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RWD Holiday Gift Guide

22 December 2014

Folks, if you read blogs in other genres, especially blogs in other genres written by ladybloggers, especially ladybloggers who are trying to make ka$hmonie$ off of their (usually terrible) blogs, you have been inundated by gift guides, which are thinly veiled cash-grabs littered with affiliate links and other hidden ways to generate commissions. I kind of doubt there’s a huge amount of crossover between those readers and my own, but rest assured, this practice is rampant on the interwebs.

As a lady and blogger, I would be doing you comrades a disservice if I did not provide you (with some help from Dirty) a nice roundup of gifts to purchase for all hockey fans in your life (or people who don’t like hockey but who you don’t care about enough to buy something they might actually life). No affiliate links involved!

1. Serial Killer-esque Jar of Shards of Jonny Toews’s (and other people who no one cares about’s) gear (just add your own severed fingers)!

For the Britt in your life. Who wouldn’t want a bunch of unauthenticated scraps that may or may not have touched various places on a Blackhawk player’s body? $200. Found on eBay.

2. Breaking Bad Jersey

Is there a worse jersey foul than wearing a hockey-style jersey emblazoned with something completely non-hockey-related? $49.99. Found on The Breaking Bad Store.

3. A List of Hockey-Related Words to Display in Your “Man Cave”

I really do not understand this trend of decorating one’s house with signs that say words like Live. Laugh. Love. or a fancy list of house rules or whatever. This particular decoration seems like it was the transcript from some sort of concussion test. $49.00. Found on Etsy.

4. Jesus, Take the Wing

While Jesus has been around long enough to be grandfathered in under the NHL’s old helmet-optional policy, it is just irresponsible of Him not to insist upon M2s for those poor little kids. $21.95. Found on Gifts With Love.

5. I Love Hockey Kid-Shutter-Upper

While I do appreciate the overall purpose of this product (quieting down little brats), this looks terrifying. I totally should order like 100 and mail them to Kyle Rau though. $7.49 (but apparently discontinued?) Found on Perpetual Kid.

6. Let a Pyramid Scheme Prey On Your Love For Hockey and Also Make Your Home Smell Like Flowers

I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate pyramid schemes like this. Don’t support them. I don’t know how much this costs and I won’t link you to any “business owners” who are selling them.

7. Plush Eunuch “Zach Parise” Doll

Oh yeah, this creepy doll looks just like Zach. $21.95. Found on Shop NHL.

8. Display Your Lack of Self Worth on Your Booty (Because Where Else Are You Going to Display It? Oh Right, Boobs.)

There are so many things wrong with these panties I will just say this: they are extremely expensive. $19.99. Found on Etsy.

9. Stripper Shoes to Go With Your Puck Bunny Panties For When Patrick Kane Comes Into Your Strip Joint With a Mouthful of Singles

These are 1. fugly 2. sexist 3. bad for your feet 4. not available in drag queen sizes 5. insanely expensive 6. going to make your feet look deformed 7. quite possibly going to burst into flames at the first hint of heat. $109.95. Found on Shop NHL.

10. Game Worn Drew Leblanc SCSU Jersey

Who the heck would want this? Yeesh. $1000. Found on eBay.

Into the Woods

19 December 2014

Into the woods without delay,
But careful not to lose the way.
Into the woods, who knows what may
Be lurking on the journey?
Into the woods to get the thing
That makes it worth the journeying.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a RWD comrade, Gretchen, about Bulldog hockey and traditions our families used to have. When college hockey was erroneously and comically reported to be dying, I commented that tUMD games were back on television, a sign that advertisers found the product worth sponsoring once again. Gretchen mentioned all the games were on TV when she was younger, and her family would have a big party for the Bulldogs-Goofers games.

I thought back to when I was young. Of course, I grew up in suburbia and not in Duluth, so tUMD games weren’t on TV for me. We found out about the Bulldogs games through my grandparents and through the DNT, which my dad subscribed to by mail, and we went to the Civic Center for the WCHA Final Four every year. It was really tough to be a college hockey fan back in those days. One really had to try.

I occasionally used to watch tUMD hockey on television as well. My grandparents owned a log cabin on Nichols Lake in Canyon, MN, but in the winters started going to Florida (they live there now and still follow the ‘Dogs via the web [and RWD]).

Thanksgiving 1985

You, too, would go to Florida, if your home had icicles like this by Thanksgiving.

During the winter, our family would go up there and check on the place and make sure it wasn’t completely buried under snow. The main cabin was completely shut down and we would stay in the “bunk house,” a converted boat house, with no running water, a somewhat tricky heater, and the first microwave ever sold. We ate TV dinners (I always ate the same one: fried chicken, corn, mashed potatoes, and a brownie) and watched Bulldog hockey on a black and white television with sketchy reception, fiddling with the antenna to try to get the snow off the screen.

In addition to watching hockey, we also played hockey. Of course, that started with clearing the rink (after making a hole in the ice with an augur to make sure it was safe to skate on, because we’re not idiots.) Everyone pitched in.

This grumpy young fella grew up to be a fine hockey player.

If you can walk, you can shovel the rink.

I can’t say these games were the most organized games ever played, but we had a good-sized rink out on the lake, some makeshift goals, and the only equipment you really need: sticks (wooden, of course), pucks (or tennis balls, in a pinch), and skates. (Orange pom-poms on skate laces were optional.) Here’s my dad, my uncles, and me out on the rink:

As you can see, my skills at hockey have not improved much.

As you can see, my skills at hockey have not improved much.

That was Christmas, 1987. A newborn Biddy lived just a few miles away from me and I didn’t even know it!

When there weren’t enough people to warrant a hockey game, we just made cool snow forts. Hello there, UMDDogz!

A super cool fort!

A super cool fort!

And climbed up on the roof of the garage for a little snow removal.

Dad needs two supervisors for this task.

Dad needs two supervisors for this task.

How's the weather up there?

How’s the weather up there? He’s got a Bulldog hat on, of course.

And tried out various other winter sports.

Captain of the USS Failboat (CVN00)

Captain of the USS Failboat (CVN82)

No one had more fun than Rusty, the world’s most handsome golden retriever, who went bonkers if he even heard the word “cabin.”

You can only dream of being this happy.

You can only dream of being this happy.

Even though I didn’t grow up in the region, it’s still fascinating how many connections I’ve made in this little town. I met a woman whose family owned the cabin next door (which caught on fire early one morning in the summer; we formed a little family fire brigade and put it out), and I met a woman whose in-laws owned the cabin before our family did. As I connect with more fans up here, I always love hearing their fun, unique fan traditions and memories. I’m always up for a good Bulldog hockey story!

Men At Work

17 December 2014

I understand a lot of people have OMGSOMANYFEELS about Coach Miller and can’t wait to crow about how she wasn’t a nice person or wasn’t “classy” and didn’t act like a sweet meek little lady. I promise you if a man coaching our men’s team behaved the same way she is rumoured, by some, to behave, but had the same level of success, he would be getting a raise. I don’t like the double standard that women have to be nice, pretty (but not too pretty), meek, loving, mothering, smiley, cheerful, deferential, polite, chaste, heterosexual, and unprofane (not a word, I know) in order to be considered successful. For men, her level of success would be enough. For every athletic director who wouldn’t look the other way regarding “personality issues,” there would be 10 who would, just to win.

I mean, these people all had/have jobs.

(Dirty reminded me that this rant isn’t that bad, and it isn’t, it’s just my second favorite behind the famous Burnsie rant)

Bobby Knight throws a tantrum, throws a chair, and a whole stadium chants his name.

This man punched out two of his own players.

This man is in the Baseball Hall of Fame (as he predicts in the video).

This man took shots at the fans and at the Nebraska Athletic Director and he already has another head coaching job.

Failure to Communicate

16 December 2014

Last night, just before 10, I was sitting on my couch trying to study for my exam the next morning. It went something like this: study 5 minutes, check Twitter, check email, play game, repeat.

Then Twitter exploded. UMD head coach Shannon Miller, assistant coaches Gina Kingsbury and Laura Schuler, and part-time Director of Operations Jen Banford (also the softball head coach, a position I hope is not also in jeopardy) would not have their contracts renewed.

What the [you know what word goes here].

People have a lot of negative things to say about Shannon Miller. Some of them are true, some of them are incredibly sexist or bigoted, some of them are baseless speculation. But there’s not a single person out there that can defend announcing the “non-renewal” of an entire coaching staff in the middle of a season, in the middle of final exams week. (The players did know earlier, but I guarantee it was a distraction. I know this because the captain herself told me.) For all the talk about how student athletes are STUDENTS FIRST, one would think tUMD’s athletic department could have held off.

You know, at least until the end of the season. What’s more disrespectful than “Surprise! You’re fired! In three months! Now get out there and coach, because we fully support this program!!” I guess that would be “Surprise! Your coach was fired! And we won’t even start looking for a new one for several months! Now go take your finals! Because education is important and we don’t want your grades to slip! And remember we fully support your program, so play hard, even though now you have to decide if you’re even going to be here next year, and maybe if you do stay you’ll get cut by the new rando coach we hire!”

We are in real danger of losing players and recruits, and this program’s future is worrisome. I understand that we will never get another reason out of the AD and Chancellor beyond financial concerns. We all know that there’s more to it and we all know that they will never say it publicly, which is fine. But this program is supposed to be a top program, a dynasty. The AD says the university will look at what other coaches in the WCHA are making and will not outspend the Big 10. Great, let’s look at what disastrous programs like St. Cloud pay their coaches and buy that level of coaching talent. That’ll bring the recruits and fans by the busload. What’s a bigger draw than good old-fashioned thriftiness? Oh, you cheaped out and got some tenth-rate washed-up peewee coach who once sharpened the skates of Stanley Palmer? Well… I was leaning toward going to Wisconsin but now you’ve convinced me! Give me that letter of intent!!!

I’m pretty burned out from finals and still have 2 more to go, so my brain isn’t quite working right. I’ll have more to say later on, but I couldn’t let this go unaddressed for too long.

Please make sure to read the excellent coverage by Matt Wellens over at the Bulldog Hockey Blog. He has transcribed interviews with Josh Berlo and Shannon Miller that are worth a look.

The Report of College Hockey’s Death Was an Exaggeration

10 December 2014

Well. I guess it’s time we had a discussion. Comic essays by Dan Myers and Patrick Reusse (you can only read that if you’re a subscriber or haven’t read your precious 10 articles or whatever this month!! Ration wisely.) yesterday prompted some thoughts and now you must suffer through them or maybe close your browser tab.

Myers opens with a great joke. I’ll give away the punchline, Arizona State will join the WCHA.

Indeed. I am sure they are dying to play Alabama-Huntsville and Buttmidji. But wait! Never mind! Alabama Huntsville will be kicked out of the WCHA for some kind of neo-CCHA in some kind of Circle of Life crap, and the WCHA will… look a lot like the old WCHA and a heck of a lot more palatable conference to someone who covers a team that is apparently followed only by fair-weather fans who have no interest in seeking new life or new civilizations or new rivals. Look, Dan, I am sorry that you married a Gopher fan who thinks college hockey sucks simply because she has to watch some new teams, but the NCHC is not going to disband simply to make your wife and you happy again. MOVE ON. So you want to watch tUMD play MSUM and have that dive your player took in OT affect conference standings? Come on, you’re a Mankato fan. In the old WCHA, “conference standings” to you guys meant the difference between last place and second to last. Who in their right mind would long for that? “Oh noes, we won our conference but didn’t beat the Gophers to win it!” Well, ok.

As for Gopher fans, well, I’ll get to them. Now. Reusse was kind enough to go to Mankato to cover tUMD-MSUM’s football game (which tDogs sadly lost, and it wasn’t even close) and then opted for a double feature by taking in a hockey game. Reusse mocks the Big 10 for forming a hockey conference, a pastime I also enjoy. I can’t fault him for that. Then he goes on the list all the ways the Gophers and their fans DGAF about their conference or their opponents, conference or non. Maybe that’s not the fault of conference realignment at all. Maybe that’s just the fault of the bad attitudes of the Gopher fans and players, no? I do have a few anecdotes of Goof fans whining on GPL about similar feelings. “I just don’t care about these games against [t]UMD!!!” they sniveled after their sweep. Why yes, you didn’t care because you got swept and you get to watch your team play uninspired hockey week after week. I don’t see how getting the band back together with the old WCHA is going to fix a loss to the U18 team. And I suppose Goofie fans don’t care much about playing Big 10 opponents like Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, etc., because the Gophers are basically a nonfactor in the sports that matter in the Big 10, so they don’t have the same heated rivalries with those teams. It’s nice to be a big fish in a small pond, I guess.

You know whose fans seem to be enjoying hockey, testing out new rivalries, and planning ahead for the conference tournament (ok maybe only Biddy, Brian, Dirty, and I are planning ahead for the Fab Four)? NCHC fans. Hey, we’ve got some new opponents now? Let’s meet some new fans, hate some new players, forge some new rivalries. Sure, our conference has some built-in rivalries, CC and DU, tUMD and SCSU, UND and everyone. But the Big 10 has UTMC-UWM, MSU-UMAA, Ohio State and everyone. And the WCHA has NMU-Tech, UAA-UA_, BSU-UAH. There’s excitement if you look for it. So you’ve never seen Ferris State play before? Just pretend they’re tUMD, they’ve ripped off our nickname anyway. Michigan Tech is winning games? That might be fun for their fans. Wisconsin is defecating the bed? That might be fun for… all of us.

Look, all of you Miss Havishams in the WCHA and Big 10 can reminisce about the glory days all you want, and sit there and pout as you suffer through a game against Penn State or LSSU, and bemoan the death of college hockey until you make it a reality by taking your toys and going home. That’s fine, you’ll enjoy your Pyrrhic victory, I am sure. Meanwhile, I’ll be sunning myself in the Arizona desert in a few Januarys, taunting the folks at the Blog of Brotherhood any chance I can get, and always always ALWAYS hating St. Cloud State.

When Bears Fly

9 December 2014

tUMD 2, tOSU 2 (tUMD SO win)/tUMD 4, tOSU 1
tUMD 3, CC 2 (OT)/tUMD 7, CC 2

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram! I promise it’s not full of selfies and pictures of lattes. Just fun hockey and Duluth stuff. You can see the crap we threw on the ice for the Teddy Bear Toss, plus a few pix of my trip to the Murder House this past weekend.

I wasn’t able to adequately cover the tUMD-tOSU games this weekend as all I had was the official Twitter account. This made me sad. However, RWD comrade Megan sent me a link to this siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick unassisted shorthanded game-winning goal by Meghan Huertas. Watch this 100x, or more. Simply glorious.

Friday was a bad day for me, as I had a crappy performance on a test, and then I couldn’t follow the women’s game. I got to the men’s game with a few minutes to spare… and found zero other people in my row. Oops. This was not a well-attended game, although my fellow seatmates arrived eventually. Without their bears for the toss, unfortunately, but Biddy came through by going back to his car at the first intermission. We had two bears, one Nordy, and a snowman from Frozen to chuck on the ice for children.

tDogs struggled through the whole game. I guess that’s what a bye week + porking out on Thanksgiving does. I don’t object, I certainly porked out and took a bye… fortnight or so from working out, and I also performed poorly coming out of the bye. However, not every win is nice and pretty, some of them are a grind and struggle every step of the way. CC did a nice job of getting sticks or bodies in the passing and shooting lanes, and they defended very well for most of the game. I was confused why they were so terrible.

I wasn’t confused on Saturday night, when tDogs dominated most of the game. I missed the puck giveaway because we went to Tortureville Bentleyville before the game. We went last year but it was so cold we practically ran through it, but now I wish we’d lingered last year so I didn’t have to go back with the entire population of the arrowhead in attendance, plus a throng of stroller terrorists. We managed to arrive at puck drop but were not in our seats until the first goal was scored. This was because we waited for a whistle. AND WE SIT ON THE AISLE IN THE TOP ROW. FFS PEOPLE. And in the second period we were chatting with some friends in town from Warroad and weren’t in our seats until the second goal was scored BECAUSE WE WAITED FOR A WHISTLE AGAIN OMG IT’S NOT THAT HARD. It wasn’t a big deal since there were 5 more goals scored we were able to see from our seats.

tUMD men are headed to the Yoop to take on the nerds this weekend, and tUMD women are OFF FOR A WHOLE MONTH. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO???????

An NCHC Thanksgiving

28 November 2014

How did you folks spend your Thanksgiving? I hope whatever you did, it was fun. I hope you weren’t being a jerk and shopping at 6:00 PM yesterday. I stayed in Duluth and had porketta, because we have fully assimilated to the Northland.

I checked in with the NCHC teams to see how they celebrated, and all the teams responded with a nice snapshot!


A small snack for CC players or fans.


The DU hockey team visits with friends.


Enrico Blasi cooks for his team.

North Dakota
North Dakota fans honor the original spirit of the holiday.

St. Cloud

Yes, I know this is actually from St. Cloud’s Christmas card last year. It’s pretty much how they spend all holidays.


Dean Blais with his 800 million year old mother and DU’s coach, Jim Montgomery.

Western Michigan

Andy Murray at the head of his ginger family table.

And, finally, tUMD.

tUMD men’s and women’s players spend Thanksgiving with Pierre-Marc Bouchard, pictured in yellow shirt.


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