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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.

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):
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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Abortion Debate, College Hockey Recruiting Debate Unexpectedly Collide

22 September 2017

With the recent commitment to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities by the 13 and 14 year old Lucius brothers (whose parents founded a school that revolves around hockey and employs more staff in its athletic department than it does teachers), the men’s college hockey world was once again abuzz with the question “How young is too young to recruit?”

tUMD men’s hockey head coach Scott Sandelin went on the record in a recent Pioneer Press article regarding this question, stating he hopes the process will slow down “so seventh and eighth graders aren’t committing to college,” expertly setting the bar just below his recent recruiting coup, obtaining verbal commitments from brothers Joey and Mikey Anderson just shy of their 15th birthdays.

Bulldog men’s hockey vox Bruce Ciskie was also quick to set apart the Andersons’ commitment from other recent young commitments. “They were both playing varsity high school hockey when they announced, not […] Bantam hockey,” Ciskie stated in a recent off-the-record conversation with this publication. “I’m not running around the country going to those bantam tournaments, I can tell you that,” Sandelin told Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press, who wrote the only bantam tournaments Sandelin attended were those of his own son, Hermantown hockey standout and Minnesota State-Mankato commit Ryan. Cleverly, Sandelin did not reveal whether his assistant coaches were attending bantam tournaments, nor did he acknowledge that his son’s bantam tournaments likely included Bulldog prospect Cole Koepke and incoming freshman Dylan Samberg.

Eager to repeat Sandelin’s recruiting success, college hockey coaches have been recruiting younger and younger. In addition to the Gentry Hockey Factory Academy duo, North Dakota has a pair of 2002 birth year commitments, as does Miami. 2017 and 2018 Men’s D1 National Champion Denver University, once famous for its “25 year old Canadian” recruiting strategy, appears to be on board with the new “15 year old American” trend, with three of its own 2002 birth year commits. UMTC’s in-conference rival, Wisconsin, counts 5 2002s among its 31 recruits. Yes, 31.

The have-nots of college hockey are struggling to compete, and resorting to more extreme measures. The “how young is too young?” question collided with the nation’s bitter debate over a woman’s right to bodily autonomy when newly-appointed Northern Michigan University head coach Grant Potulny recently attempted to receive a commitment from the 10 week, 4 day old embryo of a prominent, unnamed NHL player, citing the “elite DNA” of the parents. “I had noticed other college coaches lurking around [redacted]’s wife, and realized I couldn’t wait until the end of the first trimester to sign this kid.” Potulny also mentioned he reserved the right to rescind the scholarship offer after the ultrasound, should the future fetus turn out to be female.

This prompted abortion activists from both the forced-birth and bodily autonomy sides of the debate to wade in to the college hockey recruitment arena, unexpected territory for both. A spokesperson for NARAL commented on the potential commitment, stating “an embryo is not a person, and therefore does not have the agency to commit to a college hockey team. However, the pregnant woman does have every right to make the best decision she can; if that means committing a future child, whether this embryo or another, to Northern Michigan University’s men’s hockey team, we support her decision.” The spokesperson for the anti-choice group Focus on the Family clutched her pearls and said “Won’t somebody please think of the children??? Of course this child’s commitment to hockey should be honored! This precious baby is destined by God to have a blessed career at Northern Michigan University! How dare anyone try to take that away from them?”

Joe Shawhan, head coach of Northern Michigan’s rival, Michigan Tech, scoffed at Potulny’s recruiting strategy. “It’s preposterous,” Shawhan said. “I refuse to recruit that way, even if it means we lose out on some potential stars. I draw the line at fetal viability.”

Survey Says?

18 July 2017

The NCAA wants you to help them fix their crappy social media account for hockey. Which, first of all, no. Pay me money and I will consult for you. But second of all, yes, I can’t help myself.

Look, you could fix your terrible twitter account by 1. changing the name to reflect that you only cover men’s D1 hockey or 2. cover women’s hockey and men’s D3 hockey with some actual effort.

Apologies to D3 men right now, you’re not really my wheelhouse and there’s just no way I can provide as passionate a post sticking up for what you fellows do. However, guess what, you’re mostly white men who have played a college sport so your life is likely to turn out great.

I mean, this garbage has to stop. I’m not interested in hearing the NCAA whine about how women’s hockey doesn’t pull in ratings and money. Of course it doesn’t, when you can’t even bother to use free social media platforms and exploit free labor from eager young sports management and/or communications majors who don’t yet know to demand pay for their work.


Sportswriter Nicole Haase provided myriad examples of how the NCAA fails from the get-go to promote women’s hockey. When you look through the list of concrete, documented examples Nicole gives, it’s pretty easy to apply Occam’s Razor and conclude the NCAA actually does not want anyone to watch women’s hockey. If you don’t promote it or provide access to it, then it’s very easy to say no one watches it! What other conclusion can one come to, looking at the evidence:

  1. Women’s stats, milestones, and achievements are almost never celebrated. All players of the week, stars of the week, plays of the week, whatevers of the week are men’s D1 players. Men’s hat tricks are celebrated, women’s hat tricks are ignored. (Some men’s D1 player got a hat trick which was touted as the first of the season last year, even though Ashleigh Brykaliuk had already notched one, as had some other women I don’t care about as much.)
  2. Men’s D1 hockey alumni in the pros are highlighted on the account. Meanwhile, I am not sure they are aware that there’s pro women’s hockey anywhere in the world, let alone that NCAA alumnae are tearing up those leagues.
  3. The NCAA tweeted twice about the women’s D1 national championship game on the day of the event. It was televised live for the first time, so you’d think they would want to promote it and get their money’s worth. Apparently not. I’m not sure because I was busy having panic attacks, but I believe the NCAA tweeted twice per second about the men’s D1 national championship game on gameday. Was there a women’s D3 national championship game? Who knows?
  4. The NCAA doesn’t even have someone who is dedicated to women’s hockey social media coverage. Not even a chimpanzee banging away at a keyboard receiving bananas as payment. (Well, roughly 65% of a banana after taxes.)

I took the survey (which initially did not have a comment box, so of course they couldn’t actually find out what people wanted or didn’t want).


Well, none of those things really describe me. Where is the checkbox for deranged blogger and berater of refs?

I also would like to check “None of the above” for why I follow the NCAA Ice Hockey “channels.” Channels? Do you mean accounts? I do not understand. And like I said, none really apply. I don’t “discuss” hockey with other fans via the NCAA’s Twitter account. I discuss it with fans on my own account. And also by screaming at people in the stands. The account doesn’t show anything I can’t see on TV. The account doesn’t promote my favorite teams; in fact, it seems to almost exclusively promote teams I don’t like. I guess there was that whole men’s hockey playing in the national championship game that they covered.

There’s just no way I could in good conscience check “To keep up with all things hockey.” That would imply that the NCAA’s social media platforms keep up with all things hockey, when they actually keep up with a couple things hockey. Even if that is my intent when following it, there’s no way to indicate that they are not living up to my expectations.

Naturally I checked “I consider myself very knowledgeable about college hockey in general.” However, there’s no acknowledgement that people could be fans of multiple teams. Like, say, a men’s and women’s program at their school. Or a D1 program and a D3 program. I don’t think that’s actually covered under “knowledgeable about a few teams.” Or perhaps I am being overly nitpicky? That would be a first.


Again, this focuses on things that I like, rather than how well they are doing at providing me with this content. As Weldie pointed out, “off the field” is not a thing in hockey. Well, not in ice hockey. Perhaps this was the field hockey survey?

Speaking of broken records, I don’t care if I sound like one on this topic.

If anyone answered “yes” to that second question, I want to know what other accounts you’re following. Maybe you’re just following Goon, Bruce Ciskie, and that account that pretends to be about college hockey and then tweets alt-right nonsense (no, the other one, this isn’t mentioning Goon twice). In the case, yes, the NCAA is the best account you follow. Well maybe second best bc Bruce sometimes retweets me.

I chose “never” in regard to clicking on links. It’s the closest to “once in a blue moon” that I could get.


Whoa whoa whoa, NCAA. You are in no way in danger of producing too much content. You are actually producing not enough content. That is the whole freaking problem.


I don’t think the comment box was there in the original survey. I can’t say this for sure, but based on 1. a tweet from Weldie and 2. me not taking the survey initially, I can say this with a 99% confidence level. I know that this is not actually what a confidence level means, but statistics is a made up pseudo-science.

I’ll leave you with the 3 words I wrote in the comment box, the most important thing they could do to improve their social media, their coverage of the sport, and their adherence to the NCAA’s mission of inclusivity:


College Hockey to Experiment With New Predetermined Season

11 July 2017

In June, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee met in Indianapolis to discuss potential rules changes for the upcoming season. Among the topics discussed were: options for overtime, the definition of offsides, and respect. It is only natural that the topics of overtime and offsides would be discussed at the committee meeting, as Actual National Champion* North Dakota was affected significantly by both items. The topic of respect was entered into the minutes by mistake, as the members of the Rules Committee were discussing their night of drunken debauchery on the NCAA’s dime the previous evening, when committee member and Hockey East Association commissioner Joseph D. Bertagna performed Aretha Franklin’s iconic song “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” at an Indianapolis karaoke establishment.

One topic that received unanimous support amongst committee members, coaching staff, and journalists alike, was the opportunity to experiment with a predetermined season outcome.

“So many fans come into the season with anxiety or stress over their team’s chances at a national championship,” said Bill Riga, committee member and associate head coach of Quinnipiac University’s men’s team. “With this proposed format, fans will know coming into the season whether or not their team will win a national championship, and can attend games without worrying if an injury or a defensive mistake will ruin their team’s chances at a title.”

The expenses associated with travel will also be reduced, as teams and fans will be able to book flights in advance.

“I know it will ease my mind and the minds of all of Beaver Nation, to know for sure we won’t need to book last-minute flights to the Frozen Four, or to secure ice time and other logistics for a home play-off game,” said Amber Fryklund, assistant coach for Bemidji State University’s women’s program.

“While in past seasons we were 99.999999% certain we would not host or even play in the NCAA tournament, adding that extra 0.000001% has given us peace of mind,” Ms. Fryklund added.

In accordance with protocol and rules committee tradition, the new format will be used on a trial basis in the 2017-18 season, with Men’s Division I adopting the predetermined season. The committee, with input from neutral sources such as D. Goddard Hockey Consulting, Ltd., industry publication Let’s Go DU, and the nonpartisan think tank Puck Swami Institute, has selected the University of Denver as the first predetermined national champion.

“We looked at a variety of factors, including number of returning players across teams, hyperbolic blog posts and tweets from select media, and [Denver head coach] Jim Montgomery’s ability to come within six when I said I was thinking of a number between one and a hundred,” Mr. Bertagna said. It was reported that the number was 63, and Mr. Montgomery selected 57, for undetermined reasons. Among other coaches asked to come up with a number, 2017 runner-up Minnesota Duluth’s Scott Sandelin selected 2, and Actual National Champion North Dakota head coach Brad Berry stared into the distance picking his nose before finally prompted to respond “Eleventy?”

If this format proves successful, look to see it expand across all divisions of NCAA ice hockey in 2018-19.

*70 years running!