By: Ann McMullen
On October 2nd, Minnesota and Chicago’s NHL teams faced off at the Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee.
Although this was a preseason game, it was still of great importance to the teams, the fans, and the league as a whole. According to the Blackhawks’ president of business operations, over 80% of ticket sales were to Wisconsin residents, despite Milwaukee’s close proximity to Chicago.
Some fans are hopeful that a Milwaukee arena hosting a game could be the first step towards a professional hockey team there, while others are just happy to see the sport successfully spreading to other major cities.
Either way, considering this was the first NHL game in Wisconsin’s biggest city, in nearly 30 years, Milwaukee citizens and travelers alike enjoyed lots of festivities surrounding the game. These included exclusive merchandise, tailgating, and discounts on lots of local food and drinks.
The game itself was spectacular as well — from a Wild fan’s standpoint, at least. Minnesota scored 3 goals, beginning with two short handed ones in the second period of play. The final goal was scored midway through the third period, with both teams at full power.
Fans from both sides enjoyed watching Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury play the entire game, as the highly acclaimed athlete actually played for Chicago the previous season. Fleury was able to block all 12 shots from his former team, leading the Minnesota Wild to a shutout and their fourth consecutive win of the preseason.
Despite disappointment regarding the score from some Blackhawks fans, this “home-away-from-home” game was a great success. Whether or not a professional hockey team is ever implemented in Wisconsin, I hope the National Hockey League will continue to host games in other major cities in North America, and beyond, and further expand the sport’s fan base.