Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tough Teams And Sportsmen

Tonight I was watching North Dakota vs. Wisconsin from Madison via a FSN-Wisconsin feed. After the first period, they flashed back to a classic bench-clearing brawl between the teams in 1982. This was the one where the arena's beer garden was right next to the teams' benches, so the Sioux players were fighting Badgers and also ended up fighting with some fans. It was started when Badger player John Newberry sprayed the Sioux's Cary Eades with a water bottle, so one of the wildest brawls in college hockey history is simply known by the quaint moniker of "The Water Bottle Game." (Incident recounted here by the Badger stick boy at the time. While the poster might be using an anonymous name, coincidentally the color guy on the broadcast tonight said was the stick boy for that Badger team and pretty much told the same story as on the linked message board.)

Two classic lines from the 1982 Wisconsin play-by-play guy: 1) "They (UND) are fighting everybody! The Badgers, the fans, the cops!" 2) "And North Dakota has done it again!!"

They interviewed current-day Newberry during the intermission also. He said something like: "As I'm nearing fifty, I'd rather be remembered for squirting a water bottle then not to be remembered at all ... I mean 'supposedly' squirting a water bottle."

It should be noted that North Dakota beat favored Wisconsin in the national championship game that year. After the win, Eades skated the championship trophy over in front of the Wisconsin fans. They stood and cheered him and the Sioux.

Tonight it was a nasty game between the two teams. There were some heated moments and things bubbled over late in the third when all of the non-goalies on the ice were going at it. I don't think any punches were thrown, but all ten players were ejected. The announcers in the FSN-WI booth were loving it. The color guy said that if Wisconsin wants to play at the high level that North Dakota does, they need to get some of their nastiness. The play-by-play guy excitedly pointed out that these two teams have a history, giving an excuse to once again show footage of The Water Bottle Game brawl.

After the game ended (Sioux won 3-1), the coaches went for the customary hand shake, then went back towards their teams. I saw Badger coach Mike Eaves turn and say or yell something at Sioux coach Dave Hakstol. They cut to the Sioux congratulating their goalie; then soon enough cut right back to Eaves and Hakstol, who by now were jawing at each other heatedly. Eventually, a Badger assistant stepped in to move Eaves away and the coaches went to their respective corners.

And of course the two teams' players went through with their customary handshake, with the players going over to the opposing coaches for a handshake after.

UPDATE: YouTube of the 1982 "incident", alas no audio. UW in white, UND in green. At about the 1:05 mark ... things are quieting down after the first uproar and then look for UND's Jim Archibald to come charging out of the walkway and attack the Badger bench: