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This Game is Rigged

27 October 2016

Folks, we have heard a lot about “rigged elections” and “rigged polls” in relation to the presidential election. I mean, we haven’t heard about it from anyone with any intelligence or critical thinking skills, but still, the specter is out there.

All of this nonsense about rigged elections is overshadowing a very real, very serious case of polling fraud: this weekend’s men’s hockey match-up between tUMD and the Fhawks.

Last week’s polls showed tUMD at #2 coming off a split with Notre Dame. I turned to Mr. Hand to express my thoughts for me:

Over last weekend, tUMD then proceeded to play an uninspiring exhibition game, resulting in a loss to a group of children who cannot even buy their own chewing tobacco. An older boy has to get it for them.

The polls came out this week, and tUMD was still #2. Let me repeat this: tUMD lost to children, and did not drop in the polls.

What possible explanation could there be? I mean, besides dope-smoking. Only a few voters live in Alaska or Colorado. I guess there’s also general stupidity, which cannot be discounted, considering tens of millions of people in this country are stupid enough to vote for an orange, racist, sex offender. But I figured it out when I saw the hype machine kick into high gear.

You can’t swing a dead gopher on the internet without seeing some reference to this “#1 vs. #2” cage match street fight ninja warfare blockbuster. Forget about the imagined fraud in the presidential election and focus on the real fraud happening right in front of our eyes: the national men’s D1 college hockey polls were rigged to hype this weekend’s matchup.

Folks, we cannot let this happen. We cannot let one of our most sacred traditions be tarnished by these fraudulent pollsters. You know what I’m talking about. So, after this weekend, I need you to watch. I need you to print out this badge, pin it on, and go to your local newspaper, or wherever voters in your area might be, and watch.


Democracy depends on you. Your country needs you. Do whatever it takes to make sure next week’s poll is legit. If UMTC suddenly rockets to #2, you’ll know it’s time to grab a musket and rise up.

Right Out of the Gate

10 October 2016

tUMD 4, Mankato 0 / tUMD 5, Mankato 1

Oh, lookee here. tUMD women are undefeated, two weekends into the season. That hasn’t happened since 2007-08! I’m very excited.

Friday I was late to the game, in fact I missed the entire first period. I made some logistical errors. tDogs had already scored once (Jessica Healey on the PP) and the second period was scoreless, so I was kind of concerned I wasn’t going to see any goals. And I came specifically to see goals.

Not to worry, Katie McGovern, Katka Mrazova, and Jalyn Elmes scored in about 3:30, satiating my appetite for scoring. McGovern and Elmes both had PP goals; I feel I should point out that our second PP has three freshmen (Elmes, Schugel, and Brodt) and they are very good.

Mankato does seem to be better than last year. Good for them. They can beat up on the rest of the WCHA now.

After the game, the team signed autographs. I got in line even though I was tired and had not showered. I still looked better than when they dropped off my season tickets at my house, so that was good. Now I have a nice autographed poster.

The autograph line #umdhockey #umdbulldogs

A photo posted by RWD (@runninwiththedogs) on

Saturday I was… nearly on time to the game. Living in Duluth has made me very lackadaisical about getting to games on time, especially games I attend by myself (like Friday’s). Lara Stalder scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the game, on her way to a hat trick, assist, and a spot in tUMD’s century club, as she surpassed the 100-point mark. If I had a media guide I could tell you where that puts her all-time, but I don’t.

McGovern and Daoust also scored in the game, and unfortunately Mankato had to ruin Maddie Rooney’s back to back shutouts with less than five minutes to go in the game. I was very sad. But I guess I also feel bad for Mankato and wanted them to at least have one goal to celebrate. Last year was rough for them. Well, every year has been rough for them, I guess.

tDogs face UMTC this upcoming weekend, at Ridder. This is important. Crucial. Etc. The Gophers just split with Bemidji (and Wisconsin TIED Ohio state. TIED! Wisconsin! Ohio State! What! [Wisconsin won the shootout]), so there’s some vulnerability there. Either that or they’ll take out their rage at getting shut out by the Beavs on tDogs. I don’t want that.

The Song Remains The Same

10 October 2016

tUMD 4, UML 4/tUMD 1, UML 1

I hope you appreciate that I provide mood music for many of my posts. Press play on the vid and enjoy the hallucinogenic sounds of Led Zeppelin and the obscenely tight pants of Robert Plant.

Comrades, do you remember how last season started out with a sweep of an inferior opponent followed by two unsatisfying ties? I remember. (Well technically it started with a literal and figurative power outage.) I can’t do that again. While last season ended better than expected, it was a slog for all of us. Fans, broadcasters, coaches, players, I don’t think anyone was like “Hey, this is really fun and enjoyable! I love outshooting our opponents by an average of 9 shots/game and only out scoring them by 0.6 goals/game!”

Gah, I can’t even think about it. It’s just too frustrating.

Admittedly, I did not have to struggle through Friday’s game, since I was at a live hockey game (which will be discussed in its own post, fear not, people! I just haven’t thought of a musical reference yet), but it was not the best game, and the team escaped with a tie by the skin of their teeth. My uncle was at the game (the RWD Army is EVERYWHERE) and said that he (and my aunt and cousins and their kids, all Bulldogs fans, even the ones who have never even set foot in the Midwest!) headed out after the overtime goal that was overturned, but they fortunately did not make it out of the building and were there to see the game to its bitter end. Well, maybe not bitter for us.

Nick Deery relieved Hunter Miska on Friday night, and got the start on Saturday. I missed the first goal (scored on a PP after the Jade Monkey took a hooking penalty) because I was at another live hockey game. So we fans spent most of the game wondering if our fellas were ever going to score. Fortunately, Hermantown’s Neal Pionk, our leading scorer, put the puck in the net with just under four minutes left in the 3rd period, when we thought all hope was lost.

Now, I know. Injuries. TUFTE. Etc. But there are a couple things that are stressing me out. Like special teams. Ok, 3 PPGs on Friday… but also 3 PPGs against us AND essentially a shorthanded goal for UML’s lone even strength goal. And then zero PPGs on Saturday in 6 opportunities, including one that came shortly after the game-tying goal, when tDogs had all the momentum.

The other thing that is stressing me out is penalties. So the powers that be decided to change things up and call a bunch of different stuff. They made a video. Watch the video again, maybe. I saw there’s a nice television in the locker room. (The women have a projector, which I think is cooler!) Queue that ish up, Sandy. Make the adjustment, guys. This is basic quality assurance! “This is the way we’ve always done it” is anathema to quality hockey. Try to be early adopters of these new rules, as puzzling as they may be.

tDogs are at home against the potato farmers this weekend, who were recently whaled on by Katie McGovern’s brother. They enjoyed 19 power plays in one game. They only scored on 6 which is kind of pathetic. I think a power play famine is in order for the Shiny Helmets, no?

Bulldog Latitudes

6 October 2016

tUMD men are on their first road trip of the season, making it much more difficult for locating Bruce Ciskie. If you are in Lowell, Mass., and have a Bruce sighting, please take a photo and report the sighting to Twitter with the hashtag #WheresBruce.

In the off-season, RWD comrade and three-time NCHC Dan of the Week Dan J. created a custom Google map with the location of all NCAA Division I hockey arenas!

The map features:

Name, capacity, dimensions, and address of each arena
Home team for each arena
Filters for men’s and women’s hockey
Color-coded icons for each conference
Updates as new facilities are commissioned and in-use

Dan created this map originally while planning his long-term goal to attend a hockey game in each D-1 arena (he’s at 13 active rinks so far!). I convinced him to share the map with the greater college hockey world. Put it in your bookmarks; you’ll never know when you might want to know the dimensions of LaBahn Arena or the capacity of Lynah Rink.

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.


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.


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


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.


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.


“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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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.


Sorry, St. Cloud.

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.

Everything Under the Sun

3 October 2016

tUMD 3, BC 3/tUMD 5, BC 2
tUMD 6, MTU 0/tUMD 4, MTU 3

A lot has happened in a short period of time. I’m very overwhelmed by hockey starting. Four games in three days plus this talky event at AMSoil this evening.

Friday I went to the game with a baby.

President Lincoln takes in his first #umdhockey game. Doggies tied BC 3-3! #umdwhat #runninwiththedogs

A photo posted by RWD (@runninwiththedogs) on

It was his first Bulldog game, and he enjoyed it. He enjoyed meeting Champ and sitting in his own seat, and of course shoving pretzels into his face while his aunty RWD held him. And I didn’t throw him when we scored, either.

I arrived late on Friday, as per usual, although I was in the hallway to the arena when the game started. This means I was getting my ticket scanned when BC scored their first goal. Alas.

tDogs looked great, though, much improved over last year, and competitive the whole night. Ashleigh Brykaliuk scored a hat trick, countering each of BC’s goals with one of her own. Due to holding a baby (and chatting with the baby’s parents and his other friend), I am not able to provide any other detail on the game, but the fine folks at BC Interruption have a recap that is second to none. I really suck at blogging compared to them. They had lots of praise for our ladies, so read that.

Saturday I had to prepare myself. Back to back hockey games is very taxing for players, so you can imagine that it’s even more taxing for spectators. Plus there was a jersey auction during the men’s game which was stressing me out. I cannot hand over my money fast enough when a jersey is involved.

I arrived at the women’s game early enough for a Bruce Ciskie sighting. Of course it is easy to have a Bruce Ciskie sighting when he sits with you for half the game. If you have a Bruce Ciskie sighting in the wild, be sure to document it with a photo and tweet it using the hashtag #WheresBruce. Note that it is not an exclusive hashtag.

I got to watch most of the game with the entire Ciskie family, which was a treat. And tUMD put on a show for us. The BCI fellows were beside themselves, but still pulled out some unreal analysis. Look at the breakdown they have for the 4th goal.

Meanwhile, me:


Photo courtesy of @umdhockeygifs

I really dislike being on the big screen. Also my hair looks terrible. ’80s throwback is on point.

tDogs were leading 5-0 at one point. 5-0! It was absurd! And glorious! And I can tell you the 2 Harvard alumnae (well, one is a Harvard coaching alumna) and 1 BU alumnus on our bench are pretty darn pumped about the win.

Demi Crossman starting things off (I never get goals right when they’re tipped, thought this was Sid’s):

(Tip: these GIFs won’t show if you have AdBlocker enabled. IDGAF if you do or not, because I don’t profit from this site, just passing on that tidbit.)

Schugel gets her first goal as a Bulldog, another goal I thought was Sid’s:

I’m visually impaired. But I saw this beauty gino thin mints from Lara Stalder:

And even Ray Charles saw this one from Bryks, and he’s both blind and dead:

And finally, the important scoring ended with Katie McGovern’s goal:

This post might be long. I sorry.

After a brief interlude at Green Mill with Biddy and some nerds watching college handegg, we returned to the arena for the first game, and saw six more goals. Are you ready for 6 more GIFs? I FREAKING HOPE SO.

I’m kidding. You can see GIFs of the goal on the @UMDHockeygifs account. I suggest following.

Anyway, tUMD beat the crap out of Tech, so much so that I felt badly, since my soul mate MeanEgirl is a Tech fan. It was a very relaxing game, which was nice because I bid on a jersey and was already anxious about it. Six different Bulldogs scored goals, including 2 on the PP (one on a major) and 2 that were the players’ first in a Bulldog jersey. Not that I would know since they had no nametapes on the jerseys so we were puzzled the whole game. I wonder if there’s like a website or some other type of resource with that information. After the 6th goal I said “Oh goody, this presents an opportunity to find out who #26 is.” It’s Jade Miller, and his glorious hair. Oh, sorry Jade, but you’re The Jade Monkey now.

I am out of practice a bit, because I thought 1. the game was at 7 and 2. the jersey auction ended at the start of the 3rd period, not the 2nd. It’s a good thing I wasn’t left to my own devices.

tDogs kind of sucked for a lot of the game, and didn’t lead until 15 seconds remained in the game. I was very anxious about the game result for many reasons. I was very thankful that the jersey auction ended after the first intermission, because I didn’t have to worry for another period. I won Blake Young’s jersey! But then I was kind of cranky because I didn’t want to go have to get a jersey after a loss. I wanted a jubilant exchange of commercial goods. Thank you, IAFALTO.

All the jersey winners (as well as some wanna-bes, I guess) assembled in the Champions Lounge (or whatever it is called) to wait for our players to come up. This is always an awkward moment because the players don’t know who got their jersey (unless it’s their mom or something) and so everyone’s sort of hesitantly looking around like it’s a blind date situation. A tUMD staffer helped bring Young & me together so I could get my damp sweaty jersey. We had a very nice conversation about the Saskatchewan Roughriders and how terrible they are. We also discussed how great the jerseys were; he said everyone loved them. I told him that my women’s tickets were hand-delivered by the team, and he told me that he went along when they delivered the men’s tickets, and one recipient accepted the tickets from Kotyk, thanked him, and then closed the door. So I guess we know why I made the news: no one else made for good TV.

We attempted a photo.

We’re both laughing because he had just asked if he should crouch down so we could both get in the photo. This is probably the #1 greatest in-person interaction I have had with a men’s player, with #2 being when Mike Montgomery liked my Nirvana shirt and #3 occurring when I was at the Wild camp a few years ago and told Jack Connolly while in the autograph line that his mom was waiting for him.

Since this photo did not include the jersey, Brian Dozier helpfully offered to model it for me.

And you can see my jersey in action here:

And here (getting an assist on this Exellent goal):

I was very happy and satisfied with my acquisition until the next day when tUMD came out with the away jersey for the women and I wept for my bank account. More on that later.

Pardon the Interruption

29 September 2016

tUMD hockey OFFICIALLY officially begins on Friday, when the women take on Boston College at AMSoil. I look forward to seeing you all there. I will be attending with some friends.

My friends at BC Interruption are always keen to talk college hockey, and with our teams meeting again this weekend, my comrade Grant and I exchanged some questions and answers. You can find my answers to his questions over on their site. Hello to all 3 people who clicked through to mine.

RWD: Did you ever reveal the total money raised during Meowstern Bias? Did you actually keep that money for yourselves?

Grant: [BCI writer] Joe was handling this with his Eastern Bias podcast co-host so he has the details, but I think the final number was $507.66. And if by “for yourselves” you mean “for our own personal joy of sending money to help KITTIESSSSSSS” we certainly did!

For those of you who are unaware, Meowstern Bias was a fundraiser around the Beanpot last year where BC Interruption and the Eastern Bias podcast raised money for the Gifford Cat Shelter, the oldest no-kill cageless shelter in the United States.

For those of you also unaware, the Beanpot is a hockey tournament formed by and enjoyed by God himself, as noted in Philippians 3:14.

RWD: Why do you keep choking in the national tournament? You have an extremely long history of choking.

Grant: Listen Minnesota is REALLY GOOD okay?? Have you ever seen them play?? They’re SICK.

But we won a Frozen Four game this time so that erases all history of us ever choking in anything. Ignore that Harvard game two years ago. And all the other times we lost in the Frozen Four. And all those Hockey East championship games. That’s how it works. Hey, I don’t make the rules.

Also Hockey East has been pretty godawful most years and getting into the NCAA tournament and facing top ECAC and WCHA teams after a full season of WHEA dregs is like going up to the plate after warming up with a wiffleball bat.

And BY THE WAY, Jessica Koizumi’s goal was definitely bullcrap because Molly Schaus was definitely interfered with. Jerks.

RWD: When do you think you’ll choke this year? In the quarterfinals, semis, or national championship game?

Grant: I’m a bit bearish on BC’s chances this year, at least relative to everyone else’s expectations, although I’m not as down as I was before I started digging into the roster for season previews. I would be really surprised if BC made it all the way to the NCAA championship game this year. Getting to the Frozen Four would be a very strong measure of success for this season. So I guess I say if we have a good year we’ll “choke” against the Badgers or Gophers in the semifinals.

The thing is, even if you knew how good each team is, it’s so hard to predict how the Pairwise is going to shake out. The ECAC has about 6 teams with a legitimate chance to earn an NCAA tournament berth. Will they beat each other up to the point that only one or two are in the top 8? Will the Badgers and Gophers split wins and knock each other down from #1? Will one go undefeated and knock the other down to, say, 4th, and be forced to face each other in the semifinals? Is Hockey East so bad that BC will run the table again and back its way into #1? I mean, serious questions. It’s all a complete wild card.

All that is a long winded way of me saying that how the NCAA tournament field shakes out will determine exactly how far BC can go this year. I can’t in even the rosiest of scenarios see BC getting through both Wisconsin and Minnesota, and frankly I think BC will be fortunate if they can earn home ice in the quarterfinals.

RWD: Is it possible that [UMTC alumna] Coach Kennedy is sabotaging you?

Grant: HA – let’s be real, if BC didn’t have Coach Kennedy the last several years BC doesn’t have nearly the success they’ve been able to put together. She’s a huge part of our recruiting.

I have to be honest, when the UMD job opened up, I was certain that Coach Kennedy was going to leave BC and take that job. I think she’s easily the top assistant coach in all of women’s hockey. She’s actually our associate head coach now – her and Coach Crowley are almost co-heads at this point. I’m so glad she didn’t leave.

RWD: Are you nothing without Skarupa and my Sister-From-Another-Bobby-Carpenter?

Grant: Nah, we’re going to be fine. We didn’t get enough credit for how deep we were last year. Last year we had THIRTEEN of the top 100 in scoring. Hell, BC has 8 players in the top 70 of returning scorers – and that was with the superline double shifting for half the game last year. It was a testament to just how good Skarupa and Carpenter were that people didn’t realize how many people were scoring points. To top it all off, we have a solid freshman class, including one player who is going to win a Kaz before she leaves.

Also, we have one hell of a defensive corps. We held the NWHL champion Boston Pride to 25 shots last week.

RWD: Do you ever wish you were in a real league with actual competition?

Grant: Yes, although with North Dakota and Bemidji almost certainly taking a massive step back, there’s going to be a whole lot of crap at the bottom of the WCHA this season. Welcome to our world.

Seriously though, I really wish the bottom of Hockey East would get its ish together. Half our games are glorified exhibitions. Things will be more competitive this year with us being brought back to the pack a bit, though.

RWD: Do you think Boston is supersaturated with options for women’s hockey fans? Has BC noticed any drop or increase in attendance/fan engagement since women’s professional hockey came to town?

Grant: Boston is supersaturated with options for sports fans, let alone women’s hockey fans. All we ever hear about regarding football and hockey attendance is “oh, it’s a pro sports town, BC will never be a real player in the world of Boston sports.”

For women’s hockey attendance, I think it’s just a cultural east/midwest thing more than it’s a “there’s so much to do, no one’s going to go to women’s hockey games” thing. People aren’t exactly packing the rinks anywhere out east, although I will grant you that the schools in the middle of nowhere (hello, Dartmouth and RIT) definitely punch above their weight.

BC’s attendance has picked up considerably the last two years in particular (yes, 434 people per game is “considerably” – we were pretty thrilled with attendance last year), but being honest here, I doubt that had anything to do whatsoever with the CWHL/NWHL and everything to do with the fact that the team was trying to go undefeated, in the news, and that people actually knew they existed.

RWD: Why can’t you people pronounce consonants correctly?


Grant: Look at this map. Look at it. Don’t come around here talking linguistic trash when you have this nonsense looming over you like a black cloud.

RWD: Will you be sending any envoys to Duluth this weekend?

Grant: Is there even a road that goes up there or can you rent sled dogs from Minneapolis?

Actually according to my google searches, you guys have an actual airport. That’s amazing. And it’s such a cute wittle airport! First I was like “Duluth International Airport?” But then I realized that the short hop to Minneapolis is technically international because you’re, you know, Canadian.

Anyway nah, I don’t know of anyone other than, like, parents, who are going to make the trip. I’d love to go, but that’s a $500 battle with the Mrs. that I would most definitely not win.

RWD: What is your prediction for this weekend?

Grant: Duluth played us as tough as anyone last year, and they were a young team with a new coach. I don’t have a good feeling about BC coming out of The Great White North with a sweep. Duluth is playing at home, they’re a year more experienced, they have a full year under the new coach… and this all spells trouble for BC. The gap has closed.

I realize Duluth was well under .500 last year, but I’m pretty certain they’re going to take a big step forward and be the #3 team in the WCHA this year. I do think Duluth wins one of these games and BC stumbles out of the blocks with a split. I’ll call it 2-1 UMD and 2-0 BC.

I do think we’re going to learn a ton about both of our teams right off the bat, though. So that’ll be good for setting expectations the rest of the year.

Thanks for the fun interview, Grant! Your team sucks!