What could have been: UWEC athletics

    The simulated men’s hockey championship

    Sam Johnson

    More stories from Sam Johnson

    The Tator
    December 13, 2022

    Photo by SUBMITTED

    All around the world, COVID-19 is affecting athletes’ ability to compete. Numerous events, from the Olympics to March Madness, have been postponed or canceled. 

    This historic sports drought has also affected our own Blugolds men’s hockey team, who were poised to compete in the NCAA tournament.

    With no tournament being held, Blugold hockey fans are forever held in suspense. How far would they have made it? Would they have brought home the 2020 NCAA championship?

    I have never played hockey. I am worse at skating than a newborn baby is at walking. I have seen less than 10 college hockey games in my life. 

    But armed with limited knowledge and unlimited imagination, I will tell you the hypothetical results of the tournament.

    Round one:

    UW-Eau Claire was awarded a first-round bye. Therefore, they were scheduled to face the winner of Lake Forest versus Saint Thomas. I have chosen Saint Thomas as the 2-0 victor of their first game for two reasons.

    The first reason is, they are the underdogs. From my limited recollection of hockey-themed cinema, the underdog always wins. 

    Look at the movie Miracle. The U.S. team was the underdog, and they won.

    In The Mighty Ducks, the underdog Ducks won the big game.

    In every hockey movie I have ever seen, the underdog wins.

    The second reason is that the University of Saint Thomas is located in Minnesota. It is well-known that Minnesotans are better at hockey than everyone except possibly Canadians.

    Round two:

    Saint Thomas was trounced by UW-Eau Claire 7-0.

    Saint Thomas fought hard, but the Blugolds fought harder. Saint Thomas was unable to score a single goal.

    I may have said the underdog always wins, but the Blugolds are an unstoppable force.

    I may also have said Minnesotans are better at hockey, but 12 Blugold players are from Minnesota. 

    UW-Eau Claire’s Minnesotans were the superior Minnesotans.

    Round three:

    UW-Eau Claire faces off against Wesleyan in the semi-finals, where they demolish the Cardinals 12-0. A feat made even more impressive when you find out that Wesleyan went home halfway through the third period.

    Wesleyan is the alma mater of Lin Manuel Miranda, author of “Hamlet” and Michael Bay, director of countless action movies.

    The two were so impressed by UW-Eau Claire’s men’s hockey team that they vowed to work together to make a hip hop musical with an awe-inspiring number of explosions and car chases about the team’s success.


    The Blugolds had a tough game ahead of them. After embarrassing their previous opponents so terribly, they decided to recruit a local middle school team to play alongside them in the championship matchup against Norwich.

    Unfortunately for Norwich, the pre-teens were so inspired by the Blugold spirit they performed at a level never before seen in the sport of hockey.

    UW-Eau Claire obliterated Norwich 67-0. After amassing a 32-0 lead after the first period, the Blugolds pulled their goalie for the remainder of the game.

    This was not enough for Norwich, as they failed to put a single shot on goal.

    It was not their fault, as the Blugolds were the inevitable champions. Not even an NHL all-star team could have scored on them.

    I may not know much about hockey, but I know enough to ensure that this theoretical tournament can never be disproven.

    Johnson can be reached at [email protected]