MOAB, Utah -- “This town must be crazy in the summer,” I rhetorically asked the waiter as he set two pints of Dead Horse Amber ale and a massive plate of post-hiking nachos on our table at Moab Brewery. Immediately the inaccuracy of my mental transfer of normalities from the North -- where June, July and August are the busy times in any tourist town -- to the desert Southwest was pointed out by our friendly server.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Summit League’s top pitcher was dealing, but the Big Ten’s top pitcher was better. The North Dakota State University softball team had no offensive answers Friday night, May 17, in the NCAA regional opener, as the Bison were blanked 3-0 by host Minnesota. NDSU (42-15) is scheduled to face Drake on Saturday afternoon, with the losing team eliminated. Gophers pitcher Amber Fiser surrendered three Bison hits but struck out a dozen NDSU batters, as Minnesota advanced to the winners bracket.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — It’s a true confirmation of his credentials as a one-time hockey player that nearly 40 years later, Jeff Passolt can still explain how — on a cold night in Bemidji — the referee did him wrong.
ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- Eric Rud was in a boat on Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota, reeling in walleyes as much of the state celebrated the opening of the 2019 fishing season Saturday, May 11. Roughly 48 hours later, Rud’s new full-time job is to help reel in talented RedHawks.
ST. PAUL -- Like many Minnesotans, Darby Hendrickson doesn’t think spring when he sees the first robin in the backyard, or when there’s finally open water on Lake Minnetonka. When he first flips the calendar over to March, and the state hockey tournament is on the immediate horizon, it could be 10 below with 10 feet of snow, and in Hendrickson’s mind, it’s spring.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Perhaps it is not overly surprising that the places that have seen some of the greatest college hockey glory for the Minnesota Gophers, Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs and North Dakota Fighting Hawks are sites where people want to return. Xcel Energy Center, the downtown St. Paul home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, is the place where the Gophers in 2002 and the Bulldogs in 2011 and 2018 won NCAA Frozen Four titles. And given a choice of 16 potential future sites for the Frozen Four, St. Paul is the place most hockey fans want to visit again.
RICHFIELD, Minn. — Jonny Sorenson’s success in earning a hockey scholarship to the University of Minnesota is a lesson in the importance of hard work on the ice and in the classroom. It also provides a cautionary tale about knowing who you’re talking to in this era of caller ID on cell phones.
By all accounts, Griffin Thompson is a typical Minnesota kid. Mostly notably, that manifests itself in his love for fishing the dozen-plus lakes in and around his southern Minnesota hometown of Albert Lea. But when Griffin, now 16, came to his mother with the idea of starting a high school fishing team a few years ago, she was a skeptic.
MINNEAPOLIS -- It was about 20 years ago that Don Lucia first came to the University of Minnesota to coach the Gophers hockey team, and 13 months ago that he retired from the job. Lucia played the college hockey recruiting game for decades, first for six seasons at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, then another six at Colorado College and finally for 19 seasons with the Gophers. By all standard measures, he played that game very well, taking four teams to the NCAA championship game and winning two of them.
The crowd of better than 6,000 was treated to a stunning Arizona sunset on their way into the Tucson Convention Center on a March night in 1991, as the sky turned all shades of purple, red, orange and gold, perfectly framing the mountains to the west of the city. The downtown arena had an impressive open-air plaza in place of the glassed-in lobby seen in most northern sports facilities, in deference to Arizona’s generally pleasant winter weather.