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Lots of news in Badger hockey world

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Burish wins Stanley Cup; Geoffrion, Stepan sign NHL contracts; Ramage invited to World Junior camp; Joudrey wins Calder Cup


Five people with ties to the Wisconsin men's hockey program - a combination of former and current student-athletes - have been in the news of late, and there is great reason to be happy for all of them.


First off, Adam Burish and his Chicago Blackhawks teammates reached the pinnacle of the hockey world when the team won game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals with an overtime goal in Philadelphia. That victory, on an overtime winner by Patrick Kane that nobody but Kane actually knew went in the net, gave Chicago its first Stanley Cup victory in 49 years. Burish now boasts a somewhat rare double that includes NCAA and Stanley Cup titles. He also brings another Cup title home to Madison.

Surely the news most directly impacting the 2010-11 Badgers is the early departure of junior-to-be center Derek Stepan. Named an assistant captain for next season, Stepan decided to pass on his final two years of collegiate eligibility and take his game to the next level. Wisconsin's leading scorer last season was one of three players in the nation to average better than an assist per game. And in one of those annual end-of-season quirks in college hockey, was completely absent with regards to individual league and national honors. The former Badger star opened eyes when he led Team USA in scoring as captain and led the team to the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal. Stepan is a fantastic person with obvious leadership abilities who will be sorely missed in the Badger locker room. He will be a great addition to the New York Rangers organization.


Another former Badger signing an NHL contract over the past couple of weeks is Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Blake Geoffrion. Having spent the past two weeks in the New York area myself, his signing has been covered even in the local media there. Among some of the places I've read about the signing included CNNSI.com.


As the first Tennessee native to ever sign an NHL contract, Geoffrion would have been breaking ground. It just happens that his hometown Nashville Predators drafted the All-American and so the hometown boy did good.


He also happened to sign his contract at his elementary school, as this video shows.

It seems strange to bury what a current Badger is up to, but that is just how this worked out. Sophomore-to-be John Ramage has been invited by USA Hockey to the 2010 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp this summer in Lake Placid, N.Y. He will be among 44 players auditioning for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2010-Jan. 5, 2011, in Buffalo, N.Y. Ramage was a part of last year's gold medal-winning American squad, along with Badgers' Jake Gardiner and Stepan, as well as former UW assistant coach Mark Osiecki.


The NHL draft runs June 25-26 from Los Angeles and Ramage is among the players who may be drafted over the two days.


Lastly, in addition to a Badger winning the Stanley Cup, another Badger won the Calder Cup, which goes to the winning team of the American Hockey League playoffs. Former UW center Andrew Joudrey, a former teammate of Stanley Cup champion Burish, helped the Hershey Bears capture their second consecutive league title. Hershey is the AHL affiliate for the NHL's Washington Capitals.

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