SUBSCRIBE NOW Just 99¢ for your first month

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Prep boys hockey: Duluth Marshall’s Brendan Flaherty honored at Mars Lakeview Arena

Local artist Tim Cortes memorialized the longtime Hilltoppers’ coach with a colored pencil painting that will be displayed in the lobby of the arena he helped build.

Carrie Flaherty, center, points at the painting of her husband, Brendan, while she is surrounded by her daughter, Morgan Flaherty, left, and the artist of the painting, Tim Cortes
Carrie Flaherty, center, points at the painting of her late husband, Brendan, while she is surrounded by her daughter, Morgan Flaherty, left, and the artist of the painting, Tim Cortes, during a ceremony between periods of the Marshall Hilltoppers game with Cloquet-Esko-Carlton at Mars Lakeview Arena on Thursday evening, Jan. 20, 2022, in Duluth. Brendan Flaherty, who coached Marshall for 22 seasons, died of cancer in June 2021.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
We are part of The Trust Project.

DULUTH — Duluth Marshall and Cloquet-Esko-Carlton faced off Thursday at Mars Lakeview Arena in Duluth.

The Hilltoppers lost 4-2, but the highlight of the night wasn’t the hockey played, but honoring one of the driving forces behind the arena’s construction.

During the first intermission, longtime Hilltoppers coach Brendan Flaherty was memorialized in a short ceremony with his family.

Flaherty died June 24 after a 3-year cancer battle and his family was presented with a colored pencil painting by Duluth artist Tim Cortes. Flaherty’s wife Carrie will receive the original piece, and a larger copy will hang in the mezzanine of Mars Lakeview Arena.

The painting includes Cortes’s reproductions of photos of Flaherty at various points in his career, with a centerpiece showing Flaherty walking through the tunnel at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

ADVERTISEMENT

Flaherty guided the Hilltoppers to the state tournament seven times, including four straight appearances between 2005 and 2008. He also spent two seasons at Duluth Central, guiding the Trojans to the state tournament in 1996.

Cortes, a goalie at Duluth East, recognized Flaherty’s time at Duluth Central with the Trojans’ logo in the background of the piece. Cortes played with and against Flaherty in high school and the two were good friends. Flaherty already has several pieces from Cortes and the artist didn’t give it a second thought when asked to do this for his old friend.

The emotions were running high for Flaherty’s family and Cortes when he unveiled the piece.

“I got a little choked up, especially when I saw Carrie and I gave her a hug,” Cortes said. “To see her — it’s been hard. My brother recently passed, my sister recently passed nine days later. All cancer. So this became really special because of that and it was emotional — it still is.”

Flaherty, a 1982 graduate of what was then Duluth Cathedral, was remembered as someone who taught not just hockey skills, but life skills. He also encouraged his players to participate in many sports and support the other Hilltoppers teams.

“Those are the smaller things he did that don’t end up on a banner,” Marshall athletics director Kevin Snyder said. “But those are the things that resonate with me and I think resonated with the boys who played for him.”

Related stories:
Flaherty led both Duluth Central and Duluth Marshall to state tournament appearances, including three straight runner-up finishes for the Hilltoppers between 2006-08.

While Flaherty is most remembered for his talented Hilltoppers squads, he was also instrumental in bringing an on-campus facility to Marshall. When Mars Lakeview Arena opened in 1999, Flaherty took over as rink manager after working as a physical education teacher at Piedmont and Morgan Park schools.

Steve Ruud worked with Flaherty the last five years of his career as the Marshall junior varsity coach and assistant rink manager. He took over as manager when Flaherty retired in 2019.

ADVERTISEMENT

Flaherty was an understanding person who allowed the people he worked with to try new things and was understanding if it didn’t work out — whether it was players or or coworkers.

“He never made you feel bad for things you did,” Ruud said. “Maybe you tried something you’ve never tried before, he’d never make you feel bad about that. He might just point out a different way to do it and the way he did those things just made it so comfortable.”

Flaherty kept the arena running smoothly and tried to make improvements before they became an issue, making small changes like replacing the lights with more efficient bulbs early, Ruud said.

“This place was like a second home to him,” Ruud said.

Joining Carrie on the ice for the ceremony were Flaherty’s daughter Morgan and stepson Kasey Yoder. Morgan contributed some words that will be displayed in the arena above the painting. She said honoring her father at the arena was “natural.”

“We only lived like a block away from here and he was here all the time,” Morgan said. “I grew up here and I know my brother, for sure, grew up here too…We miss him terribly and we know that this is a big, important part of his life and we’re just honored to be a part of it.”

Lumberjacks get a ‘needed’ win

CEC was desperate for a win, coming into the night on a three-game skid.

The Lumberjacks went down early, but Patrick Dunaiski and Wyatt Mrozik each scored in the first period to keep the game tied at two during the first intermission.

ADVERTISEMENT

Goalie Jacob Walsh shut the Hilltoppers down in the final two periods, while Dayne Painovich scored on a breakaway goal in the second period and Jace Stewart a shorthanded goal in the third period to give CEC the win.

“Our structure was good on the forecheck and we made some adjustments on our breakout which benefited us,” CEC coach Shea Walters said. “We were able to stretch the zone a little bit, which helped us.”

Mrozik’s two points came at critical time and was “probably the best game he’s played in his high school career,” according to Walters.

“We needed a win, we really did,” Walters said. “We’ve been on a streak, so getting a win was absolutely paramount.”

This article was edited at 1:12 p.m. to correct a reference to the former Cathedral High School and Duluth Central's state championship history and to make a first reference to Marshall athletic director Kevin Snyder. It was originally posted at 8 a.m. The News Tribune regrets the errors.

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 2-1-1—4

Duluth Marshall 2-0-0—2

First period — 1. DM, Joe Stauber (Landon Hernesman, Darik Olson), 7:58; 2. CEC, Patrick Dunaiski (Wyatt Mrozik, Dayne Painovich), 10:03; 3. CEC, Mrozik (Carter Salo, Painovich), 15:09; 4. DM, Pierce Gouin (Brendan Friday, Sam Aamodt), 15:09.

Second period — 5. CEC, Painovich (Lucas Rauner, Karson Young), 8:30.

Third period — CEC, Stewart (Rauner), 4:31 (sh).

Saves — Jacob Walsh, CEC, 24; Sam Anderson, DM, 30.

Duluth Marshall’s Luke Schottenbauer (22) keeps the puck away from Cloquet-Esko-Carlton’s Jace Stewart (14)
Duluth Marshall’s Luke Schottenbauer (22) keeps the puck away from Cloquet-Esko-Carlton’s Jace Stewart (14) in the first period of the game at Mars Lakeview Arena on Thursday evening, Jan. 20, 2022, in Duluth.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Duluth Marshall’s Joe Stauber (21) celebrates his first period goal
Duluth Marshall’s Joe Stauber (21) celebrates his first period goal with Ethen Carlson (17) during the Hilltoppers’ game with Cloquet-Esko-Carlton at Mars Lakeview Arena on Thursday evening, Jan. 20, 2022, in Duluth.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton’s Cooper Ellena (2) keeps the puck away from Duluth Marshall’s Garrett Olek (23)
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton’s Cooper Ellena (2) keeps the puck away from Duluth Marshall’s Garrett Olek (23) in the first period of the game at Mars Lakeview Arena on Thursday evening, Jan. 20, 2022, in Duluth.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Duluth Marshall’s Pierce Gouin (18) maintains control of the puck
Duluth Marshall’s Pierce Gouin (18) maintains control of the puck after getting knocked down along the boards by Cloquet-Esko-Carlton’s Isaak Sertich (6) in the first period of the game at Mars Lakeview Arena on Thursday evening, Jan. 20, 2022, in Duluth.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton goalie Jacob Walsh (33) deflects a Duluth Marshall shot
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton goalie Jacob Walsh (33) deflects a Duluth Marshall shot in the first period of the game at Mars Lakeview Arena on Thursday evening, Jan. 20, 2022, in Duluth.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Kasey Yoder, Morgan Flaherty, Carrie Flaherty and Tim Cortes look at a Cortes’ painting of former Duluth Marshall hockey coach Brendan Flaherty
From left: Kasey Yoder, Morgan Flaherty, Carrie Flaherty and Tim Cortes look at a Cortes’ painting of former Duluth Marshall hockey coach Brendan Flaherty during a ceremony between periods of the Marshall Hilltoppers game with Cloquet-Esko-Carlton at Mars Lakeview Arena on Thursday evening, Jan. 20, 2022, in Duluth. Brendan Flaherty, who coached Marshall for 22 seasons, died of cancer in June 2021
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Jamey Malcomb has been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
What to read next
Both teams begin tournament play next week.
With a batting average of 462 and 23 RBIs and an ERA of 0.58, the Esko junior hopes to lead his to a section title in the tournament that starts next week.
Cloquet survived a nine-run Grand Rapids inning to advance in Section 7AAA.
Postseason play began for many Northland softball teams on Tuesday.