable and successful programs in United States college hockey history, the Badgers are six-time national champions and have made 12 Frozen Four appearances. Led by former NHL player and coach Tony Granato, the Badgers are looking forward to what promises to be an exciting season ahead, starting with their trip to UBC.
“UBC is a great program, and going to a hockey mecca, where some of our guys were just picked in the NHL draft, is going to be a great experience to kick off the year,” said Granato who enters his fourth season behind the Badgers’ bench. “We’re young, so we are always looking for team bonding experience to get to know each other and to have some fun.”
The Thunderbirds themselves are aiming to create some chemistry as the team is expected to ice seven or eight new pieces for this coming season, one of the larger recruiting classes in recent memory.
“It will be very interesting to see how the new guys adapt,” added Butenschon who will be able to use the high quality opposition to evaluate and prepare for the coming Canada West season. “It’ll be important to get a lot done in that first week of training camp leading up to playing the Badgers.”
The first of the two-game exhibition series will be held Friday, August 30th at Father Bauer Arena with a 7:00 p.m. PT puck drop. The final game is set for 4:00 p.m. PT on Sunday, September 1st, also at Father Bauer. Tickets will be available at the door only and admission will be by donation with a suggested price of $5 each.