Family matters

Wisconsin goalie Bernd Bruckler will have some very welcome guests on hand for the Badgers first home games Friday and Saturday

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For many UW athletes and their families a trip to Madison is a simple drive or perhaps a short flight away. This certainly is not the case for Badger goalie Bernd Bruckler, the first Austrian to pull on a Wisconsin sweater.


In order to keeps tabs on the Badgers veteran goalie, then, Bruckler's family must redefine "tape-delayed broadcast."


Bernd Bruckler (UW Athletics)

"We send them videotapes and DVDs and they can check me out that way and over the Internet they follow it a little bit," Bruckler said. "The UW does such a great job just as far as sending media guides and stuff like that."


It will be different this weekend when Wisconsin faces Quinnipiac: Bruckler's mom and grandfather made the trip from Austria this week, surprising Bernd.


"This is his first time in the states and he is really excited and really thrilled to be here," Bernd said of his grandfather's visit. "He is here for two weeks and it was a real surprise. I didn't even know they were coming until a week before they called me and said, ‘hey we are coming in a week.' It was a huge surprise."


It is only the second time Bruckler's family has visited since he came to Wisconsin two years ago. Bernd's mom also visited over the Christmas holiday last year.


Bruckler has settled amicably into his spot between the posts, becoming a trusted goaltender and a veteran symbol on a young team. With plenty of younger players in front of him, Bruckler has assumed a leadership role, helping to direct the action in front of the net.


"It is definitely a huge role I think," Bruckler said. "As far as talking, letting them know where people are. And just giving them the confidence that they need. And I think having played a lot of games in the league already and being a little bit more experienced than they are I think I can help them out."


Despite the team's 1-3 start, Bruckler feels that the defense is coming along.


"Definitely we are further along than we have been, but obviously the wins have to come," Bruckler said. "Once the wins come, our confidence will go up and we'll get this ship rolling. That just needs to happen soon."


Reserve goaltender Brian Elliot, a freshman, is expected to see his first action in net in one of this weekend's games. Whichever game Bruckler plays, though, he will have uncommon motivation in the stands.


Bruckler is excited "especially at home it is huge so that he can see what the Kohl Center is all about. Obviously I want to make him proud."

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