Dec. 11, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey program welcomes back both Gary and Brad Winchester, along with 2010 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Blake Geoffrion as honorary captains for this week’s Thursday-Friday home series against Alabama-Huntsville.
The Winchesters will drop the ceremonial first puck before Thursday’s game between the Badgers and Chargers, while Geoffrion will serve on Friday night. As part of the program’s season-long celebration recognizing the 50th season in the modern era of Wisconsin hockey, the Winchesters and Geoffrion return to Madison as the eighth and ninth honorary captains to be recognized at UW home games.
Thursday’s honorary captains, Gary and Brad Winchester were the first of six families in Badger hockey history, along with the Heatleys, to have a father-son combination play at Wisconsin. Leaving a mark in the Badger lineage, the Winchesters stood out on the ice as well.
Gary was a member of the Wisconsin hockey program from 1970-74, where he played in 144 games, scoring 40 goals and 84 points. Winchester tied for UW’s goal-scoring lead with 24 goals in 1972–73, had five hat tricks during his career as a Badger and was a member of UW’s 1973 NCAA championship team. Winchester was selected 121st overall in the eighth round of the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft by the St. Louis Blues. He went on to play in the minors from 1974–76.
Brad skated for Wisconsin from 1999–2003, scoring 37 goals and recording 79 points in 150 games. A member of Wisconsin’s 2000 WCHA and MacNaughton Cup championship team, Brad was selected in the second round (35th overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. During the 2005–06 season, Brad split games between the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, later making his playoff debut in the second game of a series against the No. 1-seeded Detroit Red Wings and scoring the game-winning goal. Winchester continues his NHL career, since totaling seven NHL seasons for the Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks.
Geoffrion has continued to bring cheers to the Kohl Center well after his days as a Badger, as each night fans cheer UW’s first and only Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner from 2010 as part of the pregame video. On Friday, fans will be able to pay homage to the man himself, as Geoffrion takes part in the ceremonial opening faceoff.
A near-storybook season, Geoffrion scored 28 goals and 50 points, leading UW as a tri-captain to the 2010 NCAA Championship game at Ford Field in Detroit. Geoffrion was also honored as a first-team All-American. He finished his four-year Badger career with 55 goals and 114 points in 146 games played.
Drafted in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft with the 56th overall pick by his hometown Nashville Predators, he began his professional career in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals, but eventually made his NHL debut for the Predators to became the first Tennessee native and first fourth-generation player in NHL history. He has since skated for the Montreal Canadiens, playing for the same team all three previous generations skated for.
Geoffrion is currently recovering from an injury sustained Nov. 9, while playing for the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.
A handful of the Geoffrion family will likely be in attendance, as Blake has two brothers (Brice, Sebastian) who play for the UAH Chargers.
Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (CT).