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What About Bob?

8 March 2018

Today is International Women’s Day, and it’s also the third day of the Shannon Miller v. The Regents of the University of Minnesota trial. It’s probably a good time to bring up something that isn’t sitting well with me.

Last weekend, four people were inducted into the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame: golfer Tom Waitrovich, longtime multi-sport volunteer Dale “Hoagie” Haagenson, women’s hockey legend Jenny Potter (who played under Miller), and former AD and football coach Bob Nielson.

I really don’t understand inducting Nielson into the HoF at this time. I know a lot of the hype around the lawsuit, from pro- and anti-Miller sides, focuses on Chancellor Lendley Black and AD Josh Berlo, but the alleged systemic issues that led to the discrimination lawsuit pre-date both Berlo and Black.

Black’s predecessor, Kathryn Martin, testified on Tuesday. The Duluth News Tribune reports:

Martin acknowledged that she was protective of the women’s hockey program, and that she asked Black to continue those efforts. She said Miller had the support of former athletic director Bob Corran, but his successor, Bob Nielson, was “hesitant about pushing too hard for equity in the women’s hockey program.”

This is unsurprising and unremarkable, in the sense that there are hundreds of men in AD positions around the country who are hesitant about pushing too hard, or at all, for equity in women’s sports. If you require me to cite a source for that, all I can say is I’m sorry you’ve broken from reality and wish you well during your in-patient psychiatric treatment.

The DNT continues:

The university maintains that the December 2014 decision to let her go came as a result of her declining performance and an analysis that showed a cost-per-win well in excess of rival head coaches as UMD faced a budget shortfall.

This was elaborated on in a subsequent article:

Donald Chance Mark Jr., another attorney for Miller, turned the discussion to one of the factors subsequently cited by UMD in its decision: a financial analysis prepared by Berlo showing that Miller was paid about three times as much per win as the women’s hockey head coaches at Minnesota and Wisconsin during her final four seasons.

This is somewhat off-topic but is a perfect example of what women have to face in their fight for pay and resource equity. No one ever questions that perhaps Johnson and Frost are underpaid. When Tony Granato was hired at Wisconsin to replace Mike Eaves, Johnson became the senior coach, with significantly more proven success in the job, but Granato makes nearly twice as much money as Johnson does. Why doesn’t Johnson press for pay equity? Rumors that Johnson was marking time in the women’s job until the men’s job became available (only to have Eaves stick around long enough that Johnson’s window of opportunity passed) would make it seem that he views his job as inferior to the men’s head coaching job, and that he in fact deserves to be paid less. Of course, he’s never stated this to me, so I can only speculate. We need coaches and administrators, regardless of their gender, to be tenacious in their pursuit of equity.

No one can ever say Miller was not tenacious in her pursuit of pay equity, and she was fortunate to have Kathryn Martin in a position to support that and to pay her a salary comparable to her peer (since tUMD plays up in hockey but is actually a D-2 school, Scott Sandelin is the only coach who was truly her peer in this sense), but, according to the lawsuit, she faced retaliation for her actions in this regard.

Many of the details that first emerged when the lawsuit was filed are disturbing and speak to a hostile work environment. But did that hostile work environment appear overnight in 2013, upon Berlo’s hire? Or was it a continuation of what was already occurring under Nielson’s watch?

Nielson is not going to appear in court, but may have been deposed for testimony, according to Tom Olsen of the DNT, who is covering the case.

I question the decision to induct Nielson into the Hall of Fame before this lawuit has been decided. It would be in extremely poor taste to honor him in this way, only to later hear in court that Nielson was complicit in the retaliation or workplace harassment Miller experienced during her tenure. UMD should have waited until a decision was reached in the lawsuit, and then gone through with the induction if it was still appropriate.

I know there are lots of people out there who don’t like Shannon Miller and who found her either personally or professionally grating. I am here to tell you that it does not matter if you don’t like her, or think she’s annoying, or if she wasn’t sweet and nice and meek, or if you’re a disgusting subhuman cretin who hates women’s sports and thinks they don’t deserve any funding or support – it is not acceptable to use gendered insults, or insults related to her sexual orientation, to express these feelings in the workplace. (It isn’t acceptable in any arena, but it is illegal federally [on the basis of sex] and on a state level [on the basis of sex and sexual orientation] to behave in this way in the workplace.) And people in authority (like, say, athletic directors) have a responsibility to ensure they themselves are not discriminating against employees on this basis, and that their employees are not being harassed on this basis by their colleagues. And until this trial is concluded, it was ill-advised for UMD to have honored someone who may (or may not) have been in a position to allow discrimination or harassment to fester.

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Remembering Andrew Carroll

22 January 2018

There’s no need to use hyperbole or superlatives to describe Andrew Carroll. Simply telling the truth of his accomplishments and demeanor while playing for the Bulldogs says more than any adjective ever could.

Andrew Carroll was the type of player who, through sheer will and determination, far outstripped what might have been the natural talent ceiling for another player with a similar skill set. His dedication to the sport and to his team was evident whether he was following a strict diet (as of his tenure with the Bulldogs, he hadn’t had fast food since something like 8th grade, and he packed his own lunch on road trips – also a prudent financial measure) or throwing up on the bench between shifts due to illness. He was a one-man penalty killing machine. He filled any role he was asked to.

It’s often cliché to say a player loves the game so much he’d play for free – but when Carroll was playing for the then-ECHL Charlotte Checkers, he had a chance to play with the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack. Upon learning of the call-up,

“He said there’s no need to pay me. I just want to go,” [Charlotte Checkers coach Derek] Wilkinson said. “‘Just give me a jersey. He’s got no sense of entitlement whatsoever. He’s a kid you want to root for.”

His nearly unprecedented 3-year captaincy with the Bulldogs is also a testament to his character and dedication. He played a significant role in moving the program forward to where it is today; the improbable playoff run of the 2008-09 Bulldogs (his senior year) set a new standard for Bulldog hockey. Carroll himself set a new standard of pride and workmanship for both players and leaders. Putting on the #20 jersey means something more than it did prior to 2005-06.

Fans have shared anecdotes recounting his acts of kindness, large or small, that impacted their lives or their children’s lives, even a decade later. He was an easy player to root for or look up to. There were likely quite a few youth coaches in the area who could point to his work ethic and his defensive play as virtues for their young players to emulate.

His parents were as much a part of the Bulldog family as he was; years after he graduated and left Duluth, they were often spotted in the crowd at Amsoil Arena (or elsewhere). His family and friends, his teammates, his coaches, and his teams’ support staffs, have lost a person of great consequence. The legacy he left at UMD will endure as long as the program exists, and his giving and kind spirit will survive in others as, per his family, he was an organ donor.

Thank you for the four years you gave to this program, Andrew. I wish your loved ones had been granted forty more. I hope for peace and comfort to those who mourn you.

Dire Straits

2 January 2018

I haven’t been to Amsoil Arena in a month, and haven’t seen a Bulldog win at home since November 25th. It’s been below zero Fahrenheit almost every moment since Christmas Eve. The US men lost to Slovakia at the WJC and then needed a shootout to beat Canada in The Most Ridiculous Outdoor Hockey Game Ever Played Other Than The One in LA. Things are getting a little dire.

Some good stuff is happening, too. Of course 5 of our guys made the WJC roster (2/3 Andersons, TUFTE, Perunovich, and Samberg), and the remainder of the group pulled out a tournament* win** at Dartmouth. There are two exhibition games this weekend to look forward to, vs. Team Korea (with bench boss Sarah Murray) and vs. the Whitecaps.

*I guess we can call any event in which 4 teams convene a “tournament” nowadays?
**Shootout win, officially a tie, but Dartmouth is scary – just ask Denver.

Some amazing things are happening, too. Sidney Morin and Maddie Rooney are on Team USA for the Olympics. Haley Irwin, Jocelyne Larocque, and Brigette Lacquette have made Team Canada. Lacquette is the first indigenous woman to play for Hockey Canada in the Olympics. The head coach of Team Canada is our former assistant HC, Laura Schuler. This will be Team Canada’s first Olympics since 1998 without Prime Minister of Quebec*** Caroline Ouellette, so that will be weird. I can’t find any rosters for other countries (though I did not try very hard), but one can be assured that Lara Stalder will be on Team Switzerland, and there will be Bulldogs on Team Sweden.

***Obviously Celine Dion is Queen of Quebec.

This season has thus far been one of managed and/or adjusted expectations, on both teams. We knew it would be, but I know it’s hard. We’ve been having more ups than downs on the men’s side of things, and we’ve had almost entirely ups on the women’s side of things since the program’s inception. There are still plenty of exciting players on the ice, and plenty of games left – no one’s been eliminated yet. Wow, how about that for optimism?

All right, let’s all grit our teeth, hunker down, and ride out the season. Even if it doesn’t end so well for either or both of our teams, next year’s gonna be awesome.

From Top Shelf To Food Shelf, Year 5

13 December 2017

My friend Jessi sent a message out into the universe the other day about how she constantly feels like she wants to do something to improve what seems to be an increasingly more unpleasant world. I get that feeling – anyone with a soul is struggling right now with a sense of helplessness and a perceived inability to affect positive change on a grand scale.

If you’ve been a part of From Top Shelf To Food Shelf over the past 5 years, whether you’ve pledged, challenged others to pledge, or helped publicize the event, you’ve been part of something that has made a real difference. Or, at least, I hope you’ll feel that way after you see what we’ve accomplished together.

This year, we raised $4053.25 and 159 food/clothing items for various organizations in our own communities, or in the communities where our teams play. While managing the data behind the event, I get a chance to see the organizations you folks choose. These are great places doing amazing work.

Over the 5 years this event has taken place, we have raised $10624.65 and 594 items. I hope you can take a moment and feel good about that. There’s lots of work to be done to help people who are struggling or vulnerable, or to stop people who want to exploit them, but we’ve done something tangible to help.

It feels different, to me, to give as part of a group effort. I make donations when and where I can, and it feels like nothing. $20 feels like $0. But when I think “I was part of a group of people who raised $10k to fight hunger,” it feels like making a positive impact is attainable.

Thanks for being part of this, whether it’s your first time or your fifth time, whether you gave five bucks or five retweets. Thanks for looking past what a heinous beast I am to the players on your team or your fanbase or you personally (*cough*Bruce*cough*) and joining in the fun. Thanks for finding a little extra in these uncertain times, to help out strangers.

Chag Sameach, friends!

FTSTFS17 Update!

3 December 2017

We’re less than a week away from From Top Shelf To Food Shelf weekend! There’s still lots of time to make pledges. I know St. Cloud fans are charging hard to try to be the fanbase with the most donors, but there’s room for everyone on the bandwagon!

Pledges can be large or small, and they can be tied to stats or they can be a flat amount! There’s even an option to make your pledge anonymous. You can choose whatever organization you like, and there’s no middlewoman, you just cheer for all the goals your team scored and write that cheque*.

*figuratively speaking, of course, checks are the scourge of my existence

On a side note, after the men’s and women’s teams combined scored three goals this weekend, we have come full circle with this initiative. Once again, tUMD is in dire need of some motivation, and helping others is a great motivator. I know all the men and women in our program are kind-hearted philanthropists ready to pour on the scoring for such a good cause!

Here’s a list of pledges so far (last updated 12/11/17):
UMD
RWD: $5/goal, $5/FTSTFS participant to CHUM
Nick: $1/goal, $5/win, $20/shutout to Roseville Food Shelf/Keystone Services
Rebecca: $10/goal to Northern Lakes Food Bank
DanoftheWeek: $5/Soucy penalty (for the Iowa Wild), $5/Tufte goal to CHUM
Waylon/Wayne: The sum of the time on the clock when UMD scores its first goal in each game to Northern Lakes Food Bank
Biddco: $0.50/NCHC goal, $20/Sammy Squirrel Spurrell goal to CHUM
Jessi: $2/goal to PAVSA
Bruce & Tammy: $5/power play goal to Northern Lakes Food Bank
Angel: $5/men’s goal, $10/NCHC shutout to Salvation Army
Anonymous: $5/goal to an unspecified food bank
Dawn: 1 item/goal in the Minnesota River – Windom game 12/9 to her local food shelf

SCSU
Neil: $10/goal to Salvation Army (St. Cloud)
Erik: $20/SO, $2/Poehling goal, $0.10/save (both teams), $1/goal *for UNO weekend* to Southwest Carver Food Shelf
John: Trunkload of clothes (is this a metric or imperial unit, I do not know) to DAV, $3/goal, $5/win to either Second Harvest or Salvation Army
Dave: $1/save for men’s goalies to a local food shelf
Jeremy: $5/goal, $10/win to CEAP
Patty: $20/Peterson goal, $20/Triple Poehling, $5/Borgen penalty, $50/men’s sweep to Tricounty Human Society
Tom: $2/goal, $10/win, $50/Triple Poehling to Salvation Army
Mike: $25 to Amery Food Shelf
Heather Weems (SCSU AD): $5/goal to Anna Marie’s Alliance
Anonymous: $10/PPG to Catholic Charities
#GOHUSKIESWOOOOO: Extremely complex pledge to Division of Indian Work Horizons Unlimited
Weldie: $5/point for Abby Thiessen + Hallie Theodosopoulos. $2/goal, extra $1/PPG, $10/Hat Trick, $10/Victory, extra $5/men’s sweep, $10 if Cam Johnson is pulled [hehehehehehe], $50 if Huskies women sweep to Catholic Charities
Matt: $2/goal, $20/men’s sweep, $25/Triple Poehling to Catholic Charities
Anonymous: $100 “win lose or draw” to Centennial Community Food Shelf

UMTC
Anonymous: $50/men’s goal Dec 1/2 to San Antonio Food Bank
Emily: $1/goal to Aurora Center
Melmac: $10/goal, $50/shutout to Western UP Food Bank
Brian: $5/men’s goal, $25/men’s shutout to Second Harvest
Anonymous: $2/men’s goal, $10/men’s shutout to East Side Neighborhood Services Senior Food Shelf

UW
Nicole: $1/goal to Hunger Task Force
Drew: $5/goal, $10/shutout to Middleton Outreach Ministry

Lake Superior Circle Tour
Brandon: $1/goal against tUMD, LSSU, NMU, and MTU to CHUM

Niagara/Canisius
Amy Moritz: $5/goal to Community Missions and Buffalo City Mission

UND
Timarie & Ryan: $5/goal to Second Harvest North Central Food Bank
Dave: $5/goal, $10/win to Northlands Rescue Mission
Goon: $50 to Houston Food Bank
UND Bass Drums: $5/Abby Thiesen and Hallie Theodosopoulos goal against UW to a charity of GoHuskiesWooooo’s choice
Scott: $3/goal “vs. Clown” to Second Harvest Heartland

UNO
Lori: $5/goal, $10/win to Food Bank for the Heartland
Matt: $50 to Food Bank for the Heartland
Spencer: $5/goal, $5/UMD women’s win to Open Door Mission
Connor: $5/goal, $10/major penalty for UNO or tUMD to Maverick Food Pantry
Jolene: $5/goal, $10/win to Together Inc.

BU
Kat: Pack of mini cereal/goal to Salem High School Food Pantry
Maddie: $5/men’s goal to Greater Boston Food Bank

Maine
John: $1/save, $3/win, $5/shutout by Carly Jackson (Dec 2, 3, & 9) or Jeremy Swayman (vs QU) to Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program

St. Scholastica
Chin: $3/goal, $5/goal by Sawyer, Broman, or Whitely, $5/SO to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Food Pantry

MTU
Nezzy: $10/goal, $50/shutout to Western UP Food Bank
MeanEgirl: 1 food item/15 seconds of successful PK, $6/Sieve-mas carol to NEAR Food Shelf
Rob: $5/goal for MTU, $1/PIM in Governor’s Cup to 31 Backpacks
Yager: $400 to Community Harvest Food Bank

UNH
Rob: $5/goal against Army & Merrimack; $10/win; $5 if UNH wins by 3 or more OR records a shut out to NH Food Bank
Mike: $5/goal to Upper Valley Haven Food Shelf
UNH Puck: $1/penalty killed to NH Food Bank
UNH Cat Fan: $5/goal to unspecified charity
Mike N: $1 per UNH shot on goal, $5 per UNH goal, $10 per UNH win (increased to $20 if a win is by 3 or more), $25 per UNH shutout to NH Food Bank
Matt: $5/UNH goal, $10/UNH PPG, x2 goal $$ if UNH outscores both opponents by 8+ total, $10 if UNH sweeps to NH Food Bank

RMU
Ashley: 3 items/goal to West Hills Food Pantry
Coach Schooley: matching Ashley’s donation

College Hockey
Lord of College Hockey: $2/NCHC goal, $3/WCHA women’s goal to Food Bank for the Heartland

White Bear Lake (MSHSL)
Matt: $2/shot (against Forest Lake) to Hugo Food Shelf

DU
LetsGoDU: $5/goal, $5 extra/Borgstrom goal to Food Bank of the Rockies

Oswego State
Jen: $5/goal to Oswego Food Pantry

Add yours today, if you’re able!

Five Years of From Top Shelf To Food Shelf

26 November 2017

How time flies! I cannot believe this is the fifth year of this exciting event!

The 5th Annual From Top Shelf To Food Shelf pledge drive will run Dec 8-10. I am sure by now this esteemed event is part of the rich lore of college hockey, but if you have not heard the origin story, click here! I can promise you that this is one of the best weekends in college hockey if you follow along on the internets. Fans from all corners of the hockey world come together to make a difference in their own communities, and it’s exciting to see the pledge numbers grow and the totals skyrocket.

In four years, hockey fans have raised $6571 and 435 food/clothing items. That is AMAZING!!!!

Here are the rules of engagement:

  1. Dream up a pledge based on the performance of your hockey team on the weekend of December 8/9/10. The pledge can be related to anything that can be quantified (and, hopefully, something I can easily look up). Goals, wins, saves, PIM, etc. Most pledges are money, but some are cans of food, hams, jars of peanut butter (warning: PB is expensive), or clothing items (socks, hats, gloves, etc).
  2.  Choose a 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! It’s so easy! Answer a few simple questions and your pledge is recorded. I will do my best to handle pledges made in other ways, but I would hate to miss one, so please just use the form. There is an option to make your pledge anonymous as well. I will know you’ve made the pledge, but won’t share your name.
  4. Spread the word. Evangelize on your blog, your social media platforms (#FromTopShelfToFoodShelf!), and even in real life, if you interact with others in that way.
  5. Tally up what you owe. I keep track on a spreadsheet, but I don’t send out reminders or updates. If you ask directly, I can verify your total. If you choose to round up or if you need to modify your pledge, please tell me.
  6. **Donate directly to the charity you’ve selected.** I don’t collect the money. I trust that you will make this donation.

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. Wouldn’t it be amazing to get our grand total up to $10K this year?

This year, my own pledge is $5/tUMD goal (the men are playing UNO and the women are playing UMTC), plus $5 per participant (in honor of the 5th year of the event). I’ll be making my donation to CHUM again this year.

The pledge form is live, so start thinking about the best way to motivate your team and get your pledges in!

New Kids on the Block

31 October 2017

Oh this young season. It’s been a trial so far. We show up to the rink and don’t know half the players on the ice. Even some of the non-freshmen are strangers, like Houston, Convery, Krieger, and hey, let’s even say Johnson, Deery, and Shepard, because unless you were looking at who opened the door on the bench last year, they’re unfamiliar figures. We’re missing our heroes and leaders like Dominic Toninato and Lara Stalder. We’re seeing the plays that clicked like clockwork off just a tick.

Please Don’t Go, Girl

A lot of people left last spring. Some had no choice, as much as we wanted them to stay, their eligibility was used up. Some had brighter opportunities they couldn’t pass up, and while it stings to wonder what might have been had every possible Bulldog returned, I wish them all well and hope they represent tUMD with pride and grace.

Probably the biggest loss, while temporary, was tUMD goaltender Maddie Rooney. Rooney is centralized with Team USA to prepare for the Olympics, and while I’m happy for her to have the opportunity — she’s gotta play. It’s a waste if she leaves for a season just to sit on the bench as the 3rd string goalie. We already saw an entire year without Brigette Lacquette during the last Olympics, when she was cut from Team Canada. Rooney will be back next year, of course, but let’s be real. We need her this year.

Hangin’ Tough

The season started a bit rough. The men lost back to back games (against MTU and Bemidji, which was depressing and horrid for the PWR) for the first time in the history of the universe, and the women are in the midst of their worst start ever. The goaltending is at times questionable, in ways I haven’t seen in a very long time. More experienced teams with more balanced rosters have preyed on the inexperience of our teams. This sucks. But we have to be patient, because…

You Got It (The Right Stuff)

…these players are talented. They’re U18 veterans. They’re drafted. They’re stars. We can all see the individual strengths on the ice – we just need to give them time to put things together. I really do believe that if everyone sticks around a few more years (rather than jumping ship if this season ends in the same disappointment with which it began), both of these teams are going to contend for national championships.

Step by Step

And we are seeing improvements. The women staunched the bleeding with a split at Bemidji, and their November schedule eases up a bit. The men got a sweep and back to back to back strong goaltending efforts, but will be pushed to the limit against a rested, unbeaten St. Cloud State.

I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)

Let’s be real though. I don’t really care. I’m still going to go to the games, I’m still going to cheer, dress up in stupid costumes, and write ridiculous stories. And it could be worse, right?

We could be North Dakota.