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FTSTFS 2018 Update

6 December 2018

Anyone else excited to see how pledging is shaping up? I know I’m like a kid on Christmas morning every time I open up my tracking spreadsheet and see there’s a new pledge. There was even a new pledge while I was writing this paragraph! I also know that once folks see how many other people are participating, they’ll be inspired to join in if they haven’t. It’s fun!

Unaware of what #FromTopShelfToFoodShelf is all about? Read here to learn all about it. Inspired to make a pledge? Here’s the form. And surprise! You’ve already contributed $5 to the cause, because I’ve pledged $5/participant.

Here are the amazing, generous people who have made a pledge so far, and the organizations they are donating to. There’s plenty of time to make a pledge! You can even wait to see how the weekend shapes up, and make a retroactive pledge by Sunday.

Spencer – flat donation of $64.50, $20/win, $10/tie, double donation if UNO sweeps to Open Door Mission
Lori – $5/goal, $10/win to Foodbank for the Heartland
Connor – $10/UNO goal, $10/tUMD women’s goal, $5/major by UNO or SCSU to Maverick Food Pantry
Jolene – $10/goal, $100/shutout to Together Omaha

Mullet – $1/goal, $5/win, $5/shutout, and $5 for a sweep to Open Door Pantry of Eagan
Anonymous – 1 package of TP/goal to Champ’s Cupboard
John – $1/goal by a D1 hockey team in the state of Minnesota to Pillager Family Center
Anonymous – $2.50/men’s goal (minimum $25) and “some clothes” to Northern Lakes Food Bank and Goodwill
Biddy – $10/win, $10/sweep to CEAP
RWD – $5/goal, $5/FTSTFS participant, 1 item/freshman goal to CHUM and Second Harvest Heartland
Rebecca – $5/goal, $10/point by her fantasy team to Northern Lakes Food Bank
Dan of the Week – $5/win, $10/Soucy penalty, $1/pledge retweet to CHUM
Wayne – $10 x total margin of victory, $5/Twitter argument I get into to Northern Lakes Food Bank
Angel – $5/men’s goal, $10/Shep shutout to Salvation Army
Ben – $10/men’s win, $10/men’s SHG, $15/Cates on Cates goal to Chicago’s Food Bank
Anonymous – $10/goal to Friends in Need Food Shelf

Alex (UND women’s hockey only) – 1 non-perishable item/point scored by former UND women’s hockey player, 1 lb of pet food/5 saves, 10lbs/shutout (goalie statistics include Maddie Rooney) to EGF Food Shelf and Circle of Friends Humane Society
Anonymous – $5/goal to Catholic Charities of Boston

Emily – $1/Gopher women’s hockey goal, $20/point from TJ Polglaze to Second Harvest Heartland and UMN Aurora Center
Melmac & Nezzy – $5/goal, $25/shutout to Western UP Food Bank

Joe – $3/goal against BU to Greater Boston Food Bank
Laura – $1/goal, $3/David Cotton goal to Greater Boston Food Bank
Adam – $10/women’s win, $15/men’s win, $1/each time the BC fan group says “Donna?” to Greater Boston Food Bank

Bobby Mo
Ashley – $3 and 1 food item/goal to West Hills Food Pantry and Light of Life Rescue Mission

Jeremy – $5/goal, $10/win to CEAP MN
Dave – $50 to his local food shelf
Erik – 5¢/save,$2/goal to Southwest Carver Food Shelf
GOHUSKIESWOOOOO – some complicated pledge I am not transcribing here to Division of Indian Work Horizons Unlimited Food Shelf, including letter of apology re: UND fans.
Tom – $10/men’s win, $5/men’s goal to Salvation Army
Neil – $200, $25/men’s shutout, $50 if the women upset UW to Catholic Charities of Central Minnesota
Heather (SCSU AD) – $5/goal to Anna Marie’s Alliance and Pathways 4 Youth
Mike – $100 to Feeding South Dakota

Lake Superior Circle Tour
Brandon – $2/even strength goal against the Lake Superior Circle Tour schools ($1/PPGA, $5/SHGA) to CHUM

Alan – $50/men’s goal to San Antonio Food Bank
Anonymous – $10/women’s goal to Second Harvest

Rob – $5/goal against Dartmouth, $10/win, $5 if the margin of victory > 3, $5/shutout, $50 sweep to New Hampshire Food Bank

Oswego State
Jen – $5/goal to Oswego County Catholic Charities Food Pantry

Caissa – $1/goal, $5/shutout to St. Vincent de Paul
Nicole -$1/goal, $5/shutout to Hunger Task Force
Drew – $5/goal, $5/win to Mom Helps

Jimmy – $2/goal vs BU to Greater Boston Food Bank

John – $5/goal, $25/shutout to Moisson Estrie

Mankato/Notre Dame
Andy & Cayden – $5/win, $20 if both MSU teams sweep,$15 if Notre Dame sweeps, $3/hatty to Second Harvest Midwest

All of Women’s Hockey
Gabs – 1 item/women’s player with a multi-point game, 5 items/shutout or hat trick to People’s Pantry


From Top Shelf To Food Shelf Year Six Six Six

27 November 2018

By now, #FTSTFS is part of college hockey lore, but in case you recently came out of a nuclear fallout shelter where you’ve been living since 1975, let me assist you with an explanation of what this is all about:

Comrades, the time has come once more for the annual From Top Shelf To Food Shelf pledge drive. Unfamiliar with how this started? Read the origin story here.

You make a pledge. Your team plays hockey. You fulfill your pledge. It’s so easy.

Did you know that last year, as a group, we surpassed the $10,000 mark? Cumulatively, college hockey fans have come together to raise $10,624.65 and 594 ancillary items. This is officially a big freaking deal, thanks to some really cool people. People like you!

My own pledge this year is $5 per tUMD goal and $5 per FTSTFS participant. So simply making a pledge of your own is worth $5 before the weekend has even started!

Here are the rules of engagement:

  1. Dream up a pledge based on the performance of your hockey team on the weekend of December 7/8/9. The pledge can be related to anything that can be quantified (and something I can easily look up). Goals, wins, saves, PIM, etc. Most pledges are money, but some are cans of food, hams, jars of peanut butter (warning: PB is expensive), or clothing items (socks, hats, gloves, etc). Please refrain from making the pledge overly complex.
  2.  Choose a charity in your community or in the community in which your team plays. I live in St. Paul, but my teams are in Duluth. I chose a charity in Duluth (CHUM). If you live in Kampala, Uganda and cheer for AIC, you could choose a charity in Kampala or one in Springfield.
  3. Click this link to go to the official pledge form! It’s so easy! Answer a few simple questions and your pledge is recorded. I will do my best to handle pledges made in other ways, but I would hate to miss one, so please just use the form. There is an option to make your pledge anonymous as well. I will know you’ve made the pledge, but won’t share your name.
  4. Spread the word. Evangelize on your blog, your social media platforms (#FromTopShelfToFoodShelf!), and even in real life, if you interact with others in that way. This is a great way to help even if you have made contributions elsewhere or you are unable to contribute materially.
  5. Tally up what you owe. I keep track on a spreadsheet, but I don’t send out reminders or updates. If you ask directly, I can verify your total. If you choose to round up or if you need to modify your pledge, please tell me.
  6. **Donate directly to the charity you’ve selected.** I don’t collect the money. I trust that you will make this donation.

(I know not every team plays next weekend, so if you would like to participate anyway, we can work something out, whether that’s making a pledge this upcoming weekend, or hitching you up to a team’s bandwagon.)

Please join in the festivities in any way you can, whether that pledges or publicity. No contribution is too small! It is so fun to be part of something bigger than one’s self – watching my friends across the college hockey world getting into the spirit warms my cold black heart.

Can You Hear Me, Major Tom?

18 November 2018

All told, this was not a great weekend for tUMD sports. On Friday, the volleyball team lost in the regional semi-finals, then women’s hockey lost to duhOSU, and then the men were shut out by Denver. Saturday, the football team lost their home playoff game, the women’s hockey team was swept, and the Wild blew a 2-0 lead, letting former Wild player Jason Pominville score the game winner with a minute and a half left – not a Bulldog game per se, but certainly a game that many Bulldogs fans watched and were disappointed by. (The good news for us here is that while Phil Housley may have won in Minnesota, his wife didn’t!)

So it’s understandable that most Bulldogs fans were in A Mood by the time the men’s hockey game began on Saturday evening. Obviously I was, since anyone who follows my Twitter feed knows that I am a glass case of emotion during hockey games. I imagine for some it’s a form of entertainment itself, watching my violent mood swings. tUMD hasn’t beaten Denver in awhile, they were shut out the night before despite reports that they were playing well, and with all the bad sporting news occurring over the weekend, I guess I started watching the game already in a black hole of despair. There’s really only one way to deal with that kind of attitude, and that’s with pessimistic, sarcastic, dark humor.

I’d like to point out that 4 of the 6 Yes votes came after tUMD had already scored a goal.

A couple things added to my general frustration/inability to enjoy the game that had nothing to do with the game itself. First, I was very hungry, which as we are all aware, leads to hanger. No, not like a coat hanger, that’s what Americans are going to need in order to exercise their right to reproductive freedom once the fascists in government fully execute their misogynistic plan. In this context, hanger = hunger + anger. And that shizz is real, people.

The second problem I was having was a technological problem. One of the serious downsides to moving away from Duluth was losing access to some of the various media forms I used to consume tUMD hockey. Specifically, local simulcasts and actual radio. There was no local simulcast this time, so I didn’t miss out on that, but the livestream I was forced to listen to started out several minutes behind the actual game. I understand there’s going to be a lag between the live game and any broadcast of the game – I often see a tweet about something happening in a Wild game many seconds before it is shown on the television. But there is at least a 2 minute delay between what happens in tUMD men’s hockey games live, and when it is broadcast on the internet stream. This is absurd.

Finally, there was a sub-problem to problem #2, one that I don’t normally experience but that cause a major issue last night. Multiple times during the broadcast, the game did not return from commercial break. The first time it happened, tUMD was already down 2-0, and Denver was going on the PP, because of course they are angels who never do anything wrong and simply sneezing near a DU player is going to result in a penalty. Never mind that the most egregious and destructive penalty I’ve ever seen live was committed by a Denver player… After enduring 8-9 minutes of commercials, the feed returned and went right into the intermission report. So I missed several minutes of actual game play. While I didn’t want the game to continue to lag farther and farther behind, I also didn’t like missing any of the action. There’s no point in staying off Twitter to avoid spoilers when I’m not going to get any of the action anyway. People had to suffer, deprived of my caustic wit, and for no earthly reason!

After it got to be 3-0, I decided to just give up and go all in on stupid jokes, GIFs, and mocking those less fortunate than me (Gopher football and their jejune head coach). Being unkind and snarky is endlessly enjoyable to me, because I am a small, sad person with a heart two sizes too small, and proud of it.


It me.

Eventually things started to come back around for me. It was still 3-0, but there are certain points where I don’t care so much that an inflection point is reached, and I go from not caring to not not caring, which is not the same as caring. It’s difficult to explain, but I’ll illustrate with a tweet from last night:

What does this even mean? No one knows. I was actually looking for a gif of my fave, the Night King, because I was trolling Let’s Go DU, and I happened upon this one instead. There’s probably a German word for this feeling I experience from time to time, but the best I can say is it’s the feeling you get when you have absolutely nothing left to lose from supporting your team. I don’t know, some people feel like it’s a breach of fan etiquette to cheer for a team when they’re losing, like you’re supposed to file away quietly or switch to sheepishly complimenting the other team. If there’s one thing I do NOT like to do, it’s give credit to opposing teams when it is due. I will leave things like “sportspersonship” and “classiness” to the plebes.

Eventually Nick Swaney scored a goal, so I figured oh, tDogs got their requisite Goal In Denver, we can pack it in and go home satisfied. I suppose it helps that tUMD didn’t beat Denver in 5 tries last year on their way to winning a national championship. That puts things in perspective. Then Billy Exell scored and there was somehow still half a period to go!

The worst thing about the feed being behind during a game is the nagging feeling that in that gray area between the present and the moment in time the broadcast is in, the opponent has scored. This was intensified when Roehl took a penalty and I was sure Denver would score on the PP and dagger our hopes of a comeback. Of course it didn’t happen but it is a constant fear. Those readers from the early days of RWD, back before texting, recall that I used to have to work evenings during my career as a makeup counter jockey (a job I’m supposed to feel ashamed of, but do not, because it was a great job! and also because people shouldn’t be ashamed of their work unless it is unethical or illegal) and would have my father call me on the sales floor to give me score updates. So if tDogs were losing then, and the phone wasn’t ringing, that was basically torture – things have improved since then, but still. We Have The Technology. The feed doesn’t have to be so far behind.

This means that I didn’t get to celebrate the last second, game-tying goal from Scorin’ Scotty – partially because I was behind the internet celebration, and partially because I was spoiled on it by both Twitter and by my phone blowing up with texts from Dan of the Week. It was pretty exciting though! That’s part of what I like about this team so much – they may have off days, and their play may be frustrating to watch at times, but I never ever think it’s because they aren’t trying or doing their best (bests?). I don’t remember the last time I was ever annoyed with the level of effort being put out by members of the team. So it is really great to see that kind of character rewarded with crazy last minute shenanigan goals!

Then Bruce went to a commercial break, promising to come back in “90 seconds” with the overtime call.

And I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Commercial after commercial after commercial after commercial.

I finally gave up and went back to Twitter to see what was going on, and the game was already over. Cole Koepke, hometown hero, had scored less than a minute in, and tDogs had completed a comeback that will go down in history. It was about as dramatic as they come for a regular season game against a non-heated rival. According to Bruce, the last time tDogs overcame a deficit was in the 03-04 season, against CC, but the comeback had started earlier (also they won 5-3 and not in OT).

I’m happy about the outcome, but annoyed with the technical difficulties. I didn’t even get to hear the goal call until the postgame show replay, because the feed never actually played the OT. When it finally stopped playing commercials, the postgame show was on. I get that this is “free” and I am lucky and privileged to have internet and such, but at the same time, as a listener, I’m a product being sold to advertisers. “We have x people tuning in online,” etc. And hey, the advertisers sure got their money’s worth! So good for them.

Still. WHAT A COMEBACK. WHAT A TEAM. I was grinning all night about the game. It took a LOT of the sting out of the other losses on the weekend, and now that it’s over, of course I’m excited about how it played out. It may be agony in real time (or slightly delayed time), but that payoff is sweet. I love low-stakes, high-drama entertainment!

Nobody Likes Denver

16 November 2018

Many people get caught up in hating the Gophers, or the Effing Hawks, or Wisconsin, but I’d like to remind you that Denver is a very unlikable team. Exhibit A.

A typical Denver post-season experience: showing up to the NCHC tournament and winning in front of… the coaching staff and athletic trainers. What a thrill!

Just how unlikable is Denver? I’ll tell you. In 2017, the day of the national championship game, Biddy, Tim, and Kleiner went to a bar to watch a footy match. A British gentleman was there watching the match as well, and noted their maroon and gold attire. When he inquired as to tUMD’s opponent in the game, upon learning it was DU, he responded thusly:

“Denver? Fook Denver.”

Except he didn’t say “fook.” He didn’t even pronounce it “fook,” that’s just Dan of the Week’s poor attempt at a British accent. A side benefit of this is that now he and I have a way to swear on Skype for Business without having our conversations flagged for inappropriate content. Anyway, if a complete stranger, from another country, who likes another sport, knows how much Denver sucks, we know it’s true.

tUMD is, of course, the reigning national champion, but a little-known fact is that Denver is the 2017 national champion. They managed to eke out this win in front of a surprisingly large (for them) contingent of fans, but I know for a fact that these fans were paid operatives of former Let’s Go DU editor in chief, DG Goddard. I believe there were more UND fans cheering for Denver because they were mad at Neal Pionk than there were Denver “fans” in attendance. They also brought their band, seen here in this recent clip:

Despite having no fans, until recently having a Secret Skinhead as a coach, and generally being abhorrent, Denver has managed to go 10000000*-0-0 against tUMD in their last 10000000* games. This is a problem. It’s a total waste for a team with no fans to win a game! If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does anyone even care if it makes a sound? NO.

So, Bulldogs, it’s time to prey on St. Cloud’s sloppy seconds for the second week in a row, and bring a big sweepity sweep with you when you return to sea level*.

*  approximation

Minus the Black Bears

20 October 2018

tUMD 6, BSU 1/tUMD 2, BSU 0
tUMD 8, Maine 2/tUMD 3, Maine 2

I got this great idea for a post title thanks to a tweet from my favorite record store, Down in the Valley. But now I don’t know what else to say. Maine really sucked it up on Friday night, and so did Bemidji! That was great.

The games themselves, I can’t really comment on. I didn’t come up to Duluth this weekend! I’m very sad about this. It’s my own stupid fault, I signed up to do a race down here in the Cities and then I didn’t even do it! I went to bed super early and missed Justin Richards’ first Bulldog goal! I am officially terrible.

I missed a LOT of first goals actually! In addition to Richards’ first goal, I missed Koepke’s and Linser’s, too. And I missed Naomi Rogge having basically a natural hat trick, going from zero goals to FOUR GOALS this weekend — she scored the last two on Friday, including one with 0.1 seconds left, and the only two on Saturday. It’s about time tUMD stopped getting clogged up by Bemidji. And it was nice for Rooney to get a shutout.

One benefit of staying home this weekend was watching the Wild game on TV while listening to tUMD’s game. Stalock got the start, and while the beginning was somewhat unpleasant, Al really shined in the 3 on 3 OT. He is absolutely made for that kind of situation – so much space for him to play the puck, come waaaaaaay out of the net, and basically quarterback the play. He made two great stretch passes, the second of which was an assist on the game winning goal. I love seeing him on the Wild.

tUMD men play the Potato Farmers again next weekend, at the Golden Potato Farm, and the women are at St. Cloud, which should hopefully be another big sweepity sweep. The Potato Farmers just massacred the Red Cows, but I think UNO might just really suck, it’s unclear. It’s so hard to tell what’s a bad loss and what’s okay right now. Obviously all losses to Goofs are bad, because of course they suck. They’re the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked.

Existential Dread

8 October 2018

Let’s set aside that tUMD went 0-2-1-1 against the rodentia this weekend for a moment, and talk about why this season isn’t as exciting as it should be. I haven’t done much to prep for the season, haven’t even looked at the schedule that much, and I’m going to be missing all the women’s games in the near future and I’m skipping the next men’s home series (and I almost missed Saturday’s game! I wasn’t going to go til I figured out we’d be raising the banner).

tUMD women had a great weekend last weekend, sweeping Boston College, and so that got me a bit more engaged in the season. I made a tough decision to forego my women’s season tickets this year, since I won’t be able to attend enough games to make it financially feasible — and then my plan for getting my women’s hockey fix was thwarted. We’ll talk about that later.

I did get a bit more excited for this weekend’s games because I had a fun idea on how to kick off the weekend:

There’s nothing I love more than a good sign. This took about 15 takes btw.

I figured out what was wrong at about 10:00 PM on Saturday night, as we turned our car onto I-35 south. I don’t live in Duluth anymore.

I don’t live 10 minutes from the arena anymore. I don’t get home before the postgame show is over. (Okay that never happened because of traffic, but still.) I have to choose between a relaxing weekend at home, sleeping in my own bed and seeing tUMD play. I have to fight road construction and weekend traffic to get to games on time (ha) on Fridays. I have to put hundreds of miles on my car and spend hundreds more on gas just to see home games.

The luxury of spending the last five years living in Duluth after a decade of commuting to games from the Twin Cities was never lost on me. I was always appreciative of the convenience (even if I wasn’t always on time). But now that I don’t have the privilege anymore, I feel it keenly in my soul. I haven’t just lost the convenience, I’ve lost the community.

There’s something about living in a town where what seems like the whole city is behind the team. The Dogs were on the local news all the time. The players and coaches were out in the community. I saw my colleagues and neighbors at games. I saw Bulldog gear and paraphernalia on people and places every day. I had a free place to park. I could go to weekday events, like the locker room tour or the runner-up and championship celebrations (ok I went to the championship thing but still, had to drive) or season ticket seat selection. I am no longer part of the zeitgeist.

I am sure eventually I will get used to it again (and things have changed, as I no longer have to couch surf or pony up for a hotel), but just thinking about all those long drives made me tired, and made Bulldog fandom almost seem like a burden.

Peter Krieger’s goal and Maddie Rooney’s shootout saves lifted that burden a bit. Bring on the miles, bring on the late nights, bring on the fifteenth season of Runnin’ with the Dogs!

This Is Not My Beautiful House

20 June 2018

Today, Amsoil Arena, the beautiful rink that houses our favorite Bulldog hockey teams, that honors our greatest players, that hosted many of our warmest hockey memories, is going to host a fascist rally.

Our six national championship banners (the seventh will be raised in October) will hang from the rafters while people I probably sit next to at hockey games, people who might even read this blog, mindlessly chant anti-democratic slogans and cheer like trained seals at vile, racist statements from the minority-elected president.

I can’t stomach the thought of seeing my favorite city and my favorite arena serve as a backdrop for a horde of racists, frothing at the mouth as their empty eyes gaze up at a tyrant in rapture and adoration. And these people won’t be strangers. They will be my colleagues, my former neighbors, the people behind me in line to see the national championship trophy. Lining up to listen to lies and filth from a megalomaniac, in the building where Olympic gold medalists like Haley Irwin, Sidney Morin and Maddie Rooney played (and will return to play), where Mike Connolly thrilled us with five goals against the Gophers, where Lara Stalder dazzled us by taking over game after game after game, where some random guy won $50,000 scoring from the opposite end of the rink. It’s nauseating to consider.

This arena wasn’t built to house hatred and bigotry. It wasn’t constructed to host a man who is ripping toddlers from their parents as they flee violence and poverty, housing them in internment camps and tent cities. Amsoil Arena wasn’t LEED certified so an orange blowhard despot who employs a criminal as head of the EPA could get his rocks off in front of a crowd.

If you’re forced to attend this tragic circus because you work at the DECC, or you’re a city official, or you’re in the press, I am sorry, and I worry for your safety. Especially if you’re in the media – this president encourages the zombies who worship him to harass the media. Then probably goes and wipes his ass with the Constitution.

If you choose to attend this rally of your own free will because you think this president is great, get the hell out of my beautiful house.