The University of Wisconsin Women’s Hockey team made history — again.
The team won its seventh national title on Sunday in a major upset, beating the Ohio State Buckeyes, the top ranked team of the season and the 2022 defending NCAA champions. The Badgers now lead Minnesota with the most national titles of all time in the Frozen Four.
“You look at the other players that have come through this program and done some amazing things,” said Britta Curl, captain of the Badgers and a senior who has now played in three championship seasons.
Stay informed on the latest news
Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.
“And just to be able to contribute to that legacy a little bit is something that I’ll definitely hold close to my heart and be proud of for the rest of my life,” Curl continued.
The hockey players faced off at the Amsoil Arena in Duluth, Minnesota. Freshman forward Kirsten Simms scored the winning goal — her 16th of the season — with the assist of Claire Enright.
Notably, the game marked the first time all season Ohio State failed to score a goal.
On Monday night, fans cheered on the team as they entered the LaBahn Arena in Madison to celebrate the historic win. More than 100 people came out decked in red and white to support the players. UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin made an appearance.
Senior goalie Cami Kronish, recognized as the Frozen Four’s most outstanding player, received a standing ovation.
“I can’t believe this is reality. I’m just the happiest person,” she told the crowd, thanking them for their support.
Wisconsin Head Coach Mark Johnson said the team showed what they’re capable of, despite the rough bumps along the road.
“I think if you don’t go through adversity through the season, you don’t become the best version of what you’re capable of becoming,” he said.
Remarkably, he said, the Badgers were the lowest seed that has ever won the tournament.
Susan LaBelle, a former UW instructor, said she and her husband have been ticket season holders for the last five years.
“They’re amazing to watch. There’s no two ways about it. They are astounding,” LaBelle said.
Josh Cutler is another loyal fan who had season tickets for the last several years.
“It’s just really exciting,” he said. “We were screaming in my living room, yelling at the TV. And we all jumped around.”
Back in the locker room, Johnson told the press he never takes for granted the relationship between the players in the program and the community, describing it as “unique and special.”
Freshman defenseman Caroline Harvey said the team was hungry for a win, especially with an underdog mentality.
“You get that fire in you and you just want to win that much more,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, and to have a national championship under our belt just in the first year is pretty incredible to say the least. But we obviously aren’t done yet. And we want many more to come.”
Trustworthy news, world-class music and Wisconsin stories … made possible by people like you.
Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2024, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.