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UMD men's hockey gets radio voice

After spending a half season in the stands, Bruce Ciskie will be back in the press box when the Minnesota Duluth men's hockey season opens with an exhibition game on Oct. 3.

After spending a half season in the stands, Bruce Ciskie will be back in the press box when the Minnesota Duluth men's hockey season opens with an exhibition game on Oct. 3.

Ciskie, 32, from Proctor, signed a one-year contract with Red Rock Radio Corp., on Tuesday as play-by-play announcer on the new home for the Bulldogs, KQDS-AM 1490, The Fan.

Red Rock reached an agreement with UMD last month to broadcast football and men's hockey games for 2009-10.

Men's hockey had been with Midwest Communications, primarily on KDAL-AM 610 for 49 years.

While working as sports director for Midwest Communications, Ciskie was UMD's play-by-play voice for more than three seasons.

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But when his position was eliminated in November, he also was let go from his hockey duties, 14 games into 2008-09.

He was replaced by Jeff Papas of Cloquet, who was contracted to do the remainder of the schedule as UMD advanced to the Division I quarterfinals.

Ciskie has had season tickets for UMD home games for six years and attended most games as a fan for the rest of last season, although he was a member of the media during the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five and NCAA West Regional, working for the Web site FanHouse.

"UMD hockey wasn't something I could easily separate myself from," Ciskie said Tuesday. "When I wasn't doing those games [on radio], I missed it every day.

"I don't know if I'll ever go back to a full-time radio job in the office, but it was pretty clear that if I was ever to get back in radio, this is wanted I wanted to do. When the opportunity presented itself, I looked into it."

It's believed Red Rock had eight to 10 inquiries about the play-by-play job, including Papas and Greg Harrington of St. Paul, the former voice of Nebraska-Omaha hockey.

"I was interested, but Red Rock didn't pursue me," said Papas, 44, a former Duluth TV sports and news reporter, who worked 29 UMD games in 2008-09. "I had a blast doing the one season and I wish Bruce the best. I know he has a great passion for the game."

Ciskie, who will work 2009-10 on a per-game salary, is unsure if he'll be joined in the radio booth by a game analyst. Since leaving Midwest Communications he's been working as a contributing editor for FanHouse and in production for WDIO-TV, Chs. 10-13, and will remain in those jobs.

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In addition to 1490 AM, UMD hockey games will be on affiliates in the Grand Rapids-Hibbing area on KBAJ-FM 105.5, and the Iron Range, on KAOD-FM 106.7 in Babbitt-Ely-Virginia.

The Bulldogs open practice in 10 days and face the University of British Columbia in an Oct. 3 exhibition at the DECC.

-- Charter Communications is expected to televise 13 UMD men's hockey games in 2009-10 on its state-wide system, including Channel 15 in Duluth and Superior. Red Rock Radio sports director Mark Fleischer and former UMD player Judd Medak are likely to be the announcing team for seven home games against Minnesota State-Mankato, North Dakota, Bemidji State and Wisconsin. For UMD road games, production will originate with the home team. The Mankato series at the DECC on Oct. 16-17 opens the Charter schedule.

Related Topics: HOCKEY
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