Green Bay Gamblers
|Green Bay Gamblers|
|City||Green Bay, Wisconsin|
|Home arena||Resch Center|
Black, Yellow, White
|Owner(s)||PMI Entertainment Group|
|General manager||Pat Mikesch (2014-15)|
|Head coach||Pat Mikesch (2014-15)|
|1994–present||Green Bay Gamblers|
- 1 History
- 2 Accomplishments
- 3 Alumni
- 4 Head coaches
- 5 10th anniversary team
- 6 20th Anniversary team
- 7 Home rinks
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Early History of Hockey in Green Bay
The history of organized hockey in Green Bay has been dated as far back as 1916 when the first regular amateur hockey team in Green Bay started playing games on the Fox River against a similar team from De Pere. The team only ever played games against the team from De Pere and in 1917 the team broke up when the First World War broke out. Organized hockey resumed in 1919 when the Green Bay Skating Club was formed and six team hockey league was created. All six teams were based in Green Bay and all games were played outdoors at Legion Park. Five of the teams were named after local business including The Northern Paper Mills and The Press Gazette Seven. The one exception was The Overlands, who were named after the Overland Automobile. The league lasted for two years with the Northern Paper Mills dominating both years and only losing once to the Press Gazette Seven. The Press Gazette Seven were also notable for once playing a game that ended after six overtimes in a 0-0 draw. Another notable moment in Green Bay hockey history is when a local club challenged the University of Wisconsin varsity hockey team to a two game set in Green Bay. The Badgers won the first game, which was played in temperatures as low as 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, with of score of 3-2. The also won the second game, which was played in thawing conditions, with a score of 1-0. Conditions like these were normal and up until 1958, all hockey games in Green Bay were played outdoors. The first notable team to play in Green Bay was the Green Bay Hornets, an amateur team founded in 1947.
Green Bay Bobcats
The first professional hockey team to be based in Green Bay was the Green Bay Bobcats who started playing in 1958 when the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena was built. There is some confusion over what league the team played in during its early years or if the team played in multiple leagues. Some sources cite that the Bobcats played in the U.S. Central Hockey League, a predecessor to the current United States Hockey League (USHL). Other sources claim that the Bobcats did not start playing in the USCHL until 1961. Still other sources have claimed that the team was an independent team during its early years and therefore not formally part of any league. However, there are multiple clippings from Green Bay newspapers and Bobcat game programs from 1958 and 1959 claiming that the Bobcats played the 1958-1959 hockey season primarily in the Mid-America Hockey League, a Midwestern based semi-professional hockey league, however the team played multiple games against teams that were outside of this league as well. Little is known about the Mid-America Hockey League except that the 1958-1959 season was contested by five teams, the Green Bay Bobcats, the Marquette Sentinels, the Portage Lake Pioneers, and two other teams from Sault St. Marie and Calumet and each team played 24 games over the course of the season.
The first Green Bay Bobcats practice ever held was on November 1, 1958. The first game played by the team was on November 29, 1958, at the Brown County Arena against Calumet. The final game played by the team that season was an away game against the Michigan Soo on March 1, 1959.
During the season the Bobcats had posted an overall record of 27 wins, 14 losses, and 1 tie and a 16-7-1 record in Mid-America Hockey League play, which was good enough for second in the standings behind the Marquette Sentinels. However, the Bobcats swept the Sentinels in 3 games in the playoff finals to win the Gibson Cup in their very first year of play.
The Bobcats or “The Cats”, as they were affectionately called, played the 1959-1960 season in the United States Central Hockey League (which would become the USHL one year later) posting an overall record of 40 wins and 8 losses on their way to winning the USCHL Championship in their first year of play in the league and giving the club two championships in their first two years of play.
The Bobcats would repeat as the USHL Champions in 1963 and again in 1972. Other notable moments in Bobcats history includes the team winning the 1965 Senior National Crown, playing an exhibition game in 1966 against the Chicago Blackhawks in Green Bay (a game the Bobcats lost 11-1), and representing the United States at the 1969 World Ice Hockey Championships in Stockholm Sweden.
The Green Bay Bobcats franchise folded after the 1980-1981 season and 23 years of play. However, since the 2008-2009 season the Green Bay Gamblers have used a yellow bobcat prominently in the teams logo as well as having a bobcat by the name of “Ace” as the teams mascot. Between the two franchises, Green Bay has 7 USHL Championships (1960, 1963, 1972, 1996, 2000, 2010, and 2012), at least 3 National titles (1965, 1996, and 1997), and 1 Mid-America Hockey League Championship (1959).
Green Bay Gamblers
Since their inception into the United States Hockey League in 1994 the Green Bay Gamblers have been one of the premiere junior "A" hockey franchises in all of North America. To their credit the Gamblers have won two Junior A, Tier 2 National Championships (Gold Cups in 1996 and 1997), five Anderson Cups (1996, 1997, 2009, 2010, and 2012), four Clark Cups (1996, 2000, 2010, and 2012), four USHL Eastern Division titles, and one USHL Northern Division title. Since the USHL became Tier 1 in 2002, the Clark Cup also represents that level's national championship.
20 players selected in the NHL Entry Draft
100 future, current, and former NCAA Division I players
19 alumni playing professional hockey
Along with the team championships, the Gamblers have also had a great deal of success in moving their players onto the next level. At the collegiate level, over 100 players whom the Gamblers logo has adorned have received collegiate scholarships. Professionally, the Gamblers are also a household name, as 20 of their players have been selected in the annual National Hockey League Entry Draft.
In 2002, no other junior hockey team in North America had more players selected in the NHL Entry Draft. In that draft Green Bay had six players selected, five of whom played together on the 2001-02 squad. The Gamblers duplicated their success at the draft in 2005, when six players were selected, including Blake Wheeler who was taken with the 5th overall pick by the Phoenix Coyotes.
Another entity that makes the Gamblers one of the premiere junior programs is their facility, the Resch Center. Arguably the best junior hockey facility in North America, the Resch Center opened its doors in 2002 and seats 8,800 for hockey.
With the team championships, players movement to the next level, and a grade “A” facility, the Green Bay Gamblers are a glowing example of why the USHL is the top Tier 1 hockey league in the United States.
|Last Name, First Name||USHL Team(s)||Professional Team (Professional League)|
|Anderson, Rob||North Iowa/Green Bay||Pee Dee (ECHL)|
|Babin, Noah||Green Bay||Albany (AHL)|
|Baby, Stephen||Green Bay||Springfield (AHL)|
|Baraniuk, Jesse||Thunder Bay/Green Bay||Pensacola (ECHL)|
|Blair, Scott||Green Bay||Mississippi (ECHL)|
|Boeser, Dan||Green Bay||Milwaukee (AHL)|
|Braun, Justin||Green Bay||San Jose (NHL)|
|Brooks, Alex||Green Bay||New Jersey (NHL)|
|Burish, Adam||Green Bay||San Jose (NHL)|
|Canzanello, Andy||Green Bay||Syracuse (AHL)|
|Carter, Ryan||Green Bay||New Jersey(NHL)|
|Cermak, Peter||Dubuque/Green Bay||Hershey (AHL)|
|Christiansen, Doug||Green Bay||Manchester (AHL)|
|Conklin, Ty||Green Bay||St. Louis (NHL)|
|Contois, Andy||Green Bay||Stockton (ECHL)|
|Crabb, Joey||Green Bay||Toronto (NHL)|
|Cummings, Brian||Green Bay||Lowell (AHL)|
|Dehner, Jeremy||Green Bay||Jokerit (Finland) (Europe)|
|Dejdar, Marian||Green Bay||Bremerhaven (Germany) (Europe)|
|Eichelberger, John||Green Bay||South Carolina (ECHL)|
|Engel, Josh||Green Bay||Toronto (AHL)|
|Engelhardt, Brett||Green Bay||Grand Rapids (AHL)|
|Finger, Jeff||Green Bay||Toronto (AHL)|
|Fox, Aaron||Green Bay||Richmond (ECHL)|
|Golden, Matt||Green Bay||Peoria (ECHL)|
|Gordon, Heath||Green Bay||Wheeling (ECHL)|
|Granato, Kevin||Green Bay||Peoria (ECHL)|
|Greene, Matt||Green Bay||Los Angeles Kings (NHL)|
|Gruden, Luke||Green Bay||Peoria (ECHL)|
|Guenin, Nate||Green Bay||Springfield (AHL)|
|Hammond, Brett||Green Bay||Fresno (ECHL)|
|Harper, Mike||Green Bay||Port Huron (UHL)|
|Hartman, John||Green Bay||Motor City (UHL)|
|Higgins, Nate||Green Bay||Port Huron (IHL)|
|Hill, Ed||Green Bay||Peoria (AHL)|
|Johnson, Josh||Green Bay||South Carolina (ECHL)|
|Johnson, Matt||Green Bay||Augusta (ECHL)|
|Jones, Matt||Green Bay||Phoenix (NHL)|
|Lee, Anders||Green Bay||New York Islanders (NHL)|
|Lush, Tristan||Green Bay||Mississippi (ECHL)|
|Lynch, Chris||Green Bay||Bridgeport (AHL)|
|Mason, Bob||Green Bay (Bobcats)||Vancouver (NHL)|
|Miskovich, Aaron||Green Bay||Hershey (AHL)|
|Notermann, Jason||Green Bay||Milwaukee (AHL)|
|O'Neill, Wes||Green Bay||Bridgeport (AHL)|
|Penko, Jure||Green Bay||Cincinnati (ECHL)|
|Pfligler, Eric||Green Bay/Chicago||Odessa (CHL)|
|Preissing, Tom||Green Bay||Karpat (SM-Liga)|
|Pugliese, Billy||Green Bay||Muskegon (UHL)|
|Seidel, Eric||Green Bay||Elmira (UHL)|
|Sevela, Peter||Green Bay||Zvolen (Slovakia) (Europe)|
|Sinisalo, Tomas||Green Bay||Blues (Finland) (Europe)|
|Smith, Aaron||Green Bay||Wheeling (ECHL)|
|Stapleton, Tim||Green Bay||Atlanta (NHL)|
|Stauffacher, Chad||Green Bay||Peoria (ECHL)|
|Stauffacher, Luke||Green Bay||Fresno (ECHL)|
|Steward, Dallas||Green Bay||Pensacola (ECHL)|
|Syroczynski, Matt||Green Bay||Cincinnati (ECHL)|
|Taylor, Jake||Green Bay||Oklahoma City (AHL)|
|Thorp, Ernie||Green Bay/Sioux City||Rockford (UHL)|
|Vanderboom, Scott||Green Bay||Springfield (All American Hockey League)|
|Welch, Kevin||Green Bay||Dayton (ECHL)|
|Wheeler, Blake||Green Bay||Winnipeg (NHL)|
|Wilson, Avery||Green Bay||Cincinnati (ECHL)|
|Zasowski, Tony||Green Bay/Omaha||Dayton (ECHL)|
|Ziedins, Maris||Green Bay||Stockton (ECHL)|
|Zwiers, Scott||Green Bay||Fayetteville (SPHL)|
21 Gamblers alumni have appeared in the NHL: Ty Conklin, Matt Jones, Matt Greene, Jeff Finger, Alex Brooks, Nate Guenin, Adam Burish, Joey Crabb, Blake Wheeler, Ryan Carter, Tim Stapleton, Wes O'Neill, Michael Forney, Victor Oreskovich, Tom Preissing, Sean Backman, Eric Gryba, Mike Sislo, Stu Bickel, Justin Braun, and Anders Lee. (Note: Bob Mason played for the Green Bay Bobcats, not the Gamblers.)
On March 25, 2013, former Gamblers head coach Jon Cooper was named the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is the first of two USHL coaching alum to lead an NHL team. Jeff Blashill, formerly of the Indiana Ice, was hired to coach the Detroit Red Wings in June of 2015.
Maris Ziedens appeared in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, played in Turin, Italy, for his native Latvia. Latvia finished 12th.
Blake Wheeler was selected to the Team USA roster for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, in Sochi, Russia.
Gamblers alumni have played on multiple NCAA men's hockey national champions teams:
2014: Patrick McCadden and Tony Kujava with St. Norbert College (D3). Ryan Peterson, assistant coach
2013: Mitch Witek with Yale (D1)
2009: Eric Gryba with Boston University (D1)
2003: Judd Stevens with Minnesota (D1)
2002: Judd Stevens with Minnesota (D1)
2000: Jason Notermann with North Dakota (D1)
Hobey Baker Award candidates
While no Gamblers alumni have won Hobey Baker Award (presented annually to college hockey's best player), several have been one of ten finalists. They include: Adam Wilcox, Minnesota, 2014; Austin Czarnik, Miami, 2013; Zane Kalemba, Princeton, 2009; Eric Ehn, Air Force, 2008; Ty Conklin, New Hampshire, 2000 and 2001.
Don Granato (1994–97)
Mark Osiecki (1997-2004)
Mark Mazzoleni (2004-2008)
Dave Insalaco (2008) (interim)
Jon Cooper (2008-2010)
Eric Rud (2010–11)
Derek Lalonde (2011–2014) Lalonde quit June 2, 2014 to be head coach of the ECHL Toledo Walleye
Pat Mikesch (2014- )
10th anniversary team
The team's 10th anniversary was celebrated with the selection of first and second "all decade" squads.
20th Anniversary team
The team's 20th anniversary marked the selection of another all-time team.
- Goalie: Ryan McKay
- Defense: Jeff Finger and David Makowski
- Forwards: Anders Lee, Chad Stauffacher and Alex Broadhurst
- Coach: Jon Cooper
From when the Gamblers entered the league at the start of the 1994-1995 season through the 2001-2002 season the team's primary venue was at the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena. For the start of the 2002-2003 season the Gamblers moved into the Resch Center which was a state-of-the-art 8,800 seat arena which was built on the opposite side of Shopko Hall. The team does still play at the Arena a few times each season due to scheduling conflicts however the Resch Center is now the team's primary venue.
During the years at the Arena other venues were sometimes used due to scheduling conflicts. These include, The De Pere Ice & Recreation Center, the Brown County Youth Hockey Arena, the Cornerstone Community Center, Fond du Lac's Blue Line Ice Center, Beaver Dam Ice Arena, Greenheck Ice Center in Schofield.
Since 1994 the average attendance of a Gamblers Game is 3,353 people, which is a record that few teams in the USHL can top. For larger games, such as playoff games and the annual "Teddy Bear Toss", 7,000+ fans will show up to fill the 8,709 seat Resch Center. In 2010, the Green Bay Gamblers set a USHL record for the highest attended playoff game when 8,487 fans showed up to see game five of the USHL Playoff championship, a game the Gamblers won resulting in franchises third Clark Cup. The record has since been broken multiple times.
- USHL Alumni in the Pros, 30 July 2008