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Fab Four: Now With 100% More Bulldog

22 March 2016

tUMD made the conference tournament this year! It was a freaking miracle. Actually what was a miracle was making the NCAA tournament, the conference tournament was just a surprise. Although tDogs have made the NCAAs more times than they’ve made the conference tournament the past 3 years.

There were no KAWstumes this year; everyone in our section can thank tDogs for eliminating Miami. Somehow that made the tournament slightly less fun. For me, at least. For everyone else, probably not.

The stress of tUMD playing in the tournament also made it less fun. That sounds stupid, but it’s true. When tDogs let the Fhawks score 49 seconds into the game, I said “Well, at least we got here,” with a roll of my eyes. It is really not very much fun to be surrounded by UND fans when their team scores on your team.

Biddco and I prepared for the game with some signs. Biddy made a “Penalty Shot” sign, which he held up any time tUMD did anything slightly wrong. Ice the puck? PENALTY SHOT!!!!! Penalty? PENALTY SHOT!!!! UND player fell over of his own accord? PENALTY SHOT!!!!

I made a better sign.
chiliTim Brewster would be jealous if he’d seen it. I used a protractor to make each zone on the chili-o-meter the same size, and of course made a chili pepper indicator. This is one of my better signs, for sure. It was kind of a pain to haul around all weekend, but it came in handy, not only for expressing my thoughts on the hockey games, but also when ordering chili at the Depot. We asked the server at the Depot to rate the spiciness of the green chili, and when she put it around Simmering, asked if she could get the cook to spice it up to Hot! Hot! Hot! Dirty also ordered some chili, which he rated as “Mild Enough For Minnesotans,” unfortunately.

My nephew enjoyed the sign.
He didn’t really enjoy much about the game until it got quieter. Thanks, Dogs, for shutting up UND’s fans so he could enjoy the game. Or at least enjoy various lights turning on and off.

I was really pleased on Friday night to get a win over UND. I thought UND commanded the first period, although I’m the only person who thought that, so maybe I was just paranoid. Goalinato opened the scoring in the second period just 28 seconds in, IAFALTO scored 3 minutes after that, and less than a minute after Al’s goal, tDogs were on a PP that turned into a 5×3. tDogs failed to capitalize on the PP (a theme for the weekend and the season as a whole), which gave UND some jump, and there were some terrifying moments, including a near-too many men penalty that gave UND a huge scoring chance. Farley shut all that down by zipping the puck into the net so hard that it ricocheted out, causing an initial no-goal call. The review confirmed it was a goal, and we cheered twice. tDogs let some scrub named Stecher get a goal, and then the second period mercifully came to a close.

My sister in law informed me later that I was annoying UND fans in our section. I’m not sure what really put one lady over the edge, perhaps it was “Come on, Dogs, send these racists home unhappy!” or maybe “Learn how to read so you can read a rule book!” Or maybe she prefers ice cold gazpacho to hot chili. Anyway, this UND fan was overheard to say “She probably didn’t even graduate high school.” I truly love to annoy.

Goalinato scored again with 6 minutes to go, which eased my stress a bit. A one-goal lead late against UND would have been more stress than I’d have liked. A two goal lead kept UND’s fans mostly quiet and kept tDogs in control. Despite three minutes of empty net play, tUMD couldn’t put one in. They did keep UND busy defending their open net, which was good.

Biddy was destroyed in some kind of “King of the Mountain” intermission game. He was wearing a big hamster ball blow-up thingy, and I watched the video of him getting knocked on his butt about 20 times. I hope to make it into a GIF. The NCHC really listened to my complaints about eating contests during breaks, and instead changed to dance or trivia competitions. The league also listened to some of the fan complaints about involving Gopher fans in on-ice challenges. Many people pointed out the Gophers are not in our league, we’ve moved on, we don’t need to trot out a token Goof fan to boo. There were no Gopher fans involved in any of the entertainment this year.

The St. Cloud-DU game was boring. I was sitting next to a DU fan, believe it or not. He fell asleep at one point during the game. Then he went out and did the hamster ball thing with another guy. They were both destroyed by a UND guy. It was an entertaining intermission challenge, although the rules were confusing.

Saturday afternoon we ended up leaving at the second intermission to ensure we got a table at the Depot; we needed our bacon wrapped hot dogs and corn dogs. The game was a real snoozer and ended in a 1-1 tie. UND really sucks at the Target Center, so I think that’s a sign we should renew the agreement rather than try to get the X.

I was disappointed tDogs lost on Saturday night. They were dominating when up 1-0, and then just tanked. I don’t know what the problem was but I hope it was an anomaly. Thankfully the Goofs choked and tDogs squeaked into the NCAAs. The goal late in the second period was really a dagger, and tUMD was never really back in the game. tDogs couldn’t do anything with 2 PPs in the 3rd, and the best play of the 3rd was a big save on the empty net, which was somewhat meaningless.

I enjoyed the tournament once again. I wish more Bulldog fans had gone. In some ways I wonder if I am severely underestimating the size of the Bulldog hockey fanbase, and there really aren’t that many people who care enough to travel to see tDogs play. The band wasn’t even there, which was surprising and disappointing. St. Cloud probably had more fans than tDogs, but they weren’t out in droves either.

Beyond financial and scheduling constraints, I don’t understand why people who love hockey wouldn’t want to attend the tournament. It is really fun. There are a lot of really cool people who go. Within minutes of entering the Target Center, I had already seen several people I know solely from attending hockey games over the years. Gappy McTooth was also one of the first people I saw upon entry, decked out in UNO gear but I hope secretly cheering for his nephew, Bill Corrin.

I am fortunate because the Fab Four is a great time to spend with my family and my best friends. My dad is generous enough to take me every year, and he’s even willing to sit by me AND tolerate my stupid (awesome) friends. My brother was able to come for the first time this year, and my nephew and SIL even came to a game, so it was a huge deal for the family.

I spent every intermission talking to people I’ve met through hockey. Our area was a nice rallying point because 1. it was easy to spot Biddy in his garish attire 2. it was easy to spot me because I had the sign and 3. we were centrally located. It is really cool to stand at intermission and chat amiably with opposing fans, or even fans like Secret Agent Mav, who came to the Fab Four even though UNO did not. Thanks to everyone who stopped by! I was so glad to meet so many fun, interesting people. I saw a fan from every team except Western Michigan. They were too busy rowing boats I guess.


As always, I have to give credit to the NCHC. The league is engaged and clearly makes an effort to accommodate and delight its fans. Nothing ever runs perfectly (I heard of a ticket SNAFU involving a tUMD friend), but I appreciate the effort that is put in (esp. by the social media team! They are the absolute best!) Every year the Fab Four has gotten better, as the league has listened to its constituents and fans and made steps to improve, whether it’s with food, fan experiences, or the staffing. (Note: I didn’t have any issues with Target Center staff this year, but I also was not wearing a costume, so I can’t say if that was an improvement.)

Make an effort to come to the Fab Four next year, whether you’ve been before or not, whether your team is there or not. There are friendly people everywhere, there’s lots of stuff to do, it’s not really that cold, and there’s HOCKEY.

The Sum of Small Fears

5 February 2016

Sunday night I was watching the NHL All-Star Game, which is a somewhat surprising activity for me, because of all the All-Star Games across all the sports I watch, the only event I actually enjoy is MLB’s celebrity softball game.

A Sedin existed and a Gopher fan named Jerrid tweeted to me that he hates the “Sedin Sisters.” I responded as I always do, saying that I don’t like the Sedins but that’s no reason for sexist language. He told me it was a joke (thank you, I understand it is a joke, that is irrelevant) roped in his “buddy” Brad, saying it was a joke. Brad doubled down by tweeting a couple memes at me, which I have seen before because I use the internet but which he thought were novel and hilarious. He tweeted a Sedin sisters meme as well as a “Two Girls No Cup” meme, as if it would change my mind and I’d say “oh hahahah ur so funny omg girlz are icky d*kes who can’t play sports!”

I told him I got it, he hates women. He told me he doesn’t hate women because he has a wife and his daughter plays college hockey.

His daughter plays college hockey. If a man whose daughter plays hockey at a high level can display this level of misogyny (not to mention cognitive dissonance), there is literally no hope for humanity.

His daughter, Amber Schaack, is a junior top-six forward for Concordia. I doubt she worked her butt off through youth hockey, high school hockey, and college so that her father could use her gender as a pejorative toward male hockey players.

He told me his daughter thinks it’s funny. I didn’t reach out to her for a quote so I can’t verify this, but it is irrelevant. I’m always told this. I’m always told to lighten up, it’s just a joke, other women think it’s funny. I doubt Brad is smart enough to comprehend the concept of “internalized misogyny,” but internalized misogyny is when women believe that lies and stereotypes about women are true. It doesn’t matter that a woman thinks “Two Girls No Cup” is funny; that doesn’t negate its sexist nature.

What message does it send a female athlete when her own father thinks “girl” is a put-down for a player he dislikes? Really, what message does it send a daughter when her dad uses “woman” or “girl” as an insult in any setting? What message does Jerrid send his son when he makes the same sexist remarks? What message is this sending to anyone?

Those questions are rhetorical, of course. The message is clear. A defective man is a woman. A woman is always less than a man. A woman has no traits or qualities a man could ever find desirable in himself.

(This same man then posted disgusting, misogynist memes regarding Hillary Rodham Clinton on a mutual friend’s Facebook wall, and called me a “stalker” because I happened to see them. But he doesn’t hate women, because he has a wife!)

I asked Brad to think about what he was saying, and to be better. He told me “Thanks, mom.” Apparently he doesn’t think much of mothers either. I oinked at him in response, because what else was there to do? He didn’t want to be a better person. He just wanted to continue to believe himself better than women.

People (of all genders), when you make a sexist joke, like Cindy Crosby, Chrissy Pronger, Sedin Sisters, or any of the other myriad ways you put down ordinary or extraordinary men who you see as failing in some way, you’re not making the joke in a vacuum. I’ve heard it before, or if I haven’t, I’ve heard something just like it. All women have. Your piggish remark is a drop in an ever-growing ocean of sexism that will eventually drown us all. These unfunny, stale “jokes” are added to the Kanebros lathering to defend him, the snide remarks about menstruation anytime a woman shows any emotion, the catcalls, the fat-shaming, the rape jokes, the impossible standards of beauty and conduct to which women must conform, and worst of all, the horrible crimes of domestic violence and rape committed overwhelmingly against women (who are then shamed and blamed). Don’t tell me to lighten up. Be better. Consider what you’re really saying, what you’re really doing, what you’re really contributing to.

And don’t use your own daughter to try to shield yourself from criticism.

Cats and Dogs

27 January 2016

Back when I was promoting #FromTopShelfToFoodShelf, I was informed by my friends at BC Interruption that they would be doing a similar promotion in February, during the Beanpot.

The time is upon us, and it could not have happened at a better time, both because tUMD men are playing cat-related teams the next two weekends, and because both teams need some motivation to start scoring again. Therefore, I’m thrusting my support behind #MeowsternBias, a pledge drive for Gifford Cat Shelter in Brighton, MA.

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My cat is cute.

I’ve pledged $5/tUMD goal over the next two weekends, which are Beanpot-adjacent. Pledging #MeowsternBias is even easier than FTSTFS. This link takes you to a pledge form, you fill it out, all is well.

Gifford Cat Shelter was founded in 1884, if you can even fathom that. It’s the first cageless, no-kill shelter in the US, and they even have kitty cams so you can watch cats playing at the shelter. While you’re at home or on your lunch break, bien sur.

‘Dogs, let’s help some cats! But only domestic cats, not Wildcats or Tigers!

Darkest Days

25 January 2016

tUMD 2, Buttmidji 3/tUMD 0, Buttmidji 2

Well, this is certainly a low point. The first time ever that Bemidji has swept the season against tUMD. And if tUMD men don’t figure something out for the makeup game in February, tDogs will go 0-6 against the buck-toothed hicks. (Possibly worse, depending on match-ups in the post-season for the women.)

I don’t want to live in a world where tUMD loses to Bemidji on the regular. I just don’t.

I missed Friday’s game, which is rather pathetic because I have complained about not being able to make Friday games. I could have gone but I was tired and fighting off a cold and I’m glad I didn’t because hockey was so depressing. So very, very depressing. Between tUMD men, women, and the Wild, my teams went 0-5 on the weekend.

Saturday I did attend the game and was inside the lobby at puck drop. I know it’s hard to believe. This is partially because I was running errands before the game and finished them early.

I don’t want to say I wish I hadn’t gone, because I want to support the team no matter what. But it is incredibly frustrating to continually lose to teams against whom tUMD is evenly matched (specifically UND & BSU). It is SO hard to watch. And it makes no sense. Obviously the main difference is goaltending: UND and BSU have goaltenders who steal games for them on the regular. tUMD hasn’t had a game-stealing goaltender in years. Rooney is a freshman and perhaps will be that woman, but she isn’t yet.

Of course, tUMD made neither SAB nor Mowat work very hard for their wins. The men and women have similar scoring issues: almost every shot is routine, almost telegraphed. Excellent, positionally sound goaltenders are not going to misjudge boring old shots. tUMD started scoring on SAB last weekend because they got her moving. tDogs couldn’t solve Mowat because she didn’t have to move.

tDogs are playing tOSU this weekend, bringing Jenny Potter back to Duluth for her head coaching debut. I would like 6 points. I would like to be uplifted by two hockey games where I can cheer and get excited and celebrate goals. tDogs have a relatively favorable schedule to end the season, thanks to their horrendous front-loaded schedule that pitted tDogs against UMTC, UW, UND, and Harvard in one torrid stretch, as well as away games at Boston College the second weekend into the season. Steal a game (or two, why not?) against UMTC and pound the crap out of the other 3 opponents. Sounds good to me!

Police: Escaped Convicts from Minnesota Attack Local Sports Team

24 January 2016

from the Denver Post

Tragedy struck at a hockey game at Magness Arena in Denver, after a band of escaped convicts from Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility disguised as a hockey team from northern Minnesota violently pummeled the University of Denver’s hockey team, a team comprised of altar boys, readers to the blind, and cherubs from the Sistine Chapel ceiling come to life.

Perhaps the officials should have seen this coming, as captain Andy “The Hatchet” Welinski was seen sharpening his teeth into pointy fangs in the locker room pre-game, and visibly salivated at the words “Grant Arnold.” Defenceman Carson “Widowmaker” Soucy, convicted of three murders and linked to seven other open homicide investigations in his home province of Alberta, was seen making a slashing motion across his throat as he skated by Denver wing Danton Heinen, choirboy and fixture at local soup kitchens. Several men in track suits with lots of gold jewelry were seen picking up tickets at the will call window left for them by organized crime king pin Dominic Toninato.

Fans were assured by UMD’s coach Scott Sandelin that the team “[wasn’t] sh*tty,” but there were no assurances that the team wasn’t homicidal.

Sandelin, who served time in federal prison for quadruple homicide before key witnesses mysteriously recanted their testimony, coached the Bulldogs through a relatively tame first period, before surrendering two goals to the Pioneers, who knelt in prayer after each goal and then made a donation to fight world hunger. While the Bulldogs were without top-six forward Kyle Osterberg, whose most recent death row appeal was denied, pundits say the team still should have had enough offensive firepower to mount a comeback. Instead, eyewitnesses say the Bulldogs “stopped playing hockey” and started attacking the innocent Pioneers.

“We were simply trying to play hockey!” reported DU blogger Nick Tremaroli. “We could hardly skate, these unsportsmanlike criminals were hacking at our ankles, punching our kidneys, and even spearing us in our no-no areas.” Mr. Tremaroli’s mother then replaced his pacifier in his mouth and put him down in his crib for the night, as it was past his bedtime. No further comment was available.

Pioneers coach Jim Montgomery spoke to the media after the game, pearls clutched so hard his knuckles were white. “I could sense UMD’s frustration; that is expected, as some of these players have been incarcerated for many years. I just don’t understand how they were allowed to take the ice, these are some of the country’s most violent offenders.”

A DU player, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Mr. Montgomery’s assessment. “During a face-off, one of them shanked me with a sharpened toothbrush while the referee wasn’t looking.” When asked to identify the offender, the player refused, stating he would only comment if offered entry into the federal witness protection program.

There’s some question as to how officials allowed this game to get out of hand. Derek Shepherd, one of the referees, told the Denver Post that he wanted to call more penalties. “I wanted to throw the whole team out of the building, but I was under instructions from the league to let them play. It’s fishy, because this morning I noticed that [NCHC head of officials] Don Adam was driving a brand new Mercedes.”

Mr. Adam was less than forthcoming when asked about implications of bribery by Bulldog fans. “I’m sorry, I can’t disclose any information about those fans’ secret, illegal arrangement.” Others describe the alleged bribers as a female in her early 30s and a male in his late 20s, last seen twirling their mustaches and laughing in a sinister manner.

The violence was not contained to the ice, according to reports from the press box. Radio voice of the Pioneers, Jay Stickney, was hospitalized after a run-in with Bulldog radio personality Bruce Ciskie, who notoriously slaughtered seven college hockey officials with a rusty chainsaw in 2009 following a dispute over whether or not a penalty should have been called. Witnesses say Mr. Ciskie became enraged when Mr. Shepherd called an unwarranted penalty on Mr. Welinski. Mr. Ciskie and Bulldog beat writer Matt Wellens stormed through the press box and bludgeoned Mr. Stickney with their laptops. Mr. Stickney is listed in critical conditions. A GoFundMe has been set up to assist with his medical bills, which are projected to be extensive.

Bulldog players and staff alike, on advice of attorney Ron Meshbesher, unanimously invoked the fifth amendment, despite reminders that the press conference was not a trial. Denver PD was seen loading players into paddywagons after the press conference was completed. “You’ll never take me alive!” shouted one, later identified as Blake Young, Saskatchewan’s most notorious serial killer. Mr. Young was then struck by the club of the arresting officer and his limp body was loaded in with his teammates.

The University of Denver Athletic Department is offering free counseling to any fans who were traumatized by the event. Fans who have suffered emotional distress due to Saturday’s hockey game are directed to contact Peg Bradley-Doppes, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation and RC Operations.

How Was Your Weekend?

18 January 2016

tUMD 1, Fhawks 2/tUMD 3, Fhawks 4 (OT)
tUMD 1, SCSUCKS 3/tUMD 1, SCSUCKS 2 (3on3OT)

Well, at least I had one leap-out-of-my-seat-with-joy moment for the weekend, when North Dakota scored on themselves with 22 seconds to go to tie up the game. I had previously given up on the game when the FHAWKS had gone up 3-1 with under three minutes to go in the game. Sidney Morin answered a little over a minute later, and then a scramble led to UND putting the puck in their own net, followed by a short review, and then some whining from UND’s coaching staff.

I’m struggling a bit with motivation to attend hockey games. I suppose since all three teams I follow are slumping or struggling, it’s not surprising. Friday afternoon, I missed the women’s game, since I was still at work. I sauntered in to the men’s game halfway through the first period, for no reason other than pure laziness. Saturday I started my workout late, and was just hopping into the shower when I should have been leaving for the women’s game. I ended up arriving during the first intermission. I went home between games, so I managed to be late to the men’s game as well, though only by a few minutes. I probably would have been later if I’d been going by myself. I’m radiating apathy at this point.

Really the only way to describe the men’s season right now is massively disappointing. There’s no reason for this team to score so few goals. Yes, we have a tough schedule. So? We’re not AIC. Good teams have to beat other good teams. The best seasons of tUMD hockey are the seasons they’ve won the games they should and the games they shouldn’t. They won games in 2010-11 and 2011-12 that they had no business winning. This year they’re not even winning the games they should *coughbemidjicough* and it sucks. It’s really hard to get motivated to go out in sub-zero weather and see only one lousy stinking rotten goal, considering the offensive firepower this team should have.

I don’t find the women’s season surprising, so it’s not quite as upsetting. I don’t like seeing the team struggle, but it would have taken a miracle to avoid a backslide. A new coach, a short bench, and improvement from the bottom-feeders of the league have put tDogs in a terrible position. This can’t continue, but I’ve gritted my teeth and accepted that this season won’t be perfect.

The Wild also suck right now, so that doesn’t help.

It’s going to warm up again, both literally and figuratively speaking. The men and the women have winnable games coming up. Neither team has been mathematically eliminated from postseason play. Today is the last horrifically cold day in the extended forecast. Weekends can be enjoyable again! It is possible.

See you all at AMSoil on Friday night !

On The Turning Away

14 January 2016

If you would like to take some drugs prior to reading this post, I invite you to now.

No more turning away from the weak and the weary
No more turning away from the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It’s not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there’ll be no more turning away?

November and December were a little rough on tUMD men’s hockey fans. Even January was a bit of a struggle, considering tDogs went down 0-3 to the Teenagers before winning in OT, and then it seemed they would never score against Miami. tUMD women offered no solace: a shortened bench against Wisconsin is not a formula for success, never do that again.

No more turning away.

tDogs are both in action at home this weekend against UND (women) and SCSU (men). Both are tough teams, though St. Cloud has been in a small slump (lost to the Teens and split with CC) and UND does weird things like beat the Gophers and then lose to Syracuse.  Some wins this weekend will do a lot for my confidence in both teams. And my confidence is what’s important.

No more turning away.

It’s time to face the season head-on, and accept it for what it is. Entertainment. Both teams are having tougher years, one expectedly and one unexpectedly. Does that really matter? At some point I need to quit mourning the season I thought tUMD would have. So the men didn’t march to Tampa like Sherman marched to the sea. So Coach Crowell hasn’t magically blasted through the WCHA and returned tUMD to prominence immediately. Big deal!

No more turning away.

I’m ready for three fun hockey games this weekend! (This Friday afternoon women’s game nonsense is preventing me from seeing all 4, I have to work.) Everyone’s back in the swing of things, the students are back, the oxidation has been shaken off, and we shall show our opponents no mercy.

No more turning away.