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My Trip to the Farm: From Nashville to Milwaukee and Back

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We took a weekend trip to Milwaukee to see the baby Predators take on the Rockford IceHogs.

My husband and I took a fall break trip to Milwaukee to see the Admirals take on the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday. We had a fantastic time, and below I’ll review the game and add some random observations from our trip.

The Land of Cheese and Brews

The Admirals played inside Panther Arena, having just won 4-1 the night before against the Hershey Bears. The Admirals switch between Panther Arena and BMO Bradley Harris Center during the season because of the Milwaukee Bucks schedule. Side note: I had no clue Milwaukee has an NBA team.

As a reminder, the Rockford IceHogs are the AHL affiliate of our best friends, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Panther Arena is a little old, but it’s well-maintained. After a dinner that included a massive pretzel and beer cheese soup at Milwaukee Brat House, we strolled to the arena. Once inside, we grabbed some Admirals hats in the team store and wandered to our seats.

Nearly everyone we encountered was incredibly enthusiastic about the Admirals and most reacted in the same manner: “You guys are from Nashville? Cool!!” One gentleman even offered to buy us the popular “The road to Nashville goes through Milwaukee” t-shirts, and another lady showed us the wall of current NHL players who have come through Milwaukee. Admirals fans are very proud of their boys.

The Game

Matt O’Connor started in goal against Rockford, and a very fast opening period saw some missed chances by the Admirals result in an early Rockford lead. How familiar.

The final score was 6-2, iced by an empty net goal late in the third. This was the first loss for the Admirals in the 2017-2018 season.

I was incredibly impressed with the play of Tyler Kelleher, although he might be too fast for his own teammates. Alexander Carrier was calm and collected with the puck, but his smooth skating and passing made it seem like he was the only D-man who knew what he was doing. At more than one point, the defense pairings were discombobulated and often nearly on top of the other.

O’Connor positioned himself well. He was very aggressive, coming several feet out of the crease to challenge an attacker. However, after some Rockford goals I’m sure he’d like back, his play seemed lackluster and lazy.

There were some moments of excellence for the Ads, but it seemed like they were too exhausted to put forth a consistent effort on Saturday night.

Random Observations

  • Chicken biscuits are not available at McDonalds in Wisconsin. The guy in the drive-thru had never even heard of a chicken biscuit…WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK?
  • Chicago toll roads and traffic suck. Chicago sucks.
  • Milwaukee had just as much road construction as Nashville. Meh.
  • Random people shouted “GO PREDS!” at me on the street.
  • Pre-game beer at Major Goolsby’s. Average beer, excellent staff, awesome environment.
  • The posters around Panther arena depicting a current Predator-former Admiral are awesome. (see below)
  • The pre-game video was fantastic! See below.
  • We somehow got seats in the Admirals version of Section 303. All the chants were started by some extremely loud fans and they were awesome.
  • Cow bells!
  • The chants were especially punishing for IceHogs goalie Jeff Glass.
  • The Admirals have a blimp that flies around the arena during intermission and drops coupons on fans.
  • We ended up on the JumboTron at least twice, something that never happens at Bridgestone.
  • “What are you doing, Granberg?” is not only a statement heard in Bridgestone…he looked equally awful Saturday in Milwaukee.
  • Big hits by captain Trevor Smith made the entire arena shake.
  • Rockford was incredibly effective at preventing clean zone entries, forcing a dump-and-chase/where is the puck? problem
  • Cheese curds literally everywhere.
  • Rockford scored… “So what? Big deal! Who cares?”
  • My excitement over the cow bells waned a bit as the game came to a close.
  • O’Connor looks like he would love to see the clock reach 00:00.
  • The “Oasis” centers in the middle of the concrete jungle of Chicago are cool…drive-thru Dunkins and 7-11’s every 10 miles or so...easily the best part of crappy Chicago.
  • Indiana is full of windmills! We read some windmill statistics online and have decided to install one in our yard. Kidding, but how cool would that be?

The Verdict

We had a great trip to Milwaukee. It’s worth the drive because the Admirals hockey environment is so welcoming, hockey-crazy, and energetic. Every fan was proud of their Admirals, past and present.

Tickets were very reasonably priced. I am fully aware that the Admirals are an AHL team, but the prices keep the games accessible to all fans. We were seated about 6 rows off the ice and had a great view.

Following the Admirals during their season is important because fans are able to closely monitor how their favorite players are developing. Want to know how Anders Lindback is faring in his second run with the Predators organization? Curious about Nashville’s center and winger depth? Look no further than the Milwaukee Admirals.

If you’re a Predators and Admirals fan, you absolutely should take a trip to the Land of Cheese and see the soon-to-be Predators. The drive through Chicago is definitely worth it.

Photo: Scott Paulus

Final Admirals Thoughts

  1. Follow the official Admirals twitter @mkadmirals.
  2. Admirals Roundtable is THE top Admirals blog. With game previews and reviews, videos, photos, interviews with players and coaches, and commentary, the Roundtable is your go-to Admirals site.
  3. Remember...the road to Nashville goes through Milwaukee.