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St. Thomas Academy and Benilde won the state hockey titles. I’m okay with that. I’m not a anti-private schools person- there’s some I cheer for and some I cheer against

The few are really dominating the rest. If we look at St. Thomas, Hermantown, Duluth Marshall, Breck, and also include Benilde before they moved up they are:
* 43 wins and 6 losses overall against teams who aren’t among those 5 teams.
* That includes being 20-1 in Quarterfinal games (in 2011 Thief River Falls won over Breck)

Warroad also has been dominating the others as well. Warroad has 16 wins against teams that aren’t part of those 5 teams and only 1 loss (2004 to Orono).

I really like the Western College Hockey Blog’s thoughts on the Class A tourney:

“The Class A tournament should be a showcase for towns in Minnesota with one stoplight, not the schools like Breck that are literally one stoplight from the city limits of one of the 50 largest cities in the country.”

I’m curious on how you make the definition on this. Does that mean that all private schools from the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, and St. Cloud are Class AA teams? How do you define what those areas are? So that would mean St. Thomas Academy would be force to play up, but so would Minnehaha academy who were 3-22 in 2010-11.

That would also seem to say that Hermantown, who were undefeated heading into the tourney twice in this decade, wouldn’t be forced into AA, since they’re a public school. The Hawks have only lost once to someone who isn’t part of those 5 teams, a 4-2 loss to Lourdes who based on the metro area criteria would also have to play Class AA since they’re from Rochester.

Seems to me any criteria you do won’t work.

On Beyond the Pond on Saturday one of the hosts on the radio said that “we’re closer to having 3 classes than we’re closer to having 1 class”. That to me sounds better, but again how do you do it?

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Some quick thoughts about state today

  • Too many blowouts, although I’m not sure if there’s really any way of avoiding this, short of having only 1 class.
  • St. Thomas Academy looked good, but not great like they have previous years, but then again when you’re up so big it’s hard to judge.
  • Fantastic chant by the STA students:  “This one’s over”…….. immediately after the game started
  • Breck, same story as STA.
  • Hermantown, same story.
  • As always, I loved watching the “Hawk Dance”.
  • When I get some time, I really should look up the state tourney records of STA,  Breck, Hermantown, Duluth Marshall, and possibly Warroad and see what their records are against teams that aren’t one of them.  It’s got to be close to 100%.

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Generally speaking, I like the two class hockey system. However, unlike the big school (Class AA) tourney it ends up being dominated by a small group of schools. In the 12 years, there’s only been 6 schools that have won it. For the Class AA in that timeframe, there’s been 10 schools have won it, with only Eden Prairie and Holy Angels winning it more than once. Now some other schools have gotten closer to winning the Class A title- Lourdes, Orono, Red Wing, Totino-Grace, and Simley all made the championship game- but still only 6 teams have won it.

The small schools are also nice for people who want to go watch the state tourney, without having to spend a long time in line; for the Class AA games the tickets go on sale 1 hour before the gametime and you’d probably better be in line 1 hour before that, if not sooner to get tickets and even then you might be in the upper-deck.

When looking at the Class AA title game. In the 12 years, the Twin Cities has won 11 of the 12 titles, with only Roseau stopping the shutout in 2007. Still, in those 12 title games, 8 of the teams who lost were from the north. Although all 4 of those title games where the losing team was from the Twin Cities, the winning team was also from the Twin Cities.

Nice for me to see how that there’s many different schools who were in the title game: Anoka, Blaine, Centennial, Cretin-Derham Hall, Duluth East (2 times), Edina, Eden Prairie (2), Edina (2), Elk River, Grand Rapids (2), Hill-Murray (2), Holy Angels (2), Minnetonka, Moorhead (3), Roseau, Roseville. Now that’s variety! Moorhead has been there the most, but that’s only 3 title game appearances out of 12.

Probably the people who have the most to be depressed are southern Minnesota hockey fans. According to my count in both classes, they have 6 wins against 13 losses in the quaterfinals in the 12 years. If you count Lakeville as “southern Minnesota”, which I myself don’t (I call them Twin-Cities), it gets even worse; southern minnesota is then 6-20 (Lakeville lost right away in all 7 of the state tourneys).

Looking at the scores, only 1 of those wins could be considered to be a blowout, Lourdes won 7-2 over Orono. Although Rochester Century’s upset over Hill-Murray was huge in 2007. Then you have some really bad losses; Albert Lea losing 1-10 to Breck (2004) & 1-6 to Warroad (2005), New Ulm 1-11 to Breck (2010) & 2-13 to St. Thomas (2011), Lourdes 0-9 to Warroad (2010), there’s others as well. In fact, out of those 20 losses, only 6 of them was there 2 goals or less difference.

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UMD has been in their new building for some time now, so I’ve had quite a bit of time to think about it. Of course as always I will not give free corporate advertising when refering to the building.

There certainly are major improvements from moving from the DECC to the “New Duluth Arena”. The most obvious thing that hits you, other than the new building feel, is the big scoreboard hanging above center ice. This most certainly puts UMD’s building in the more modern sports arenas. The scoreboard is easy to read from wherever you are and now there is video, which is really wonderful since it now allows replay of goals, showing of out of town scores, and other stuff like that..

One thing that’s only now starting to hit me that I love about the building is that it feels more intimate than the DECC. It could just be an illusion, but I feel like the fans on the opposite site of the building are closer than they were at the DECC.

Sort of going along with that you can see the ice (a tiny part that is) when you are walking about the lower level. The exception is on the one side where the press boxes are. When you’re walking about on the uppper level you can see the ice perfectly, although there’s only seating up there, no concessions.

As far as things that are about the same, I would say the food hasn’t changed much, although to be fair I don’t stray much in my choices (frosty malts and the occasional bratwurst). From my seeing the menus it looks like the same food of burgers and hot dogs. I myself am perfectly content with these things and consider how some fans complain when there’s only these options to be extremely whiny. For ice cream there’s a lot more room for those waiting in line, although it still seems that there’s not enough.

One thing that I could see someone griping about, which doesn’t bother me that much, is something that applies to very few seats. Between the two seats that my Dad and I have, there’s a good size gap in there. It’s rougly the size of a seat. I’m guessing it’s because of how the bleachers come out and how they can pull them back in for concerts and other such things. So if I have something to say I have to lean over a bit to him. I’ve adjusted to it. I could see someone griping about it, but it doesn’t bother me.

I mentioned the scoreboard before. It’s generally a good thing, but I find myself frequently rolling my eyes at it. Now since video is allowed, that means in the drive to get more of those little green papers, there’s now video advertising from “corporate sponsors”. The videos are great, but I do wonder if I myself would rather not have the video scoreboard so that there’s no video advertising.

It’s sort of knock on the arena, but I’m sort of underwhelmed by it. Not entirely sure why. I guess I was hoping for something that’s more better looking. The seats are maroon and gold (the would be Bulldog colors by the way) in a nice pattern and there’s the Bulldog club in the corner, but I just don’t find the arena to be that nice to look at. Seems that maybe not having the gigantic media wall in something other than grey would have been a major improvement. The off-white of the DECC walls was better looking. The DECC had very unique features; the overhang of the media boxes, “the cave” or whatever it was for people ice level that sat in, the wonderfully low tiled ceiling that kept the noise it (well, before the tiles started coming down). Maybe it’s a money thing, but I was hoping for something different in the look of the building.

One thing that didn’t improve with switching buildings is the amount of space in the concourse. Walking around you’re still surrounded by people. I would have thought that would improve with a new building, but I guess not. It’s certainly nothing I’d complain about though.

So I guess my final verdict (although it’s subject to change) is one word: underwhelming. I’m not one of the demanding fans, I’m pretty content at a stadium since I’m really only there to watch a game, but in the end I’m underwelmed by “The New Duluth Arena”.

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Something on Facebook last night got me thinking, thinking about myself and being a “fan”. With the possible exception of UMD hockey, I don’t think I can label myself as a “fan” for sports anymore. I may count certain things as interests, but I don’t think “fan” applies. Seems to me that to label myself a “fan” there’s all kind of stuff that goes along with that.

In cases like the NFL, NBA, MLB, even the NHL, I certainly wouldn’t call myself a fan. I’m not even certain how much I’m interested in them. The four leagues combined I’m not sure if I’ve watched more the three games in the last four years; haven’t watched one Superbowl, NBA Final, World Series, or Stanley Cup finals game in that time. I may hear about things going on in any of those league in my car each day, but whatever is being said I’m only mildly interested in, listening to sports talk radio is just something to have on, instead of silence, when I’m not wanting to listen to music. Like how Bostonians (is that the word?) are up in arms regarding the conduct of the Red Sox players. I heard about on the radio, but I really had no interest in any of it, it doesn’t matter to me.

Like I said UMD may be the exception, I may still label myself as a UMD “fan”, but even then I’m not so certain. I get plenty of enjoyment out of it and was very glad UMD won the National Title last season, their NCAA run was amazing. Still, if UMD was to zero wins for the next decade I really don’t think that would matter that much to me, I don’t have any expectations regarding team “performance”. Even with zero wins in a decade, I’d still want to go to games and I can’t see myself being one of the people who would be calling for a coach firing or any such thing.

It’s kind of been a lot of things that are why I’m a lot more mellow regarding sports compared to a decade ago. I’ve come to realize that “relax, it’s just a game” (this one is good too) so it’s not so often that I get worked up about sports anymore. I guess that’s why I’ve come to appreciate NCAA Division II, Division III, and junior hockey; the games are treated as just games, you don’t see the other stuff that you do in D-I or professional leagues.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I am not a “sports fan”, I’m someone who finds sports interesting from time to time.

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Last night I watched Carleton’s women’s football(soccer) team play UW-La Crosse; Ellie Wilson scored in the second overtime for a Knights 1-0 win, Beth Ashinsky got the shutout. 

I picked up Kaelyn and we went to watch it (missed the first half) and Amy showed up after she was done with work (although they both left early, Kaelyn had an accident – she’s still learning to use the toilet).  Not a lot of great chances, but the play was pretty even and both teams came close to scoring a couple of times in regulation (Carleton hit the bar once).

Going to watch either of the Carleton football teams play in the fall is really wonderful.  You sit on a grass-covered hill, with the game going on below you, with the fall-colored trees in the background, and occasional Canadian Honkers flying by.  Really, there’s not much that can compare. 

Sitting there I just couldn’t help thinking that it sure seems that Division II and Division III NCAA athletics is what sports are supposed to be.  It could be just me though, judging from “professional” sports and NCAA Division I attendance.  Division II and Division III athletics is wonderful because:

  • There’s no problem getting to the event – traffic is either non-existent or not really a problem
  • It’s cheap to watch; sometimes it’s free, but even when you do pay you’re not having to worry about cost like when you go to Division I or “professional” sports game (paying for tickets, paying for parking, ticket processing fees, etc).
  • Very little fanatical stuff going on;  people are just simply watching the game, cheering for their team, and it’s very rare you see the “woofing” that happens in the Division I or “profession” sporting events.  Going to a D-II or D-III game you’re a ton less likely to encounter violence than at a D-II or “professional” sporting event.
  • Little to no advertising: Watching the game you are subjected to almost no ads, certainly none of the “that blocked punt was brought to you by Ed’s furniture and firearms.  Just remember if you want a new sofa and are worried about protecting it, come to Ed’s”. 
  • Rivalries/conferences:  Especially with the recent conference changes in Division I (gridiron-)football and hockey, it just seems that the conferences don’t make a lot of sense (Seriously, Colorado is in the Pac-10? What’s “Pac” about Colorado?).  Case in point, the MIAC has 13 schools and every single one is in Minnesota.  Thus traveling to see a road game is much more convenient and the rivalries make more sense.  Heck, in case you are a St. Olaf or Carleton College fan, if you want to see them play an away game you have a 5 minute drive since both teams are in Northfield.

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Here’s the ranks. Not much to say, since I’m very tired tonight (it’s past midnight, don’t ya know?). I will say that since the big schools have bigger budgets and more students you’ll see generally bigger ranks than the smaller schools.

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Decent enough game, but very dull atmosphere as there was very little done by the student sections.

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For the second year in a row the Spuds didn’t have a band. Wonder if they’re playing in Florida again?

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