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A Day in the Life of a Wisconsin Women’s Hockey Player

University of Wisconsin-Madison’s women’s hockey is one of the most dominant programs in college sports. In the team’s twenty-year history, the Badgers have won five national championships, the second-most of any school. This success has brought fans out in droves to LaBahn Arena. The team consistently has the highest home attendance in Division I. And their coach? The leading scorer on the most famous US Hockey team in history, Mark Johnson. 

Redshirt sophomore forward Jesse DeVito tells me what a typical day is like in this historic program.

  • POSITION Forward
  • HEIGHT 5-7
  • CLASS Sophomore
  • HIGHSCHOOL Kent School
  • HOMETOWN Rumson, N.J.

10:00 AM: Personal Finance class 

“I am currently a personal finance major, but I am waiting to hear back from business school soon. We typically have most of our classes in the morning. Since we do summer school, we each take about four or five classes during the school year. Summer classes allow us more time to focus on our season during the academic year.” 

The Badgers’ games begin in mid-September and usually don’t end until the final weekend of Division I women’s hockey in March. Being in season for such a long period can take a toll on the student-athletes, so taking summer classes eases the burden of combining their demanding athletic and academic lives. 

1 PM: Head to the rink

After her morning classes, Jesse then goes “to the rink to relax before team lifts. Almost everyone comes to the rink after their class finishes to hang out for a little or do work in the lounge.” 

The team’s home rink, LaBahn Arena, is part of a massive athletic facility for the men’s and women’s hockey teams and the swimming program. The women’s hockey team has access to a comfortable lounge area where they can decompress after class and before practice. The building also includes both a standard locker room containing all the players’ gear and a separate changing room for storing extra clothes and preparing for team lifts. We will hear about the other excellent facilities in the rink as Jesse goes through the rest of her day. 

2:30 PM: Team lift

“We have lift at 2:30, and it lasts about an hour. We lift two to three times per week, and we have access to the strength coach and a few interns who guide us through our workout.”

One of the nicest facilities housed in LaBahn is the weight facility and training room the team can use. The school also provides the program with a fully functional doctor’s office adjacent to the training room.

Photo by UWBadgers.com

3:45 PM: Film and then practice

“After lift, we go back to the locker room and get changed into our gear. At 3:45, we typically have a film session, and then at 4:00, we practice. Practice goes until about 5:30 (depends on the day), and after practice, we get a team meal.”

The film room at LaBahn would probably remind you of a home theater rather than a team meeting room, and head coach Mark Johnson makes use of it every day. On-ice practices are usually not exceptionally long but are up-tempo and are the final piece of the student-athletes’ training program for the day. A well-deserved team meal is served right in the rink facility after practice. 

6:00 PM: Post-practice life

“After team meals, I normally head to the Fetzer Center and do my work there. I go home at 9:00 when it closes and finish some more work if I have it or hang out with my roommates until bedtime.” 

The Fetzer Center is the academic resource center available to the team. Of course, just like everything else the team has access to, it is in the same building as LaBahn Arena. The student-athletes have the ability to finish practice and immediately begin their work; there is no wasted time and energy for these elite competitors.

The Badgers Women’s hockey players have access to a lounge, a state of the art film room, a gym, a training room, a dining hall, a doctor’s office, and the best atmosphere in women’s college hockey—all just one short walk away (or moped ride, which is Jesse’s favorite way to get around campus). 

Interview with Wisconsin’s Head Men’s Ice-hockey Coach, Tony Granato. 

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