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Rock Chalk Bulldog

5 October 2016

Monday I attended an event for season ticket holders, which you may know if you follow me on Twitter. I really can’t recommend that you do, especially if you have a heart condition or a brain condition or just a delicate constitution, but eh, it’s out there, live a little, learn some new swears.

This event was billed as an AMSoil Open House, with a tour of the players’ lounge, weight room, and locker room, and then chalk talks by Coaches Sandelin and Crowell.

I went by myself because I couldn’t find anyone available to go. Well, people were available, but both Bruce Ciskie and Dan of the Week rejected me. I skulked along by myself.

I arrived basically on time and followed a small group of people to the doors on the lower level that are under the main entrance. Apparently that was not the way to go. I followed some children around to the correct entrance. We stopped to pick up posters. I already had a women’s poster, so I grabbed a men’s poster. The kids grabbed a women’s poster, only to realize it was not a men’s poster, and then said “We don’t want that!” and put it back. I wanted to give them the back of my hand. Congratulate me on my restraint.

I guess the first tour had already started because I didn’t get to see the weight room or players’ lounge. Annoying.

I caught up to the tour in the men’s locker room.

image1-6By the end of the tour, I was absolutely dying to step on the Bulldog. Like, never in my life have I wanted to step on anything more. Not even the time I was working as a janitor and a cockroach crawled halfway up my pant leg.

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Hunter Miska’s pads up close. Pretty sweet design, but what happened to the lift bridge mock-up? That would have been the greatest set of pads in the history of pads.

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Squirrel’s station! Apparently his real name is Sebastian. I did not know.

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How do people take actual good selfies? I cannot. My eyebrows look good though. Here is Blake Young’s spot. Nice practice jersey, I have the real one, sucka.

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IDK how to make my head not huge so you’ll have to suffer. This is Osterberg’s stall.

They have a sauna in the locker room, but I didn’t take a photo. So Finnish.

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“Don’t steal sticks,” says Josh Berlo, which immediately makes me want to take one.

The next section of the tour took us to the athletic training area, where Dr. Suz gave a short speech on her duties and the facilities available to the players. We went through the hydrotherapy room, where there’s a cold tub (50 F) and a warm tub (90 F) with a treadmill. It goes 7.5 mph, so I would drown in seconds.

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No diving. *Snicker*

I am generally afraid of talking to tUMD hockey folks, but I screwed up my courage and talked to Suz for a little bit. We talked about how she treats players in-game; she says she usually tries to treat them in the hallway, due to cameras. I commented that they don’t have far to go if there’s a real injury, as the training room is very close to the bench.

What stood out the most for me is that injured players are almost always treated at tUMD from start to finish; the AT staff has extraordinary capabilities and skills. Suz told us that players very rarely need to go to hospitals or clinics, and when they do it’s generally for diagnostics.

After we toured the training room, we returned to the locker room to await the Great Sandelin. This was very awkward for me as I had nothing to do and no one to talk to. Everyone else there was either old or a parent. I stood there for like 10 minutes refreshing my Twitter feed, desperate for something interesting to discuss.

Sandy finally arrived. He is looking really buff these days. He has some impressive forearms. Not that you can tell from my vantage point.

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By all means, sir. Stand directly in front of me.

Sandy started off by saying “I don’t have a chalk talk,” which is ridiculous. I wanted some Xs and Os, preferably written on a whiteboard, and I wanted to be pointed at several times while attempting to puzzle out which X is me, or if I’m even an X at all. This is my impression of what a chalk talk is. Disabuse me of that notion if you must.

He did talk about the team’s routine during the week: when they watch video (Thursday), when they lift (M-Th), team meals (Blackwoods when at home, which is a good tip for me as I like to avoid seeing anyone from the hockey teams in public), and… some other things. Something about an AHL “After Hockey League” involving the coaches. Then he took questions.

Naturally the first question was about his son, Ryan, who committed to Mankato on Saturday. He said that the assistants pushed hard to get Ryan to come to tUMD, but ultimately:

I can’t fault that. It really sucks to lose a top-end local talent, but I felt the only way that Ryan was ever going to come here was if Sandy left. I had a theory for awhile that Brett Larson was brought back into the fold because Sandelin was planning on making a career move (what that was, I do not know) and then he would make Ryan’s signing one of his last moves as a Bulldog coach. I had that theory up until Sandelin signed his extension.

Ah… then he talked about recruiting, and then someone else asked a question I don’t recall.

THEN I ASKED A QUESTION. OMG.

After I stepped out from behind Mr. Blue and Black Jacket, that is. I asked a rambly question about recruiting, saying “kudos to your long game” on signing Joey Anderson before he was able to get his learner’s permit, and then asking if that was a once in a generation signing or what. I mean, I didn’t say it like that.

It appears that I asked a good question and didn’t sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher because he gave a long, thoughtful answer that involved him making eye contact with me. Due to the eye contact I couldn’t remember a lot of what he said but he said he was on a committee regarding recruiting practices but it’s very hard to gain agreement.

BUT I ASKED A QUESTION. HUZZAH.

Then this happened.

I can’t even tell you how fast that answer came out of his mouth. Someone asked if he was glad that Derek Shepherd had retired and he said he didn’t mind Derek but doesn’t like Brad. Fascinating stuff. I guess Sandy just has no f***s to give anymore.

He said some stuff about the weekend series, I can’t remember what prompted it. Oh, someone asked if Miska was the #1 goalie. I think the answer was yes. Then he said something about how there was a difference between Friday and Saturday night’s games and then said Miska was better on Saturday than he was on Saturday. Puzzling.

Someone asked him about the schedule and he said he likes to schedule Buttmidji, Tech, Mankato, etc. He likes that they are bus trips. Sandy also appreciates the history between tUMD and Michigan Tech.

Apparently making the schedule is a big pain in Sandy’s butt. Someone asked if we are going to schedule Wisconsin and he said “I’ve been talking to Tony,” Wisconsin’s new coach, with whom he is on a first name basis. I resisted the urge to say “Don’t give in to their stupid 2 for 1 deal!”

Then a guy asked if there was a team chaplain, and how many players met with said chaplain. The answer is yes, and it’s Chico, which is… something. I think he said like 8 or 9 guys regularly meet with him but I don’t know, that’s kind of a personal question. I guess we know that 2/3 of the team are godless heathens, just the way I like them.

The talk ended and we went to the women’s locker room. I stopped and talked to Brett Larson and restrained myself from groping him because I respect boundaries. Oh la la.

The majority of people from the tour came to the second chalk talk. I was concerned that people would bail in droves and was pleased. I will note the children who didn’t want the women’s posters didn’t show up, nor did their parents. Terrible.

This beautiful sight greeted me.

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I wanted to steal one SO BADLY. Why didn’t I? Sid wouldn’t miss this.

Coaches!

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Coach Crowell had more of a prepared speech. The whole staff (a former Harvard coach, Harvard alumna/former coach, and a BU alumnus) was very stoked about beating BC, and they were very upbeat about the team.

Crowell praised many individual players, and discussed some of their plans for improvements. She mentioned they are working on getting tougher.

A lot of people had questions for Coach Crowell, which was great. Someone asked her where she went to school (as well as her position and how successful she was as a player):

Toothpaste indeed.

I asked how she liked Duluth, because I’m a stupid shill. She said it feels like home, and said Lake Superior reminds her of the ocean. She said that it’s one of the first questions recruits ask her, to which I responded “Well they’re not going to believe either of these two,” pointing at the assistant coaches, who we know are both from here and thus have Stockholm Syndrome.

Afterward several little girls wanted to meet Coach Crowell and I left feeling uplifted.

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Sorry, St. Cloud.
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I didn’t get to ask what this was about. The two dog tags say “Boston College,” so I’m guessing it’s the teams they beat. So awesome! Unless I am wrong.

I hope they do this again and I can do more awkward live tweeting. Leslie Jones is my hero.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Erin permalink
    5 October 2016 3:36 pm

    Good god, you weren’t kidding. Those are tight pants on Connolly.
    Nice post, dude!

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