Badger Band makes a stop at Kozy Korner on way to Frozen Five
About 30 members of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band stopped by Kozy Korner Pizza & Sports Bar Thursday on their way to the WCHA Frozen Five men's hockey tournament in St. Paul.
The group came into the restaurant and bar playing "On, Wisconsin!" to the pleasure of some 40 or 50 patrons who had gathered to welcome them.
"It's a great way to spend a Thursday morning. Could it get any better?" said Andrea Yohas, who traveled from Amery to join her friend, Dr. Heidi Huser of Hudson, for the mini-concert.
Huser attended the University of Wisconsin for her undergraduate degree and graduated from its medical school in 1997. She is doctor for Park Nicollet Health Services in Minneapolis.
"Where else but in Wisconsin does the band stop at the bar on the way to the game?" Yohas asked with a laugh.
She said the pair were having an impromptu "Thelma and Louise" outing, and were following the band to the Xcel Center for the Badgers' game with Minnesota State-Mankato. The Badgers defeated the Mavericks 7-2 to advance to Friday's semifinals of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Wisconsin was scheduled to play St. Cloud State at 2:07 p.m. Friday.
The championship game is at 7:07 p.m. Saturday.
Kozy Korner has had a relationship with the Wisconsin Band since the 1990s when owner Scott Nelson first invited the band to stop by for pizza after making an appearance at New Richmond High School. The restaurant was located in New Richmond then.
The band and small groups of band members began making regular stops at Kozy Korner when it relocated to The Village Inn in North Hudson. The band stops on the way to sporting events in the Twin Cities that it performs at.
About six years ago, Kozy Korner moved into its own space on the east side of Hwy. 35/Sixth St., just north of the Freedom stationstore.
Ryan Nelson, one of three of Scott's sons who now help run the restaurant and bar, said the band has made five or six stops at the new Kozy Korner location.
It's a nice opportunity for people to a flavor of what it's like to attend at football game at Camp Randall or a basketball or hockey game at the Kohl Center in Madison, Ryan Nelson said.
The band is expected to make another stop at Kozy Korner on the way home from the Frozen Five. If the hockey team loses Friday, the band will play at about 7 p.m. that evening.
If the Badgers make it into Saturday evening's championship game, the band will visit Kozy Korner following the game, at about 11 p.m.
Thursday morning, the band members belted out four tunes and then sat down to lunch. The band usually plays its way out of the restaurant, too.