Britta Curl, Alexis Mauermann and Brette Pettet start every episode of QuaranTV with the serious demeanor demanded of a newscast.
By the 25-second mark of one of the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey players’ social media shows, reality has emerged: They’ve all busted out laughing.
While the Badgers players are fulfilling the show’s intention of providing updates on the team during the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re also continuing on with what they’d be doing if they were still together in Madison.
Namely, joking around with each other.
“I think it’s a fun way for people to see the sides of us that they don’t see, maybe just our silliness and stuff off the ice,” said Mauermann, who completed her fourth season with the Badgers in 2019-20. “On the ice, we’re all so serious. Doing the videos, you see some of our little weird sides or silly sides.”
The QuaranTV crew last week released its fourth show through the Badgers’ social media channels, all produced by Curl from her Bismarck, North Dakota, home. Mauermann joins in by Zoom call from Janesville and Pettet from Nova Scotia.
Curl is the mastermind, Pettet said. As for Mauermann and Pettet?
“We’re just showing up and laughing,” Pettet said.
Like other teams, the Badgers were quickly separated in March when the coronavirus pandemic shut down college sports and face-to-face learning.
“So you really didn’t get a lot of closure with even saying goodbye to a lot of people,” Mauermann said. “I think these videos, you feel like you’re connected. Even when we’re making them, it really does feel like we’re all together and not miles and miles apart.”
Badgers assistant director of brand communications AJ Harrison had the idea for the series because Curl, Mauermann and Pettet had some of the most well-received “Ask the Badgers” videos shown on the LaBahn Arena videoboard during the season.
Ten years ago, Curl was directing movies in her backyard starring her siblings. For the coronavirus quarantine, she thought a fake news show would be entertaining.
They’ve had segments where teammates give weather reports from their hometowns, showed photos and videos of their dogs and some cringeworthy social media posts. A peek into their lives during COVID-19, in a way.
The most recent episode unveiled the team’s award winners, which got awkward when Curl and Mauermann became recipients but Pettet didn’t.
“We just did it on the fly,” Curl said. “We realized how it would be kind of funny that she’s getting sad because she’s not winning anything.”
Curl and Pettet brought on teammate Sophie Shirley as co-host for one episode to celebrate Mauermann and the Badgers’ other five seniors. Using a game they play at pregame meals where each person at the table says something they like about everyone else present, Badgers players contributed video tributes to the departing six.
“The senior video was super touching and just bringing the team together and feeling the togetherness even when we’re so far apart,” Mauermann said.
As with quarantine, there’s no firm end date for QuaranTV. Pettet said the team hasn’t heard much about the potential for players to return to Madison for offseason workouts. Nor is she sure when she’d even be able to get back to the U.S. from Canada because the border is scheduled to be closed until at least June 21.
Mauermann has spent her down time studying to earn her boater’s license. Curl has been mountain biking on trails near her home. Pettet ordered roller blades and has pulled dandelions from her front lawn.