The Wisconsin Badgers are coming to Chippewa Falls.
The Badgers men’s hockey team will have a scrimmage against Minnesota Duluth on Sunday, Oct. 3, at Chippewa Area Ice Arena. The two schools on Tuesday officially announced the news, which had previously been reported by the Wisconsin State Journal.
The event, set to begin at 1 p.m., will feature scrimmaging and special teams work, in addition to other possible drills. Tickets will be available for purchase for $10 at Chippewa Area Ice Arena on Wednesday from 5-7 p.m., or online beginning Thursday at Chippewahockey.org. All proceeds will benefit the Chippewa Youth Hockey Association Kids on Ice Endowment Fund.
The NCAA passed a one-year waiver for college hockey teams to play other NCAA foes in exhibitions this season, allowing the Badgers to meet the Bulldogs. Under ordinary circumstances, NCAA teams play Canadian colleges for preseason work.
The exhibition will bring a trio of Badgers back near home. Eau Claire North graduate Sam Stange enters his second year with the Badgers. He’s joined this season by two newcomers, fellow former Husky Zach Urdahl and Altoona native Daniel Laatsch.
“It’s very exciting to get the chance to play our first game with a good amount of fans so close to home,” Stange said in a message. I’ve already had lots of people reaching out and saying they can’t wait for it, which is pretty humbling. We were already eager to start the season and hopefully have more of a normal year this year, but finding out about this scrimmage made it even more special for all the guys with ties to the area.”
For Stange and Urdahl, it will be their first time playing in the area since the two skated for North in 2018-19. Both departed for junior hockey and the United States Hockey League after that season, with Stange graduating and Urdahl leaving a year early.
Laatsch hasn’t played in the Chippewa Valley since 2016-17, his last season with RAM. Since he’s had stops with Green Bay Notre Dame, the U.S. National Team Development Program and the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL.
“It’ll be a lot of fun to play on a big stage so close to home for sure,” Urdahl said in a message. “Really looking forward to playing in front of the Chippewa Valley community again.”
Two Division I powers will converge at Chippewa Area Ice Arena. The Badgers reached the NCAA tournament and earned a No. 1 seed in their region last season, but fell to Bemidji State in the first round. Minnesota Duluth reached the Frozen Four, where it fell to eventual champion UMass 3-2 in the semifinals.
The exhibition will be played just five days before the Badgers kick off their season on Oct. 8 against Michigan Tech.