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Hockey Players Soak Up Rocking Environment


If he had announced the game, John Madden would have circled them with his telestrator.

After Wisconsin defeated Ohio State 4-2, the Wisconsin players performed the Lambeau Leap, displaying the hips-over-the-end-zone-wall form Madden lauds.

"We were perfect," Adam Burish said. "To be able to jump in there and share that with the fans was a special, special moment."

Although Ohio State could not celebrate in the traditional Packers manner, they too enjoyed the experience of playing in front of 40, 890 fans in the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic at Lambeau Field.

"We were proud to come here and play in front of that many people," Ohio State head coach John Markell said. "I recommend to anybody to come back in the same situation."

Along with the Lambeau Leap, Wisconsin coaches and players had another memorable moment. When the stadium stereos boomed House of Pain's "Jump Around" at the beginning of the third period, a part of head coach Mike Eaves wanted to join in with the thousands of bobbing fans.

"I felt my body starting to move a little bit because that's the type of energy that was out there," Eaves said. "It left such an impression on me."

Adding to the environment was that the game was played outside for only the third time in North America on a large-scale. Playing outdoors represented a trip down memory lane for Ohio State's Sean Collins.

"You grow up playing outside when you're a young kid," Collins said. "To be able to play a game outside in front of that many fans at Lambeau Field especially, it was an amazing experience."

The temperatures, which reached 27 degrees at the beginning of the third period, did not present the obstacle some feared. Several Ohio State players did not even wear the thermal gear as planned.

"It wasn't that cold out there," Markell said. "It was very, very pleasant."

Both teams praised the first-class facilities, security escorts and the entire organization of the Green Bay Packers. Equipment Manager Gordon "Red" Batty gave them a tour of the historic stadium.

"It's a wonderful event," Markell said. "It was so professional here."

Although playing in Lambeau had its perks, the magnitude of the event left the Wisconsin team a little nervous at first. As their bus passed by the throngs of tailgaters, the team hushed, taking it all in.

"Guys were nervous," Burish said. "It was a little bit quiet."

When Ohio State exited the tunnel onto Lambeau Field to begin their warmups, the scene also left them in awe.

"When we came out, we saw the entire crowd," Collins said. "It was absolutely packed. It was amazing to walk out to that."

After the game, Wisconsin's mood was more boisterous. Following their Lambeau Leap, Wisconsin continued their celebration in the locker room.

"Unless you were in that dressing room and you're around the whole thing, you can't describe it." Burish said. "I haven't stopped smiling yet since the game ended."

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