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Minnesota and Wisconsin Hockey alums to face off in Hockey Day Minnesota game

Border Battle Weekend will see the alums get into the spirit too!

Matt Koalska will look to score on Wisconsin once again Friday night

While the current Gopher and Badger Hockey teams will be facing off in a key Big Ten series in Madison this weekend, several alums of the two schools will be getting ready for their own border battle. As one of the events associated with the annual Hockey Day Minnesota event, a team of former Gophers will take on a team of former Badgers on a rink outside at Lowell Park in Stillwater.

The event was the brainchild of former Badgers Tom Sagissor who now lives in Stillwater and current Stillwater High School coach Matt Doman, a former Badger forward. They got a hold of current Gopher assistant coach Grant Potulny who reached out to Gopher alum Bill Kohn who pulled together the group of Gophers to play in the game.

"Both teams are going to be loaded up with ego and pride, and I don't think anybody is going to leave anything out on the ice after the game," said former Badgers forward Tom Sagissor, one of the event organizers to Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal. "I think it's going to be a lot of pride and a lot of fun. At the end of the game, everybody's going to shake hands and go have a beer. But I think it'll be a chance for us to really enjoy the spirit of the rivalry."

The Gopher alums seem to agree. Johnny Pohl told "It's going to be really cool. Selfishly, for me, it's just going to be great to spend a night with my college buddies.”

"Now, when you throw on top of it the fact that it's Gophers vs. Badgers, possibly toward the end it could get more competitive than an alumni game probably should get. That's definitely a possibility."

Both teams will be stacked with a mix of alums from the 1980s through the 2000s. Several members of both the Badgers 1990 and 2006 National Champion teams and the Gophers 2002 and 2003 Champion teams will be playing in the game. It will also feature several former NHL players including most notably Adam Burish and Sean Hill from Wisconsin and Jordan Leopold and Keith Ballard from the Gophers. The Gophers will have 11 players who played at least one game in the NHL on their squad, while Wisconsin will have seven.

Both teams will be coached by legends at thier respective schools. Wisconsin will be coached by former coach Jeff Sauer. Meanwhile Minnesota will have four men behind the bench—Former Gopher player and long time assistant coach Bill Butters, fofer Gopher defenseman Jim Boo, former Gopher Director of Hockey operations Mark Bahr, and Gopher legend Lou Nanne. Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leopold will also spend time on both teams benches.

Gopher fans will be the most excited to see eight former members of the 2002 National Champions back on the ice, including Pohl, Leopold, Pat O’Leary, and the Polish Leaper himself, Matt Koalska. You can bet Potulny would be on the ice too if he wouldn’t be trying to get his current Gopher team a victory in Madison.

The complete rosters for both teams are below:


  • Mike Anderson, F, 1982-86
  • Nick Angell, D, 1999-2002
  • Keith Ballard, D 2002-04
  • Reggie Berg C, 1995-99
  • Scott Bjugstad, C, 1980-83
  • Jay Cates, C, 1986-88
  • Joe Dziedzic, W, 199-94
  • Bobby Dustin, W, 1993-96
  • Ben Hankinson, RW, 1988-91
  • Chris Harrington, D, 2003-06
  • Danny Hendrickson, W, 1993-97
  • Matt Koalska, C, 2001-04
  • Bill Kohn, D, 1997-99
  • Ryan Kraft, W, 1994-98
  • Jordan Leopold, D, 1999-2002
  • Tony Lucia, W, 2007-10
  • Chris McAlpine, D, 1991-94
  • Justin McHugh, W, 1991-95
  • Eric Means, D, 1989-94
  • Jeff Moen, G, 1993-96
  • Tom Newman, G, 1990-93
  • Pat O'Leary, W, 1999-2002
  • Lance Pitlick, D, 1987-90
  • John Pohl, C, 1999-2002
  • Troy Riddle, W, 2001-04
  • Nico Sacchetti, C, 2009
  • Erik Wendell, W, 1999-2002
  • Erik Westrum, C, 1998-2001


  • Mark Bahr, University of Minnesota Director of Hockey Operations
  • Jim Boo, former Gophers and Minnesota North Stars defenseman
  • Bill Butters, former Gophers, North Stars and St. Paul Fighting Saints defenseman
  • Lou Nanne, former Gophers defenseman and former North Stars defenseman, coach and general manager


  • Rob Andringa, D, 1987-91
  • Mark Baranczyk, G, 1999-2002
  • Joe Bianchi, C, 1994-98
  • Dan Bjornlie, W, 1996-2000
  • Dan Boeser D 2000-04
  • Adam Burish, F, 2002-06
  • Ted Carlson, D, N/A
  • Jeff Dessner, D, 1997-2001
  • Mike Doers, W, 1991-94
  • Matt Doman, W, 1998-2002
  • Davis Drewiske, D, 2004-08
  • Kelly Fairchild, C, 1991-94
  • John Funk, W, 2002-05
  • Jeff Henderson, G, 2005-09
  • Sean Hill, D, 1988-91
  • Dustin Kuk, W, 1996-2000
  • Woody Levin, F, N/A
  • T.R. Moreau, W, 1996-99
  • Matt Murray, C/W, 1998-2002
  • Dan Plante, W, 1990-93
  • Paul Ranheim, W, 1984-88
  • Jay Reimers, D, N/A
  • Barry Richter, D/W, 1989-93
  • Tom Sagissor, W, 1986-90
  • Jamie Spencer, C, 1991-95
  • Mike Strobel, W, 1991-96
  • David Tanabe, D, 1998-99


Jeff Sauer, former Badgers head coach

It should be a great event, and it sounds like it will go on rain or shine. The evening will begin with a police vs fire game at 4, followed by the Minnesota Whitecaps Women’s Professional team featuring several former Gophers including Hannah Brandt taking on the Korean National Team at 6:00. The Gophers and Badger alums will then face-off at 7:30.

This is just the warmup for the main Hockey Day Minnesota event on Saturday. The Stillwater rink will feature three high school games all aired on Fox Sports North before the Gophers and Badgers play at 5:00 PM. Finally the night is capped off with the Minnesota Wild hosting the Anaheim Ducks at 8:00.