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The Bends

9 January 2017

tUMD 2, Tiggers 2 (tUMD 3v3 win)/tUMD 1, Tiggers 2
tUMD 2, All-Stars 5

When one has been deprived of hockey for such a long time, one has to be slowly acclimated. Just like a deep-sea diver must slowly return to the surface, a hockey fan cannot go from zero hockey to, say, a blow-out sweep, or else they will get decompression sickness (aka the bends).

So I was in no danger of nitrogen bubbles bursting in my brain after a weekend of lackluster hockey.

This is not to say there were not any hockey highlights of late. Just none that I witnessed in person.

Team USA beat Canada in the WJC on Thursday, that was good. Joey Anderson was an integral part of the team, showing up on the ice in nearly every important situation.

This is pretty awesome.

The Wild are playing well and winning games in regulation sometimes even. Unprecedented!

Bulldog alumna Meghan Huertas signed with the Connecticut Whale and scored a goal in her professional debut.

First pro bingo, dream come true. Huge thanks to my teammates and staff

A photo posted by Meghan Huertas (@hueyy43) on

Look at that Florida tan.

Anyway, after a very cold week, I was very happy to return to the rink for some Bulldog action. Instead I got… Bulldog inaction, with the exception of a few minutes of excitement courtesy of one Neal Pionk, who took tUMD from 0 to 2 points in dramatic fashion.

The highlight of the game, I couldn’t even see from my vantage point: Squirrel making a Tiger look foolish.

Avery Peterson had Avery eventful home debut, with his first goal as a Bulldog and his first ejection as a Bulldog. Congrats on that, I guess, but you’re the only hope for Riley Tufte to ever get a goal so maybe don’t get ejected again.

Saturday was a double-header of sadness. I arrived (late) to the Bulldogs vs. the Whitecaps. It was kind of not a very good game, but look. The Whitecaps are an All-Star team. They have Kendall Coyne, Shebbly Ebbly-Bebbly (Shelby Amsley-Benzie’s real name, according to BC fans), and Bulldog killer Stephanie Anderson. This weekend tDogs play UMTC and I would like a win so this was not exactly a confidence booster. tDogs were at the men’s game Friday night, so maybe they caught The Suck from that.

The men’s game was just terrible and depressing. It was a nightmare of missed connections and flubbed shots and all the little things that usually have gone right for this team going wrong. There were moments of excitement but tDogs could not get anything going. The folks in my section were getting extremely antsy and annoyed. I think I have found my people.

The men take on St. Cloud this weekend, a team who also had a disappointing weekend, so I’m hoping for a couple of good games (good games = Bulldog wins), but tUMD’s sweep of St. Cloud in November was not easy and involved a significant amount of “puck luck,” which they may have run out of, temporarily.

From Top Shelf To Food Shelf, Year 4

12 December 2016

60 fans. 15 teams. 3 days. 54 games. 950 seconds of successful penalty kill for Michigan Tech. 1 complicated spreadsheet.

$2876 and 190 food/clothing/hygiene items.

That’s powerful, my friends. When you feel small and powerless, when you feel like nothing you ever do will ever make the slightest change in the world, remember this.

This year my own contribution was $110 ($5/UMD goal + $1 per participant). $110 on its own is both a lot and nothing. But because so many others pledged or spread the word to the greater hockey community, that pledge was multiplied 26x (more, including the non-monetary contributions!). That’s a marvel. Of course none of us are ever the sole giver to a charitable organization, but rarely do we see the direct effects of our own enthusiasm and momentum.

It doesn’t stop there. This is the 4th annual From Top Shelf To Food Shelf campaign. The cumulative total of this event is simply magical.

$6552 and 535 food/clothing/hygiene items.

That’s the power of social media and the kind hearts of the people I know, or who I’ve gotten to know, because of this event. You people are so amazing. There were many people asking me about the event before I even started. “When is From Top Shelf to Food Shelf this year?” I was asked, by multiple people, months ago. I look forward to this weekend for months in advance, picking the date as soon as the schedules are finalized. The campaign this year lifted me up when my outlook on this world and on humanity was pretty bleak.

Thank you for your generosity and kindness, everyone. The multitude of worthy and deserving organizations you’ve chosen to donate to are enriched because of you.

FTSTFS4 Update!

8 December 2016

Once again, pledges for From Top Shelf To Food Shelf (what’s that? read here) are pouring in from generous souls around college hockey. It’s so exciting to see hockey fans from around the country come together to make a difference in their communities. I love seeing all the different organizations folks have chosen!

This year, my own pledge is $5/UMD goal, plus $1 for every additional pledge made, to CHUM. CHUM is an organization in the Hillside community of Duluth which helps people with basic necessities and stabilization.

Here is a list of the pledges so far. There’s still plenty of time to make a pledge, and retroactive pledges are welcome. Keep spreading the word (and the pledge form!) on social media, whether you choose to make a pledge or not. Don’t forget to hashtag #FromTopShelfToFoodShelf! (Please be clear about what your pledge applies to: I cannot tell if you mean men’s or women’s teams only, or both.)

UMD
DanOfTheWeek – $5/Lara Stalder goal, $5/Carson Soucy penalty to Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank
Waylon/Wayne – $2 for every minute of scoreless hockey in the UMD/Denver series, $1 for every minute the game is tied after that, to Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank.
Nick/Mullet – $1/men’s goal, $10/men’s win, $5/men’s tie to Roseville Food Shelf via Keystone Services
Angel – $5/goal to CHUM
Biddco – $20/men’s win, jar of peanut butter/Tufte goal to CHUM
Paul – $5/goal to Northland Food Shelf
Larry R – $10/period in which UMD scores a goal vs. Denver to St. Joe’s Food Pantry
Ben – $5/goal and 2 bags of clothes including a Kid Rock shirt to Greater Chicago Food Depository

UNO
PyroMonkey – 1 can/goal, 5 cans/ shutout, 1 can/UNO or SCSU penalty to Food Bank for the Heartland
Lord of College Hockey – $5/goal and $10/power play goal in the UNO-SCSU series, $15/major penalty in any NCHC series to Food Bank for the Heartland
Lori – $5/goal to Food Bank for the Heartland
Red Army – $100 to Food Bank for the Heartland
Spencer – $15/game, $20 for a UNO sweep to Open Door Mission
Jolene – 2 food items/goal for UNO or SCSU to Food Bank for the Heartland

Maine
John – $1/2 saves by Carly Jackson, $5/shutout, $5/win. $1/ Cam Brown SOG, $3/Cam Brown point, $5 for win. $5/additional Maine fan pledge to Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program
Linda – $1/Vesey goal, $0.10/McGovern save, 1 food item/women’s goal to Milo Maine Food Cupboard

UMTC
Melmac & Nezzy – $10/goal to Neighbors of Hope
Anon – $10/UMTC goal to San Antonio Food Bank

MTU
Melmac & Nezzy – $10/goal to Neighbors of Hope
Rob – $5/goal in MTU/BGSU series, $1/PIM in the Governor’s Cup Series to 31 Backpacks

SCSU
Erik  – $2/goal, $0.10/ SOG to St. Cloud Salvation Army Food Shelf
Patty – $1/goal, $10/hat trick, $25/shutout to Anna Marie’s Alliance
Dave – $1/save to his local food shelf
Heather Weems (SCSU AD) – $1/SOG to Catholic Charities Food Shelf
Jeremy – $10/win, $1/goal to CEAP
HuskyPassion – $2/goal, $0.10/save to Place of Hope or Salvation Army
Matt/Duder – $3/goal, $5/goal if it’s the player’s first of the season, $20/sweep to Catholic Charities St. Cloud
Susan (a tUMD alumna!) – $5/goal to Watertown (MN) Food Shelf
GOHUSKIESWOOOOO – $3/goal, additional $1 if the player follows them on Twitter, $5/SCSU win, $10/triple Poehling goal, $15/ sweep, $5/Blais goalie switch, $1/min Blais has a pulled goalie to Second Harvest Heartland
Georoam – $10/SCSU goal, $20 for a sweep, organization TBD
Johnny – $50 to Salvation Army

DU
Nick/LGDU – $0.50/save, $25/shutout for DU or UMD, $20/win to Food Bank of the Rockies
Tim – $5/goal for UMD or DU ($40 minimum pledge) to Food Bank of the Rockies
Tim – 2x Nick’s bid to Food Bank of the Rockies
Vizoroo – $3/save UMD’s goalie misses vs DU to Community Pantry or Salvation Army

Canisius/Niagara
Amy Moritz – $1/goal in any games involving Atlantic Hockey teams to Heart, Love, and Soul

Robert Morris
Ashley Chase – 1 food or clothing item/RMU PPG or penalty killed to West Hills Food Pantry

All 60 Men’s D-1 Teams & Not Ties
Nate – $1.50/game that doesn’t end in a tie to Grafton Food Bank

BC
Joe – $5/tie, $/10/win, $5/goal vs. “Notre Lame” to Greater Boston Food Bank

UNH
Rob – $10/UNH goal against Dartmouth, $20/win, $10 if the win is by 3 or more or is a shutout to New Hampshire Food Bank
Mike – $10/UNH goal against Dartmouth ($20/goal after 3 goals), $20/win ($40 if shutout) to New Hampshire Food Bank

From Top Shelf To Food Shelf Pledge Drive #4

30 November 2016

I know tUMD men are facing back to back series against the dreaded bye week, and it’s yet another road weekend for tUMD women, so there’s not much momentum in Bulldog Nation, but From Top Shelf To Food Shelf weekend is coming nonetheless!

The 4th Annual From Top Shelf To Food Shelf pledge drive will run Dec 9-11. If you live under a rock/were in a coma/recently landed from a galaxy far far away, here’s the deal. From Top Shelf To Food Shelf was established (by me, duh) in 2013 after my car got stuck halfway into the street (or if you’re an optimist, halfway in my driveway) and three strangers helped me push it back into the driveway. I wanted to pay it forward and also spur tDogs on to victory after a rather disastrous sporting weekend (the men and women were both swept).

In three years, hockey fans have raised $3676 and 345 food items. Remarkable!

Here are the rules of engagement:

  1. Dream up a pledge based on the performance of your hockey team Dec 9/10/11. The pledge can be related to basically anything that can be quantified. 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 even clothing items (socks, hats, gloves, etc).
  2.  Choose a food-related charity in your community or in the community in which your team plays. I live in Duluth and my teams conveniently play here, but 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! This is new this year! My friends at BC Interruption helped me out with this. It will help me keep organized, and keep all the pledges in one place. There is an option to make the pledge anonymous, so only you and I will know you’re the person behind the pledge.
  4. Spread the word. Share the movement on your blog, on social media (#FromTopShelfToFoodShelf!), and even in real life, if you interact with others in that way.
  5. Tally up what you owe. I keep track, but I do not send out reminders. If you ask directly I can verify. 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.

It’s very simple. So easy a caveman St. Cloud fan could do it! (Actually St. Cloud fans have been some of the most generous participants and I love them for it.)

I’m really excited to see how this year’s pledge drive will do. It’s been a hard month, but it’s also been a month where folks have already stepped up their giving, especially in the first days after One Of The Worst Moments In US History That Didn’t Directly Involve Violence (Though It Indirectly Did And Continues To Do So). Hereafter known as OOTWMIUSHTDDIV(TIIDACTDS).

Pledge what you can. I promise there’s no amount too small to make an impact, and there’s something exciting about being part of a collective effort to improve the lives of others in your community. If you’re not able to make a pledge, share this post and help spread the word. This year, it would be so awesome to have a pledge from every D1 college hockey fan base (and more! NHL, CIS, D3, club, mites, anything goes!). Can we make it happen?

Winter is Here

19 November 2016

tUMD 4, Red Menace 1

nightking.gif

Ok I’m pretty excited about this win so I thought I’d chat about it. First off, an update: BC Interruption’s wonderful initiative in response to the atrocious election results raised $2418. I donated $38 (I rounded up from $37.50) to the Women’s Health Center of Duluth, and Dan of the Week matched my donation. So, $76 donated to fund abortions. HOPE YOU LIKE THAT, TRUMP LOVERS.

Now, on to other important things: tUMD beating Wisconsin.

I arrived late to the game, as per usual, although I was much later than planned. Yesterday was the first snow of the season and while it didn’t seem like it would be too terrible, it was insanely windy and the rain from the morning/early afternoon had mixed with the snow to create a substance the texture of an Icee on the roads, though substantially less delicious. I had to cross over the freeway on 5th Ave W because of the Christmas City of the North parade (which had to suck for participants) and decided to take a bit of a jagged route so I was not going down the whole hill at once. This proved a smart choice as I skidded slowly down an entire block, foot jammed on the brake pedal as my car shuddered and finally stopped at the bottom of the block, where a police officer was attempting to help a stuck motorist in the other lane. So that was stressful for me. I thought about turning around but I was halfway there and didn’t really want to go up the hill again. So then I had another skidding incident while turning from First St. on to 5th Ave W, which I stopped by not once, but twice deliberately running into the curb (at about 2 mph). Woo.

I made it to the game with about 4 minutes to go in the first period, which is not my worst showing. I was afraid it was going to be 2-0 Commies by the time I arrived, but it was still 0-0, although the shots were 20-3 in Wisconsin’s favor, and tDogs really seemed to be scrambling.

The second period went much, much better for tUMD, with tDogs actually getting the shot advantage in the period, and the scoring advantage! After struggling to clear the zone several times in the beginning of the period, tUMD started to take advantage, and after an Emily Clark penalty, Michelle Lowenhielm scored on the power play. 17 seconds after that, the Badgers were back in the box and tUMD had a couple more good chances.

The BADgers were clearly not expecting tUMD to put up much of a fight at first – they seem to have a couple of show-offs on the team who were more interested in making a pretty play and looking good than they were in playing fundamentally sound hockey. That tightened up in a hurry once they found themselves “behind at the pay window,” as Bruce says. Either Mark Johnson ripped them a new one in the locker room, or they realized that their cockiness wasn’t going to fly without star goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens to bail their butts out.

It didn’t matter, because tUMD scored 3:59 into the 3rd period as Katie McGovern’s third chance at stuffing the puck in between the post and goaltender Cece’s glove was the charm. Mrazova scored less than 3 minutes later, and tUMD was leading Wisconsin by 3 goals, something I had not conceived of when I was risking my life (or at least my car’s life) driving to the game. Wisconsin did finally skip a puck by Maddie Rooney, who had been UNBELIEVABLE to that point. When your team allows 20 shots in the first period alone and you stand tall, that is everything. Ashleigh Brykaliuk scored 1:12 after the Commie goal, on a snipe that made me almost feel bad for the poor goalie, it was SO SICK.

It was incredibly exciting to see tUMD beat Wisconsin, who had not lost yet this year. The last time tUMD beat Wisconsin was Oct 14, 2012, so it had been over 4 years. It felt pretty amazing, and I don’t care that it came without ARD. She’s a lights-out goaltender, but Wisconsin has firepower, so there’s no reason why they couldn’t have scored more than one goal. No reason besides tUMD’s awesomeness, of course.

I’m looking forward to this afternoon, which will hopefully have 1. a safer drive and 2. an equally awesome score.

Badlands

11 November 2016

Last weekend, tUMD men swept in St. Cloud, Team USA won the Four Nations Cup, I had a great weekend with my family (including a surprise visit from my uncle!), and I was galvanized by the near-certain prospect that a qualified, brilliant, resilient woman would be president.

Instead, I am sitting here on gameday wondering if I’ll ever enjoy hockey again.

I’m sure that’ll just be dismissed as crybaby libtard tears. That’s fine, no matter how many times I say I’m not actually a liberal, people seem to think they know my mind better than I do. I know it’s hard for some people to wrap their heads around it, especially since so many spineless conservatives panicked and gave their support to an appalling tyrant who treats women and minorities like they are disposable subhumans, but this isn’t actually a Republican vs. Democrat issue, or even about political issues at all. It’s about human rights. And I didn’t sit around calculating how I should feel. The deep and powerful grief I felt starting Tuesday night is not by choice. How I feel is how I feel, no matter how many alt-right sociopaths tell you I’m a soft, pampered millennial who just wants a participation trophy, a cookie, and a pacifier.

I’m devastated by what this election says about the American people. This revealed the ugly truths about Americans that lurked below the surface to white people, lulling us into believing we lived in a utopian society because everyone can use the same water fountains and women can wear pants and there’s a press 2 for Spanish option. Those who tried to warn us that racism, sexism, homophobia, all kinds of bigotry and systematic oppression were still alive and kicking were shouted down as coddled, “social justice warriors” from “generation outrage.”

Wake up, America. A vote for the monster who has become President-Elect was a vote for a man openly campaigning on a platform of systematic oppression of American people. A man who came to Minnesota two days before the election and said terrible things about Somali people. A man who admitted to sexually assaulting women. A man who believes a woman should be punished for exercising her right to autonomy over her own body. A man whose running mate believes in electro-shock conversion therapy for queer people. A man who believes in jailing his political opponents. Tens of millions of Americans are either fully on board with this or decided eh, lower taxes and magically reappearing highly paid manufacturing jobs for low-skilled workers are worth the fundamental rights of hundreds of millions.

I can’t tell you how wrong that is, and I’m not here to absolve anyone of their culpability. You voted for Trump? You voted for all that. Your ballot didn’t have a section where you ticked off the policies you found acceptable. If you didn’t mean that, if you believe you’re not a racist, then you’d damn well better find a way to let him know that is unacceptable, and to protect the people he’s about to trample on.

What does this have to do with hockey?

A lot. Ok, some. It has more to do with my relationship with hockey.

First off, some of what I feel about the election mirrors what I feel about women’s hockey and women’s sports in general. This election was just another reminder that no matter how hard a woman works, no matter what she accomplishes, she’ll never be as good as a man. The most qualified candidate for president, ever, lost the presidency to a man who has no qualifications, no empathy, no respect for others, no diplomatic skills, no humility, no plans, nothing.

Not only that, but people will believe anything negative said about a woman, and excuse the same things in a man. People who have not even watched a single period of women’s hockey will say it’s terrible, not really hockey, the players have no skill, and the vast majority of hockey fans accept that and ignore the sport, or worse, they perpetuate the myths. One only has to look at the way people sneered at Shannon Miller because she dared to call Scott Sandelin her peer and expect to be paid based on her success and her longevity.

People sneered at Hillary Clinton the same way; I sat in a meeting on Wednesday while two men and a woman gleefully mocked her concession speech and sniggered when she said “And to all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.” The same words that brought me to tears when I finally watched the speech in my hotel room that evening.

That’s not why I’m struggling to get excited for tonight’s game. I’m struggling to get excited for the game because I know some of our players voted for Trump. I don’t know how many, and I hope not many, but the only ones I know for sure didn’t are the Canadians. For all I know, members of our women’s team voted for him, too. I don’t know why they did, though it doesn’t really matter why. Like I said, a vote for Trump was a normalization of racism, sexism, homophobia – all kinds of systematic oppression, problems hockey, a sport dominated by straight white males, already struggles with. I’m truly having a hard time looking at people who have voted Trump and respecting them, because of what I’ve already said. How do you vote for someone who has not made any effort to hide the fact that he’s a sexual predator and a monster, because taxes, because nebulous change, because ‘Murica?

If this wasn’t Veteran’s Day, I’d probably be sitting for the national anthem. But I fear for our servicewomen and servicemen now, too, and I’m not going to sit for the Star Spangled Banner on a day that explicitly honors these women and men. I fear that the ones currently deployed will be put into danger because someone with no diplomatic experience, a megalomaniac with a fragile ego who will melt down over even the smallest perceived slight, will be in charge of the military and will be responsible for our relationship with our allies and for negotiating for peace.  I fear that more will be put into harm’s way if Trump throws a tantrum and pisses off a hostile nation once and for all, throwing the country into a war that could have been avoided if our president hadn’t been so petty, insecure, and volatile.

So, how do I enjoy hockey once again? How do I get past the fact that many of these players, on tUMD and in college hockey  and in the NHL, are super excited that a monster is going to be president?

BC Interruption to the rescue: they started a pledge drive to raise money for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. I decided to join them, and will pledge $5/tUMD women’s goal and $3.50 for every tUMD men’s goal this weekend (70 cents on the dollar, yo) to the Women’s Health Center in downtown Duluth. You may see the lovely old ladies outside it every day, expressing their scorn for women who exercise their Constitutional right to autonomy over their own bodies. It’s a small thing, but I’m going to do as many small things as I can to stop the assault on human rights that the new president and Congress are about to unleash, come January. Now I can cheer for our goals again, even if a Trump-lover scores, because I’ll know something good will result.

P.S., if you voted for Trump, this would be a great opportunity for you to demonstrate with your actions that you don’t support his oppressive attitudes toward women.

Pollgate 2016

1 November 2016

Comrades, last week when I reported on the possible rigging of the men’s D1 college hockey polling, many of you brushed if off as coincidence, stating that perhaps the voters merely overlooked tUMD’s loss to the USA U-18 team.

This afternoon, the NCHC issued an unprecedented statement, breaking protocol to comment on an ongoing investigation. I obtained a copy of this statement, which I have reproduced below in the original:

nchcletter

What does this mean??? This is a vague statement regarding some new “evidence” NCHC brass received, possibly from Russia Wisconsin, about tUMD’s position in the polls. The Bulldogs were revealed as a near-unanimous #1 across both major polls, one week after suspicions were cast that the polls may have been tampered with to obtain a much-hyped #1 vs #2 matchup this past weekend. What is this new evidence that has come to light?

A source, speaking exclusively to this site on condition of anonymity, informed me that the investigation could possibly extend to the egregious officiating in Saturday’s tUMD-UND match-up. The officiating was comically lopsided in favor of tUMD, with the Bulldogs gifted many fortuitous penalties and short-handed advantages.

The Bulldogs were given far too many opportunities to go short-handed and score on the Fighting Hawks. Considering the ineptitude of the Fighting Hawks power play, this can only be interpreted as a concerted effort by the NCHC officials to ensure the Bulldogs won the game and secured the #1 ranking.

So, we have clear evidence that the Crooked NCHC is in cahoots with pollsters to move the Bulldogs up to the #1 spot in the polls. This is the worst corruption since the Teapot-Dome scandal, and yet we have no clear reason as to why the NCHC would have such a vested interest in installing the Bulldogs as the #1 team in the country.

To what end? What would this achieve? For now, we can only speculate. As this story develops, I will make sure to update you all on the situation.