The Fab Five


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One thing about this past weekend’s WCHA Final Five – it brought me back many years ago to a time when I cheered – hardcore- for one of the teams that was eliminated. And I enjoyed it. Remembering those years. Thinking back to the games I watched back in the 90’s. The days when college hockey was college hockey – when the trend was to actually stay in college and graduate with a degree – playing all four years. When boys stuck around to win championships for their respective teams.

And of course, that got me thinking about Gopher teams of old. Of players who have left early and players who stayed to make a difference.

Names started floating into my head: Jordan Leopold, Paul Martin, John Pohl, Troy Riddle, Jeff Taffe, Erik Wendell, Keith Ballard, Barry Tallackson, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Stoa, Mike Vanelli, Kyle Okposo, Danny Irmen, Brian Bonin, Blake Wheeler, Phil Kessel (his little sis is a phenomenal hockey player for the Gopher women). ETC.

Those old names made me wish for those old times. When I hear some of those names called in today’s NHL games, I get a little nostalgic and I wonder what would have happened had some of those players stayed a Gopher for four entire years.

But.

Those days are gone. Those teams are done. And now the Gophers, and many other teams, have to re-set. They have to move past the sting of losing players – and just know that good or bad – it’s the new college game.

I like to think that I don’t wish for the past or resist change – but it’s hard when the change is not “working out.” Still, I’ve been giving some advice lately – telling people to enjoy the changing of the guard until the crowning moment. And yet, here I am, wishing for old teams, old players, the old days.

And that’s OK – to some degree. I can miss those glorious days. I can miss those wonderful former Gophers. But I can also look ahead and imagine when those glory days return…

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Usually where I ask. You answer. Today – random news/tidbits

  1. Yesterday, m frequent-flyer dad, not big on texting, sent me a text from his about-to-take-off plane @ MSP to tell me that Gopher Asst. Coach John Hill was on his flight.
  2. The Pens pulled of f a big win last night against the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe last night. Pretty nice SO. And who knew Mike Madano still knew how to put the puck in the net?!?
  3. 500,000 (give or take) people will walk through the doors of the X – Girls Hockey Tourney (February) – NCAA Frozen Four (April).
  4. Yesterday I swung into the MOA (I can’t stand the MOA) and perused a rack of discounted “MINNESOTA” gear. Though I did not touch, I did glance at some of the UND gear. It kind of made me sick to my stomach though, so I couldn’t look for long.
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