How Far Back Do You Go With The Admirals?

I love listening to Wojo talk.

Which is good, because he likes to talk….but I especially enjoy hearing him tell stories about many of the earlier days of the organization.  Stories that I know next to nothing about due to my relative newness to the region.

So with that in my mind, I wanted to ask all of our friends at the Roundtable how far back you go with the team.  What was it that sparked your interest?  Who were some of your early favorite players?  And what keeps you coming back season after season?

My story:  I grew up in Maryland as a Washington Capitals fan, and came to college out here in Milwaukee starting in the fall of 97.  I attended my first Admirals games that season, and recognized some of the names right away, as they had been in the Caps organization in the not too distant past.  Ken Sabourin, Jeff Nelson, and Martin Gendron made it easy for me to jump on the bandwagon right away.  Al Sims was the coach.   And as a poor college kid, it was easy to afford tickets….at the time, I think it was the last two rows of the upper deck that were just $5.  I’d come to games with friends, and sometimes I’d come by myself and just move to various seats over the course of the game (I did more of the latter, to be quite honest).

The night before an 8am final exam, I convinced myself that it’d be okay to go to a playoff hockey game.  “I’ll study during the intermissions,” was my reasoning.  Uh-huh.  Sure.  That didn’t happen.  Game went to double or triple overtime too…I don’t remember which.  As for the exam…there weren’t any flying colors, but I passed.  That night was the first all-nighter of my college career, thanks to my superior time management skills…. But looking back on it, no regrets.  It was a hell of a game.

So that’s how it started for me.  I go back 14 years.  I’m sure many of you have me beat.  I encourage you to share some of your stories and favorite memories, as we pass some time this week waiting on the schedule.

13 thoughts on “How Far Back Do You Go With The Admirals?”

  1. I think I just mentioned this a couple of threads below…but here it is again. We (my girlfriend, Loni, and I) have been following for 2.5 seasons, which is sad because we’ve both lived in the Milwaukee area our whole lives (I’m 27 and she’s 29). It all came down to hockey illiteracy, I was part of the “I know nothing about hockey, therefore it sucks” crowd.

    Our first game was strictly out of boredom and not being able to find anything better to do. My off day rotation was coming up and it was my turn to find something to do, and that’s no easy task at the end of January in Wisconsin, most chicks don’t dig ice fishing for date night! So to get to the point, I saw the Admirals were in town that night and I asked her if she would want to check out a game. It was my first game in probably 15 years, and it was her first game…ever! Despite not knowing a DAMN thing, we had a great time and loved every minute of it. Before leaving the Bradley Center we were already making plans to come to the next home game.

    That’s pretty much my history, after that game I dove head first into hockey and learned as much about the game as fast as my brain could process it. We’re now (half) season ticket holders and I even got my brother into it too!

  2. Come a long way’s since that Scout night, about 1971 in the cold wooden pull out bleachers of Wilson Park! I have Cheered players like Berry, Bakovic, Damphousse, Davis (Box Car), Flesch, Gamble, Kennedy, Kidd, Lecours, Mackey, Mason, O’Reilly, Preston, Sirois, St. Sauveur, Stafford, Tootoo, Trottier, Upshall, Valimont, Wittliff, Yakiwchuk, Yonkman, and Zanon. Trough great Tittle Years and dark days, For-fitting the playoffs, Phil’s run in with the lumbers truck, Black-hawk year. I honer Good Old Time Hockey by wearing a Captain Crunch jersey. It’s A Fine Day For Hockey so Let’s Pucker Up for More Bang More Puck…

  3. Hockey memories start with watching the Badgers on tape delay with my Dad and Paul Braun doing the play by play. Back to that in a bit.

    My first Admirals games were in the 85-86 season watching the likes of Danny Lecours and Dale Yakiwchuk tie for the team lead with 101 points and a firey little guy named Derek ‘Boxcar’ Davis accrue 328 PM’s. Dale Yakiwchuk was 2nd on the team with 265!

    Favorite moment that got me hooked forever –
    Richard Zemlak homing in on an opposing blueliner on the forecheck, puts said player THRU the glass, spins and fires the puck all in the same motion from just above the goaline in the right corner and BEATS the goalie from that impossible angle. Back to that Badger connection. Jimmy Johannson, who played for the Ads that year, was on that same Badger squad I watched with my Dad in 1983 win the NCAA’s. Chris Chelios, who played for the Wolves two years ago, was on that Badger team!

    My future wife got hooked on hockey when I took her to a couple of games at Wilson Park during the 87-88 season. Now the Admirals sucked that year, but she was hooked after watching the boys in such a close environment as the Wilson ice was. Quite a few years later, we’re still watching the boys 4 rows from the glass.

  4. I don’t remember the year, but I attended my first game when I was 7 or 8 maybe? I don’t remember when it was, just that my dad took me to a game. I think I made it through two periods and then we left (because it was late). Been going ever since! I remember watching some decent teams with guys like Ian Kidd, Carl Valimont, Jeff Rohlicek, Peter Bakovic, Troy Gamble, and then moving up to some even better teams with Gino Cavallini, Sylvain Couturier, Steve Tuttle, Tony Hrkac, Mike Tomlak…..

    Greatest memory aside from the Calder Cup win… the Shawn Antoski / Steve Martensen fight

    There was also the one game where there was a black ref, I think his name was Martin. I don’t even remember what happened, just that the game was called terribly. The entire arena ended up littering the rink with soda cups, beer cups, food, etc.

  5. Update on my story lol… first game I went to was in 1986-87. I was in kindergarten. It was souvenir puck night. I brought the puck in for show and tell :)

  6. Well, im 20 and i have been following them for 20 years as my Uncle, Aunt and Mother have had season tickets since the second season the Admirals ever played. Mom said i started regularly attending around 3 months old and ive rarely missed a game since. I was a big fan of Gino Cavallini and Steve Tuttle back in elementary and can still remember LaForest (i think?) charging down the ice and jumping on the pile. I literally grew up watching Admirals hockey. Now im living on my own and commute from Fond Du Lac for every game with my family! Looking forward to my 21st season in a little over a month!

  7. I moved to Milwaukee in the late summer of 1981. Lawrencia Bambenek was all over the newspapers. I met a young woman at school. We went on a few dates and to a Halloween party. I suggested going to an Admirals game at the Mecca Arena. The opponent was Toledo, a team I hated from my Ohio days. It was a wild game with a bunch of goals and a few fights. Danny Lecours, Fred Berry and John Flesch were the big scorers on the team. The next season we went to several games as the team went to the finals and lost to Claude Noel and those bums from Toledo! We got married and bought Flexiplan tickets the next few years. When the BC opened we split season tickets with another family. After they moved, we went to full season tickets.

    We were at the Derek Martin game when the fans rioted over the bad officiating. The coach (Fraser?) was ejected in the second period. We were at the Antoski fight in the penalty box game. Fans talked about that one for years. Gino Cavallini joined the team. The Village People played before a sellout crowd against Peoria in 1994. The Admirals killed the Detroit Vipers in a big game, the score was around 10-3. Detroit and Milwaukee were both division champs that season.

    We went to San Diego on vacation in 1995 and the Admirals showed up to play the Gulls in the playoffs. We didn’t go to Game 3, which had 2 OTs. We did go to Game 4 and the Admirals carefully won 3-2 in the last SD Gulls home game in IHL history. There were dozens of Milwaukee fans at the game. We out cheered the locals in the third period. Both kids received pucks from the game. I got a photo of Gino coming off the ice after the warm up session. I gave him a copy of the picture about 10 years ago at a season ticket holders party. Tony Hrkac came back and led the team to a regular season championship and the Calder Cup in 2004. Back to the finals in 2006, but the team was too small to win against Hershey.

  8. This next season will be my 5th as an off-ice official with the team. However, I do remember watching games back home in Wisconsin Dells when they were on channel 24 or whatever. I remember practicing hockey in the basement, while watching the IHL Admirals on a black and white tv. A few years after that, I would make the trip down to Milwaukee a few times for games, especially when there was wrestling involved. Only hockey related thing I involved is loving Bubba Berenzweig.

    Moved out of state for awhile, and came back as the Admirals were in the 2006 playoffs. Kept wanting to get to a game, but never did make it. I’m sorry, I could have been the difference. Via a very unethical US Bank email, I was invited to come out to a pre-season game and show my stuff as a statistician…and the rest is history. Looking back, I would have never dreamed of working as a goal judge in professional hockey, or opening the penalty box for NHL heavyweights. I chased an NHL dream season before last and worked a couple preason games and about 5 regular season games as a Predators Off-Ice Official before getting the rug pulled out from under me. A sheisty move that I’m still bitter about. Thankfully, the Admirals Off-Ice crew welcomed me back with open arms this last year, and I couldn’t be happier to be back in Milwaukee.

  9. Wasn’t a hockey fan at all but when I was in 8th grade my dad got 4 free tickets to an Admirals game. We were debating whether or not we wanted to go when we decided against it but it was a boring winter night so last minute we changed our minds and decided to go. My dad, two brothers and me headed to the Bradley Center. The Ads were playing the Wolves in front of a big crowd, probably about 13,000 there from what I remember. The Admirals lost but I was hooked on the game and have been a fan ever since.

  10. I don’t remember the exact year. Had to be 90′ or 91′ I was 10 or 11 years old when I went to my first hockey game where the Admirals played the Phoenix Roadrunners. We sat in section 204 and I was hooked on hockey ever since

  11. Never got to watch the Admirals but a very good friend of mind played with them. Derek “box” Davis had a few good years with them. He would sometimes give me a call a two or three in the morning while out partying in Milwaukee,he loved it there. He passed away while travelling from Flin Flon to Edmonton in a vehicle accident. He’s still remembered and missed.

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