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Wisconsin Honors Legendary Coach

Photo: Nicole Haase
Photo: Nicole Haase

Kohl Center Ice Surface To Be Named After 'Badger Bob' Johnson

In the fall of 2012, the University of Wisconsin will unveil what head coach Mike Eaves has coined the 'final jewel' of the program when the LaBahn Arena practice facility opens.

The facility, which is currently being built adjacent to the Kohl Center will be used as a game facility for the women, as well as a practice facility for both hockey programs.

That of course means that the men's program will no longer be using the practice facility attached to the Coliseum which is named after Bob Johnson.

Many supporters of the program have pondered how the school can continue to honor the three time national championship winning coach after LaBahn opens it's doors.

Monday morning the University answered that question when they announced that the Kohl Center ice sheet will be named after Johnson. The playing surface in the 15,237 seat Kohl Center will now be named the "Bob Johnson Rink" in honor of the legendary coach.

"It is a tremendous pleasure for our department to be able to name the Kohl Center ice for Bob Johnson," UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said. "I would like to thank the former Badger hockey players, as well as several other individuals, whose generosity has made this announcement possible. It is a well-deserved recognition of a Badger legend."

22 former Badgers made gift donations to the University to secure the naming rights. Steve Alley who was one of those players talked about what it meant to honor his former coach.

"The Bob Johnson naming of the ice surface at the Kohl Center is a well-deserved tribute to our legendary coach," said Alley, a UW hockey letterwinner from 1972-77. "This is something that the UW hockey program, alums, and fans can be proud of. Coach Johnson is not only the father of Wisconsin hockey, but is also a true international icon in the sport. Our alumni group proudly rallied around the Bob Johnson naming in support of the LaBahn Arena project as Bob is the unforgettable 'tie that binds' us all together. He was one of a kind!"

Johnson was at the helm in Madison for 15 years. He led Wisconsin to 7 NCAA tournaments and won 3 championships.

After moving on to the NHL, Johnson coached the Pittsburgh Penguins to the 1991 Stanley Cup.

Johnson also coached the 1976 United States Olympic team.

Badger Bob is a member of the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame, the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

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