Wisconsin's NCAA tournament hopes come down to this
weekend's WCHA Final Five. Thankfully for the Badgers,
they have Joel Rumpel to lean on between the pipes.
BY MIKE LUCAS • UWBADGERS.COM
ne side of Joel Rumpel's goalie mask reflects one side of Rumpel's personality.
Wisconsin's sophomore goaltender has an image of two kids playing hockey on
an outdoor rink.
"It just reminds me of my childhood,'' he said.
That's because Rumpel grew up on the rinks and ponds of Swift Current, Saskatchewan; a small city in the southwest part of the province on the Trans Canada
Highway, 110 miles from Moose Jaw.
Maybe the image also reflects the innocence and simplicity of the sport at that age.
"Exactly,'' he said. "Just my love of the game.''
Given this backdrop, Rumpel was understandably excited to take part in the Hockey City Classic,
which was staged outdoors in mid-February at Chicago's Soldier Field.
"I still get chills thinking about it,'' he said. "I'm a Saskatchewan boy; I lived and died on the outdoor
rinks and ponds. I was out there every day from the time I started when I was 2 or 3.''
Rumpel handled the environment like you might expect he would. Not only did he record 36 saves in
Wisconsin's 3-2 win over Minnesota, he became a trending topic on Twitter (#Rumpelshat).
"People ended up liking the tuque, you guys call it a winter hat,'' said Rumpel, who accessorized his
mask by donning a red and white tuque, er, stocking cap with a large, fuzzy red ball on top.