how to win a national championship

My voice is my instrument.

My livelihood depends on my voice – strong and clear; able to carry on for hours and hours.

Yet, that has not deterred me from shouting and yelling at the top of my lungs during hockey games.

And after last night’s game, I’m truly surprised I was able to talk today. Especially since I was fighting a little coughie-cold last week.

But there was no other option last night than to scream at the television as the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs skated and scrapped themselves to a National Championship.

Home at the second intermission, I turned on the game and saw the 2-2 score. Of course, before the game resumed, I had to watch all sorts of other ESPN news, which I didn’t care one bit about (ok, I kind of cared about what happened to Carolina and the Rangers).

Finally, the third period started. Don’t let the no-scoring thing fool you. It was anything but boring.

Throwing all concern for my money-making-voice (not exactly…) out the window, I sat on the edge of my seat and cheered on the Bulldogs like they were my favorite team in the world. Maroon-and-gold. Silver-and-gold. Make-new-friends-but-keep-the-old.

Scoring chances abounded on both sides, though I do believe the Bulldogs had the better looking shots on net.

And, hello, did I ever clap and cheer when J.T. Brown drove to the net and drew a much-needed penalty!

But if you ask Medicare member Red Berenson, there were…

Just too many penalties. Were they good penalties?…When one team gets nine and the other four, it doesn’t add up...Every time a player falls down, it shouldn’t be a penalty, not in NCAA Championship hockey (St. Paul Pioneer Press April 10, 2011).

I’m sorry, Red. Would you like us to replay the goal that got you past UNO? Because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a goal. You didn’t hear Blais grouching like a grumpy old man after that game, did ya now? “Hey you kids, get off my lawn,” would have been much more fitting for getting your point across.

Where was I? Oh yes, third period.

It ended. The way it started. In a tie.

So, the boys from Duluth and the boys from Ann Arbor saddled up for OT; the Bulldogs with the conditioning edge (1/3 of their games went to OT this season).

And then I watched as whistle after whistle, icing after icing, draw after draw, the underdog-unseeded Bulldogs who proved during Regionals that they were MN’s Top Dogs set up a play in MI’s end, three-ish minutes into the OT. A pass of the puck found Unsung Hero, Kyle Schmidt’s stick and he did what every Bulldog on the team wanted to do all game long: score. But not just score a regular-Joe goal. His score settled the score. And proved to the nation our appreciation. Of Minnesota hockey.

Last night, in front of 19, 222 fans at the Xcel Energy Center, Duluth took a giant leap for Duluth hockey. A leap that won them national recognition. A leap that Connolly, Connolly, Schmidt, Faulk, Brown, Fontaine, Tardy, Reiter, and the rest will never, ever forget. A leap that Duluth can be proud of.

So, how did they do it? What was their secret?

  • Build an $80+ million arena
  • Recruit former football stars’ sons
  • Beat the “#1” team in the nation @ Regionals
  • Dye your hair blonde
  • Be from Minnesota


In case you’re wondering,  I DVR’d the game and stayed up past my bedtime to watch it in its entirety after the Bulldogs won!


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