April 9, 2011 – 27 Years Later, UMD Hockey Champs!

As a native Duluthian and an alum of UM-Duluth, and a season ticket holder from 1981-1984, I was pleased to witness the Bulldogs win their first NCAA hockey championship.  In 1984, after the Bulldogs painful 5-4 loss in four overtimes in the NCAA championship game, if you would have told me that in 27 years I’d be taking my son to the see the championship game, visiting my oldest daughter in college, and married to Linda (who I knew then and wanted to know much better, but she was already with boyfriend), I would have been overjoyed.

There it is 3-2 UMD in overtime over Michigan.

Martin in his seat at the Xcel Energy center.  I’m thinking the millions the power company spent on advertising was missed on Martin as he asked me “Dad, is this arena related to Microsoft?”   I asked him why he thought it might be and he replied that the name of the arena was a spreadsheet.

The Xcel center is a great place to watch a hockey game – ESPN The Magazine has ranked the venue six years among the top three for “Best Stadium Experience” in all of professional sports. Xcel Energy Center was named “Best NHL Arena” by Sports Business Journal and recognized for the “Best Fan Experience” by Forbes magazine.  Sports Illustrated named the arena its “top choice” among NHL buildings. But until today, I didn’t know what extremes the facility went to make the fan experience so great.

For example, after talking up the guy sitting next to me, he revealed that he was Gregg Moore, who played for UMD the same time I had season tickets.  Not only did he play there, he had 206 career points, which makes him the 4th highest scoring player in UMD history!  Needless to say, there was much happiness in our row.  Gregg’s time ended in 1983, one year before the famous 4 OT championship game at Lake Placid, but he was there to watch it on a break from professional hockey in Europe.

Here’s the obligatory celebration following the sudden death victory.  The game had a storybook ending as the player who scored the winning goal was voted the “most underrated” college hockey player just a few days ago. Kyle Schmidt, only one of four seniors on the team, directed in the winning goal in OT.  He is a hometown boy, growing up a few miles from the campus.  Also, all the team dyed their hair blonde, except for Kyle, whose fianace wasn’t keen on a badly dyed blonde husband in summer wedding photos!

Next year, when the Frozen Four is played in Tampa, there’ll be another banner hanging from the ceiling.

one year ago…”Claire’s College Search is Over”