Friday night (4-15-16) a forbidden union will come to an end, sorta… that will be the end of a regular season era for professional hockey at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. After the Calder Cup playoffs this season the Milwaukee Admirals will play all of their home games across the street at the Milwaukee Panther Arena (their home from 1973 – 88).
The reason for the move is that after 28 years of generosity put forth by Milwaukee’s only professional hockey team to share the facilities built for them, with the Milwaukee Bucks has come to an end. The Bucks brass have turned their noses up to the Admirals and are not letting them play their home games in the New Bucks Arena when it is completed in 2018. Keep in mind when the Bucks were looking to improve on their deteriorating facilities in 1988 the Pettit’s answered their phone, a welcomed Bango and company with open arms.
The first event at the Bradley Center (10-1-1988) was a pre-season NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers Chicago Black Hawks, because that is what the Jane Bradley Pettit intended the arena to be for…hockey, and that is also why the upper bowl is larger and has more seating than the lower bowl. I was there for the that game, my dad got tickets somehow, he, his dad, and a close family friend went, we sat in the last row of Section 225 in the lower bowl. The seats were awesome, we were on the corner, plenty of leg room and zero seats behind us. I also remember the huge buzz leading up to the game, because Milwaukee hockey fans were going to be able to see “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky live, in person and in action… but then Edmonton traded him to Los Angles on August 9th. It’s still an awesome memory, one I’ll never forget, my first NHL game..
I have fond memories of Admiral games at the BC (Bradley Center), taking dates there, hanging with friends, or just something to do on a weekend in the dead of winter in the ice box we call Wisconsin. The Admirals will always have a special place in my heart for they were the first team to issue me media credentials, having covered them now since 1991. Some of my fondest memories are how loud Admiral fans got during the team’s “hey day” in the mid 90’s when both levels would be filled, and names like Gino Cavallini, Tony Hrkac , carved up the ice, with Mark “Trees” LaForest in goal. Not to mention the Calder Cup Championship 2004.
Here are some all-time stats (prior to 4-15-16) for the true Admiral “Puck Heads,” enjoy:
Admirals Record at the Bradley Center: 1,112 Games, 634-357-17-32-73 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL)
Admirals Playoff Record at the BC: 97 games, 48-49
Total Admirals Attendance at the Bradley Center: 7,784,884 (as of 4/14/2016)
First Admirals game: October 2, 1988 Exhibition Game vs. Team Canada. Admirals lost 5-4
First Admirals regular season game: Friday, October 7, 1988 vs. Salt Lake Golden Eagles
Admirals won 6-5, Head Coach was Rick Ley
Final Regular Season Home Game: Friday, April 15, 2016 vs. Bakersfield Condors, 7 pm
Admirals Leaders during the Bradley Center Existence:
Games: Mike McNeill, 442 (1992-98)
Points: Tony Hrkac, 320 (1994-97, 2003-05)
Goals: Gino Cavallini, 139 (1993-96)
Penalty Minutes: Ken Sabourin, 1233 (1993-98)
(Stats: Milwaukee Admirals Press Release)
Friday night should be a BLAST…if there is one thing you can count on is the Admirals putting on a party…so if you don’t already have tickets, give them a call or just walk on up, the puck drops at 7pm.
(photos courtesy of: milwaukee admirals, on milwaukee)
ROSTER CARD FROM 10-1-88