When Wisconsin hosts Ohio State on the second night of a two-game Big Ten conference hockey series Saturday, the Badgers will be doing so in front of a lot of white. No, I'm not talking about snow, but rather, an attempted "white out" at the Kohl Center.
With attendance sagging in recent seasons, the Wisconsin athletic department has been forced to get creative to put butts in the seats. UW offered $5 student-section tickets and a special $11 price on remaining tickets in the 300 level.
So far, so good. The special student tickets for Saturday are sold out, and there remains less than 500 tickets overall in a building with a hockey capacity of 15,359. Spectators attending the game are encouraged to wear white, and will receive a free, white pom-pom to add to the atmosphere.
11,328 paid to see Wisconsin defeat Ohio State Friday night, which was by far the best Friday crowd of the season. Wisconsin entered the weekend averaging just 8,416 on Friday nights through the first seven series of the year.
Saturday's attendance is supposed to be well over 14,000 and could approach sell-out status with a good walk-up crowd. The previous high attendance mark for the season was two Saturdays ago, when 14,273 paid to see Wisconsin sweep Michigan.
Friday's crowd was especially engaged in the game vs. Ohio State, singing songs and chanting throughout the contest. The student section could even be heard through the television broadcast, including a vocal rendition of "Build Me Up, Buttercup" that came through clear on the Big Ten Network.
The Wisconsin coaches and players have made it known in post-game interviews and through social media how much they appreciate the support from the Kohl Center crowd.
"What a great student section," head coach Mike Eaves said on the Big Ten Network in his post-game interview. "It was packed from top to bottom.
"It doesn't go unnoticed," senior Mark Zengerle said after the game. "It's awesome to see that."
Jake McCabe (@McCabe19) January 25, 2014
If you can't make it out to the Kohl Center, the game is being televised on the Fox Sports Wisconsin alternate channel at 7 p.m. CT.
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