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Season’s Greetings!

28 September 2015

tUMD 4, Lindenwood 3 (OT)/tUMD 4, Lindenwood 1

Hockey. HOCKEY HOCKEY HOCKEY. HOCKEY. Real hockey. Hockey that means something in the standings and the PWRs.

Excuse the stream of consciousness. I am glad to see the season is underway. I hope I am watching meaningful hockey well into June of 2016. (Since I don’t watch teams other than my own, don’t bother to point out that it’s a given there will be meaningful hockey in June.)

Coach Crowell is still undefeated as coach of the Bulldogs. Though this is her first official head coaching position, her record as an interim head coach does count toward her overall record, so she isn’t undefeated in her career. Fun facts!

On Saturday, tUMD had a little scare as Lindenwood tied the game with the extra attacker with 17 seconds left in the game. Ugh. Until that point, the Dogs had led nearly the entire game, as Linnea Hedin scored her first goal as a Bulldog 7 minutes in. Freshman-to-watch Reagan Haley got her first goal in her first game as a Doggie, and Lara Stalder also scored in regulation. Shara Jasper, once a Bulldog, scored and assisted on the 2nd and 3rd goals for the… (wait a minute, checking what this school’s mascot is) Lions! They are the Lions. Anyway, Jasper got points against her former team. Good for her I guess. Fearless Leader Ashleigh Brykaliuk rescued tDogs from a brother-kisser by scoring with a minute to go in OT.

Sunday tUMD didn’t mess around. I’ll chalk the scary Saturday almost-tie up to working out the kinks of the new regime and new lineups. Olympian Lara Stalder had two goals (one on the PP), and Michela Cava and Bryks had the other two goals. The Lions’s only goal came from the Gillanders dynasty (Britannia).

tDogs face a much tougher task this upcoming weekend, facing BC and the Alex Carpenter buzzsaw in Boston. I think they’ll put up a good fight. The coaching staff has seen BC plenty and should have a good scouting report.

This weekend turned out a heck of a lot better than winning an exhibition game 1-0 on an opponent’s own goal, no?

You’re Not Welcome

18 September 2015

Teams and organizations sometimes play psychological mind games with opponents in order to put them ill at ease when visiting. The best example I can think of off the top of my head is painting the visiting locker room pink, which is… I don’t know, emasculating or something? I’m not really sure. It’s kind of a pathetic, chauvinistic example, but it’s all I’ve got.

There are lots of things tUMD can do to make their opponents’ experience less than pleasurable. I mean, besides beating the crap out of them on the ice, which they regularly do.

One tactic¬†tUMD and other teams have already implemented is limiting opposing fans’s access to tickets. UND fans are especially salty about this, because they operate under the belief that they deserve first priority to seats in opposing arenas because they are better than the rest of us. Well, they cling to a racist nickname, are repeatedly mistaken for their in-state rival that doesn’t even have D1 hockey, and don’t have a national championship this millennium, so I don’t know about that. I do know that Dirty scored himself two tickets to both games without having to purchase a ticket package, drive to Duluth, or pay extreme prices on the secondary market. It’s called making a friend, and if a creep like him can do it, so can anyone. Anyway, it’s not about you, UND fans. (Well it is, partially. At least to me!) It’s about giving home fans the best opportunity to see popular games, to provide the best home atmosphere. There we go, psychological warfare.

There are other things, mostly related to UND because I spend a lot of time talking to UND fans (I mean actually talking to, not belittling, which I do a lot of too.) For example, I thought wearing those terrible white DULUTH uniforms for the first game at AMSoil was a bad idea; tUMD should have worn dark jerseys to prevent UND from wearing their stupid black jerseys. Are UND players and fans superstitious about the “power” of the black jerseys? Yes. But they do have a bit of a placebo effect. Of course, again, we came out the victors in that season.

Not playing “Rock and Roll Part 2” when UND comes to town is another good idea. They like to yell “Hey! Go [Nickname-we-cling-to-desperately-for-no-actual-reason]!” No need to let them get in one of their cheers.

Similarly, playing “Jump Around” when Wisconsin is in town is basically asking for the Red Menace and their commie fans to get fired up. Just don’t do it!

I do like turning opponents’ cheers around on them. I like singing “Ole!” when tUMD scores on Mankato. I also like spelling out “M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A-SPACE-D-U-L-U-T-H! Minnesota Duluth! Minnesota Duluth! Heeeeeeeeeey Bulldogs!” because it takes awhile before people catch on and then Goof fans look at me with bewilderment. If they’re not rocking back and forth sobbing quietly, that is.

Drowning out bands of opposing fans is also good. Don’t let the Tech nerds get their little chants going. Drown them out, whether it’s the student section (ok, yeah right) or an old people section (also, yeah right). Silence their pathetic attempts to support their little team!

Or confuse them with all kinds of rules! Like, oh, you can’t have signs. Wisconsin does that, although they let that awful old man have signs too. #PullPhilsPlug! Or maybe you can’t have noisemakers! At all! And I don’t care if you have the rule book!

Arenas can also send ushers/police to stand near fans who aren’t really doing anything except cheering. I know this because it happens to me all the time. A lesser person would be silenced, but it doesn’t work on me. Most people are lesser than me, so it should be a fairly successful tactic. A full cavity search for all St. Cloud fans might be a good idea. Think of how many crackpipes would be confiscated!

So, tUMD, I’ve given you a free consultation on guerilla warfare here, what are you going to do about it?

Money for Nothing and Chicks for Free

31 August 2015

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Emilie and I wrote a piece for Puck Daddy’s A to Z series.

This is somewhat out of character for me lately. This blog was featured on Puck Daddy several years ago when college hockey had more of a place on the site. However, I’ve grown a bit disillusioned with PD over the years as it has grown smarmier and smarmier (especially in the comments) and I stopped giving the site my clicks. Why then would I give my hard work away for free to a for-profit site I don’t particularly like?

Why, indeed. I did because a friend needed help. That’s it. I felt apprehensive even after turning it in, especially when I read some of the other posts and saw they were written by women who actually blog for their teams. I felt like I was cheapening the work of some of the other women.

I also felt a bit like I was contributing to something I didn’t like. The entire A to Z series was written by women, and edited by a woman. This is great, in theory. But because for some teams (like the Wild), they had to stretch to find a woman who could do the post. (In the Wild’s case, Emilie is more than qualified, having written for Hockey Wilderness and for WildXtra, but she wasn’t able to commit the time to write the whole thing.) Women (and minorities) are often treated as tokens, or as affirmative action hires who took a job away from a more qualified person (aka a white male). When some of the writers (like me) were shoehorned in to round out the slate, it looked like we were all tokens.

Writing for free isn’t something I like to do. I do it here, because this is my own site, for my own entertainment. I don’t even write for free here. I pay a small annual fee for the domain name, and I am stuck having WordPress run ads on the site (I will probably pay the extra fee to have those removed once I graduate and have a real job.) But I decided a few years ago that I wouldn’t write for free on for-profit sites anymore. “Exposure” is not currency. Exposure has no value to me, because I don’t want to write for a living. I write for fun. Exposure has no value to me because I don’t run ads on my site or get paid for click-throughs or anything like that. Exposure has no value to me because it doesn’t really work. I didn’t see a jump in traffic (thank goodness, I didn’t want much of a jump, you’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than the comments of a PD piece) and it didn’t have much of a social media reach. (I also didn’t promote it much, and it got published on a weekend afternoon, which is a dead zone for blogs.)

You get what you pay for with writers who write for free. (Well, in my case, I am amazing and this site is free because I am magnanimous, not because I am a poor writer.) You either get the same old clickbait crap, or you get articles riddled with spelling, grammar, and content errors, or, if you’re lucky, you get good writers who don’t know how to ask for money (or are afraid to ask for it, because they don’t want to lose the opportunity to someone who will do it for free).

I know this is burying the lede, but from here on down is the important part of the post.

Zoe, a Philadelphia-based writer and sports aficionado, wants to find those good writers who deserve to be paid, as well as good writers who are paid but who really want to write about topics that don’t “sell,” and she wants to pay them. Zoe has started The Victory Press, and I’ll give you her elevator pitch: “I plan to build a site that publishes regular, dedicated women’s sports coverage and compensates its writers for the many hours of original reporting that goes into covering women’s sports, since other news outlets do not provide this coverage.”

Revolutionary. Paying good writers to write good stories. I am so excited for this site! Everyone should be excited! Finally a place for us to read stories about women’s hockey from people who actually care about the sport, not grudging blips from male beat writers when some woman has done something so phenomenal they simply can’t be ignored. (See Dan Barreiro trying to tell me he covers Gopher women’s hockey all the time, as if I am not a former listener who knows lip service when she sees it, but let’s leave the toy box again.)

You can help get this site off the ground, too! Zoe has started an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign, with a transparent, detailed list of what’s needed to get the site running and what costs will be incurred. The page could basically be held up as a template for how everyone should go about crowd-funding (and what potential funders should expect to see; usually we see grifters shouting GIMME MONEY and then faffing around with their vanity project, accomplishing precious little.)

Support The Victory Press! Support good writing by compensated, accountable writers! Support the rise to prominence of women’s professional and amateur hockey! I already know you like good writing and women’s hockey, because you read RWD!

An Alternate Timeline

14 August 2015

Today, tUMD announced that Brett Larson is coming back to reclaim his position as assistant coach. Thank you for announcing that at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, but whatever, it is great news however/whenever it came! You’ll recall that I didn’t think this would happen, but could envision a circumstance in which it could. This is the best possible hire tUMD could have made.

“I could not be more thrilled to be coming home to work at my alma mater,” said Larson. “I loved my time playing and coaching at UMD and cannot wait to once again be part of the Bulldog family.”

Brett, from the moment you committed to the program as a young lad from Denfeld HS, you have been part of the Bulldog family and that didn’t stop when you left.

In the wake of this hire, I have revised my idea of how the next few years will shape up in men’s hockey. Here’s the new timeline:

August 21, 2015: Brett Larson re-joins the Bulldogs.

April 9, 2016: tUMD wins their second national championship, 5 years to the day from their first one. Heck, it can even be against Michigan. Maybe not in OT? I’m not picky.

March 2017: Ryan Sandelin commits to tUMD.

April 2017: Scott Sandelin steps down as head coach and gets some AHL/NHL job somewhere. Somewhere far, far, far, far, FAR away from North Dakota, to please Mrs. Sandelin.

June 2017: Brett Larson takes the reins as head coach of tDogs.

October 2037: UND finally decides on a nickname: sUNDogs.

You’ll recall I am an excellent prognosticator, so don’t be shocked when all of this comes to pass.

Needles and Pins

6 August 2015

Can we please have a new men’s hockey assistant coach announced ASAP? I am tired of waiting. Matt Wellens tweeted yesterday that we should know soon, so I assume that means tomorrow at like 4:59 PM.

Thanks to Derek Plante for your dedication to the program over the past few years. I was skeptical of Plante due to his lack of experience in coaching and recruiting, but my concerns were unfounded, and he did a fantastic job. You’ve always represented the Bulldogs well as a player, as an alumnus, and as a coach. Enjoy watching your own kids play, instead of someone else’s.

I don’t really have a guess as to who the coach might be. I haven’t done much nosing around and there hasn’t been much chatter coming through my timeline so I don’t have any guesses. I spent more time guessing who the new UND assistant would be, but that’s because they wrote a ridiculous job description that would ensure they got the specific candidate they wanted, and I wanted to figure out who fit that profile. Then they went and hired a non-alumnus and I didn’t see that coming.

I thought earlier in the year that tUMD would hire Tyler Palmiscno, former head coach of the East Grand Forks boys’s team. He stepped down as head coach a few weeks ago, and I thought for sure he would be coming to tUMD. Sandy coached him at UND and most likely recruited him, he’s had great success with the Green Wave, and he’s a relatively young guy. He seemed like Sandy’s type. A couple different people told me he wouldn’t be coming here, so while we won’t know for sure until they make a hire, it’s unlikely I’m right. I still think it was a good guess!

Maybe Brett Larson will come back? I doubt it. Someone mentioned the name to me, but in a “let’s toss around some names” manner, not a “hint hint wink wink” manner, and I don’t think that’s likely either. I don’t know what purpose it would serve for Brett to come back here as an assistant coach when he’s an associate head coach at Tighty Whitey State. My guess (hope) is when Brett comes back to Duluth, it’ll be as head coach.

It’ll probably be some junior hockey coach I’ve never heard of, but really, guys should be beating down Sandy’s door begging to come here to coach. This team is primed for a championship, with all eligible players returning (even Farley, despite a small panic yesterday), some darn good recruits coming in, and a hometown player as captain. Just hurry up and announce who will be lucky enough to jump on the bandwagon for the 2016 national championship!


19 June 2015

tUMD hired the new assistant coaches for the women’s hockey team three days ago and I still don’t know what to say.

It was obvious to anyone and everyone that Laura Bellamy was going to be one of the assistants. Laura is a Duluth native, was on the Harvard coaching staff, and was apparently seeking a subletter for her apartment several weeks ago, so it was obvious. I guessed it back in April. Laura is a goaltender, so I don’t know what that means for Nicklin. She was an assistant at Harvard for two years.

The other assistant position is going to Samantha Reber, 2015 Harvard alumna. I don’t know what to say about this hire. I don’t think anyone could have guessed this.

I hope both hires were in Coach Crowell’s master plans all along. I have no reason to believe they are not, other than my own conspiracy theories.

All three women have been coached or mentored by Katey Stone, one of the best coaches in the business. This is fantastic. However, I also find it a little… insular, I guess. We have one coach with 2 years of experience, and one with none; it would have been nice to have a coach who offered a fresh perspective and who had been mentored in her coaching career by someone else.

I think a young, energetic coaching staff is fantastic. It also scares me a bit, especially in recruiting. I am sure Coach Crowell has connections, and Laura has been building hers, and is of course coming back to her home turf. Reber’s home turf is Edina, which of course, I hate.

I hate #Edina.

A photo posted by DMC (@thoroughlymodernmakeup) on

If Coach Reber can go into the heart of UMTC recruiting territory, where they probably don’t even TRY to win recruiting battles, they just DO, and she can win some key battles for top recruits in the area, I’ll be her champion forever and ever, amen. Both assistants will also need to make inroads in Canada to round out the roster. This team isn’t going to be successful with in-state-only recruits. We need at least a couple maple syrup suckers to suit up.

I want to be optimistic, but instead I feel hesitant. We have two coaches who are so very inexperienced at coaching. I want a national championship, like, tomorrow. I mean, this is tUMD hockey. We expect success. We expect wins. We expect to be hosting home playoff games, making the NCAAs, sending players off to international success. That’s a tough legacy to live up to, but I’m sorry, mediocrity isn’t okay. These three coaches could be hard-charging, brilliant tacticians, for all I know. Nothing would make me happier, but we are all going to have to wait until October to find out, and my mind is churning with concern in the meantime.

Welcome home, Laura, and welcome, Samantha. I want success for you both, and I know you’ll do everything you can to help this program get back to its era of dominance!

What One Screwball Can Do

22 May 2015

A few weeks ago I asked tUMD’s athletic department to make a change to the Twitter account for the men’s hockey program.

There are people who thought I was crazy.

I'll show them what one screwball can do!

I’ll show them what one screwball can do!

The powers that be in the UMD Athletic Department didn’t think I was so crazy. Behold:

The new men's hockey Twitter account

The new men’s hockey Twitter account

The women's hockey Twitter account

The existing women’s hockey Twitter account

The hockey Twitter account, which will highlight  both programs

The hockey Twitter account, which will highlight both programs

After I didn’t receive an answer from tUMD on Twitter, I decided to email the athletic director and the men’s hockey SID. I also connected with the UMD Commission for Women, who wrote an official letter to the athletic director on the matter, which was much more eloquent than mine.

My email was forwarded to the director of marketing, who told me they were looking into the matter, and then a week or two later, he responded with this explanation.

“We learned the @UMDHockey account was the first account created for any of our programs and was designed to cover UMD Hockey in general (Men and Women) because our Women’s team at the time chose not to be active on social media. Now that both are active as well as all our teams we felt it was the right time for the change.”

Hey, it makes sense to me. And if Maryland’s club hockey team hadn’t decided to cybersquat on the @umdmhockey account, we could have had parallel structure for our team Twitter handles.

I really appreciate the response from the athletic department. I mean, the fix was SO easy, a cave man could have done it, so there wasn’t any reason not to, but I am sure they could have dismissed me. Perhaps without the Commission for Women’s letter of concern, they would have, so I appreciate their willingness to step in and give their opinion on the matter.

In the grand scheme of things, this change may seem insignificant. A lot of people asked me why I chose to champion this issue, because as you know, there are starving people and wars and meth and stuff. People are not allowed to ask for small things to be changed, because big things are going on, I guess. I chose this issue because it was small, and because it was something I had the power to address. Small changes add up over time. (I also expect anyone who made snide remarks about my mini-crusade on the grounds that there are bigger problems in the world to be a big donor to this fall’s From Top Shelf To Food Shelf campaign.)

Thanks for doing the right thing, tUMD Athletics.

Your move, Gophers.


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