It's never too early to start thinking ahead when it comes to hockey, the Big Ten reminded fans Thursday evening with the release of the 2016-17 conference men's hockey schedule.
After playing 14 non-conference matchups, the Wisconsin Badgers will open their conference slate Dec. 9 against Michigan in Ann Arbor. After breaking for the holidays, Wisconsin will get its first home Big Ten series beginning Jan. 6 against Michigan State at the Kohl Center.
Of course, this season promises plenty of intrigue for the Badgers, who are eager to see what the Tony Granato era brings. Granato, a former Wisconsin star, became the program's fifth head coach since 1966 upon his introduction in late March. He also found familiar associate head coaches in Mark Osiecki and his younger brother, Don. Granato replaces Mike Eaves, who was fired about two weeks before Granato's hiring was announced. Eaves had been Wisconsin's head coach since the 2002-03 season, compiling a 267-225-66 record and winning the 2006 national championship along the way.
Last season was another disappointing campaign for the Badgers, which obviously prompted athletic director Barry Alvarez to pull the plug on Eaves' tenure at UW. Wisconsin finished with its second consecutive losing season (8-19-8, 3-13-4 Big Ten) after a first-round Big Ten tournament loss to Penn State. Over the past two seasons, Wisconsin's overall record was 12-45-13.
One highlight of the 2016-17 schedule will be the Badgers' trip to New York on Jan. 28, when they will participate in the "Super Saturday - College Hoops and Hockey" doubleheader at the famed Madison Square Garden. After the men's basketball team faces Rutgers, the men's hockey team will play Ohio State.
Wisconsin will cap its regular season at the Kohl Center the weekend of March 10, also against Ohio State. The 2017 Big Ten tournament will be held in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena from March 16-18.
|Oct. 7||Northern Michigan||Green Bay, Wis.||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 8||Northern Michigan||Green Bay, Wis.||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 14||Boston College||TBA|
|Oct. 16||Boston College||TBA|
|Oct. 21||U.S. Under-18 Team||TBA|
|Oct. 28||St. Lawrence||Canton, NY||TBA|
|Oct. 29||Clarkson||Potsdam, NY||TBA|
|Nov. 4||Northern Michigan||TBA|
|Nov. 5||Northern Michigan||TBA|
|Nov. 18||Merrimack College||TBA|
|Nov. 19||Merrimack College||TBA|
|Nov. 25||Colorado College||Colorado Springs, CO||TBA|
|Nov. 26||Denver||Denver, CO||TBA|
|Dec. 2||Nebraska Omaha||TBA|
|Dec. 3||Nebraska Omaha||TBA|
|Dec. 9||Michigan||Ann Arbor, MI||TBA|
|Dec. 10||Michigan||Ann Arbor, MI||TBA|
|Jan. 6||Michigan State||TBA|
|Jan. 7||Michigan State||TBA|
|Jan. 26||Ohio State||Columbus, OH||TBA|
|Jan. 28||Ohio State||New York, NY||TBA|
|Feb. 3||Michigan State||East Lansing, MI||TBA|
|Feb. 4||Michigan State||East Lansing, MI||TBA|
|Feb. 10||Penn State||TBA|
|Feb. 11||Penn State||TBA|
|Feb. 24||Minnesota||Minneapolis, MN||TBA|
|Feb. 25||Minnesota||Minneapolis, MN||TBA|
|March 3||Penn State||Park, PA||TBA|
|March 4||Penn State||Park, PA||TBA|
|March 10||Ohio State||TBA|
|March 11||Ohio State||TBA|