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Put a wink by my subject line if you’d like.

I was making some queries in HockeyDB and am kind of amused by this statistic. Of the WCHA members, prior to Bemidji and Omaha joining:

1 Player made it over 500 penalty-minutes in a career: 540 – Jim Archibald North Dakota

>10 Players had over 400 penalty-minutes in a career.
499- Darcy Martini Michigan Tech
487- Marty Schriner North Dakota
473- Matt DeMatrchi Minnesota
453- Chris McAlpine Minnesota
419- Dave Feamster Colorado College
413- Ryan Reynard Colorado College
405- Jason Prokopetz Michigan Tech
403- Pat Micheletti Minnesota
402- Jim Johnson UMD
400- Ben Hankinson Minnesota

So the breakdown by school:
CC- 2
Michigan Tech: 2
UMD: 1
Minnesota: 4
North Dakota: 2

What’s interesting is that many of them were decent scorers as well, with Micheletti leading them all with 269 points.

Probably a sign of how clean the game is now (despite the screaming from the OMG the official made a mistake! people), only 1 of them (DeMarchi) was from the year 2000 or after.

Even more amusing, is that there were 3 players who averaged more than 4 penalty-minutes per game (at least 10 games played):
5.000 pm/game – Tim Harris Michigan Tech (17 GP)
4.364 – Landon Wilson North Dakota (66 GP)
4.024 – Darcy Martini Michigan Tech (124 GP)

[End]

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Both Huskies lost in the WCHA Final Five yesterday. Rats on both accounts. Of course I’ll cheer for UMD now. As much as I dislike to cheer for UMTC, I’d rather they win over the Fighting Sioux since I’d like UMD to get a rematch against UMTC (before NCAAs if they meet there) and UMD seems to do better aginst UMTC than the Sioux.

I don’t have the time to watch the March Madness tourney, but I still take interest in it. I do two brackets. The first is a bracket where I choose who I want to win, so that the championship game would be my most favorite teams from one side of the bracket playing against my favorite team from the other side of the bracket. So my NCAA title game pits Colorado against Montana. We’ll see if that happens.

The second is sort-of similar, since it’s a “who do I want to win” bracket. For this one I choose who I want to win the first round games, then note whether they actually won. Then for the second round I choose who I want to win between the schools who made it through the first round. So if I happen to pick all of the 32 first round games wrong, I still could end up getting 16 of the 16 second round games correct.

So picking who I want to win, it could be I really like a school, I disklike the school I’m choosing against. Or it could be I’m just choosing who I like when it’s two schools I like close to equally (Wisconsin vs. Montana) or choosing the school I dislike more when I dislike the two close to equally (no first round examples, this doesn’t happen much).

Wanted to win and they did:
Kentucky
Iowa State
Indiana
Colorado
Louisville
Marquette
Kansas State
Gonzaga

Wanted to win, but lost:
Wichita State
South Dakota State
Long Beach State
Colorado State
UNC-Ashville
Harvard
Montana
Loyola

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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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I haven’t written in a while, since I haven’t found anything that remarkable to write about.

As far as UMD goes they now are unbeaten in 13
games. That’s pretty darn remarkable streak against any opponent, unless all those games were against Squirt B teams. Apologies to Squirt B teams, maybe there are some out there that can beat UMD, who was the #1 rated team in the country and got 3 points in Madison over the weekend. That 13 game streak also includes 4 road series. Friday UMD never lead and came back in the third for the tie, that tie stopped a string of 7 Ws for the Dogs.

In my personal life things are going good. We just had the Northfield Winter Walkabout on Thursday. It was more bearable than previous years, since the weather wasn’t bitterly cold. We had a fun time going through the streets, with the lone exception being us trying to get Kaelyn’s picture with a walking snowman; she cried even through the snowman wasn’t touching her (makes sense, she’s been scared of Santa, UMD mascot Champ, and other such costumes). After this week we’re off until after Christmas. We’re doing the north-south Minnesota thing, north before Christmas and south on Christmas. Hopefully there won’t be any storms to make the 4 hour trip from north to south terrible.

We bought Kaelyn a good bed. Up until this point she had been sleeping in a crib, with the side off. We bought her a bunk bed, for when she has a friend and/or cousins over. The bunk bed doesn’t have a ladder, but instead has stairs on the side of it, so it’s less likely she’ll fall going from the bottom to the top bunk. She’s only sleeping in the bottom bed for now.

My 2011 Sci-Fi Challenge is over, for whatever reason it runs December to November. I’d say I completed the regular challenge, but that’s being a little deceptive, since I can’t say I read every book from cover to cover (some I stopped around 70 pages). Like the 2011 Challenge there are 3 challenges: Light (read 10 of the 30 categories), Medium (20 categories), and Regular (all 30 of the 30 categories). You can double-count books if you wish. I went through and penciled in books for the categories.

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Had a wonderful weekend "up north". UMD swept Mankato. Both games Mankato didn’t play that bad when you look at the shots, but really the games weren’t that chose. This is really going to be a long season for the Mankato team. After allowing 10 to Denver a month ago, on Saturday they allowed 7 to UMD and 4 of those goals happened in less than two minutes. I would have thought the Mankato coach would have called a timeout after the third, but then again I’m not a NCAA coach.

Saturday afternoon we went down to Duluth from Dad’s house and went to the "festival of trees". Amy said it correctly that it shouldn’t be called the festival of trees since it really was just a craft sale (one you pay to get into). My first 23 or so years were in Duluth. Driving home I had something that hasn’t happened to me before. The ice was so bad on the freeway heading up over the hill and the car ahead of me was going so slow, that my car tires kept slipping on the road so much that my car came to a dead stop on the freeway. It could have been a lot worse, since I was in the middle of the three lanes (the right lane was a turn lane to go into Proctor). Very fortunately there happened to be a snow plow that came within half a minute (or even less) who cut in front of us and threw down some sand that allowed my wheels to make traction and get us going again. Needless to say I’m getting new tires.

Thankfully the weather was better for Saturday night, since….

Saturday night was Kaelyn’s first UMD hockey game. The four of us went (Amy, Kaelyn, Dad, and myself). Kaelyn did wonderful. We went out to eat at Old Chicago before the game. We were placed at a big round table at the top of the stairs, which was wonderful for her, since she could walk around a little bit and also look over the railing at people. Before the opening puck drop I took Kaelyn down to the glass to look. The UMD mascot saw Kaelyn on the glass and skated over. That gave her a little scare, she grabbed tightly on me, but didn’t cry. Kaelyn liked her hockey game and enjoyed watching the students and band, both of which we were just across the aisle from.

After the game she said she wanted "more". Amy said that Kaelyn may have the "sillanpa hockey blood in her".

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I’m enjoying looking through Stadium Journey. Looking through there has me thinking about the whole "NCAA Division I" thing. I’m guessing that what people think of when they think of NCAA Division I athletics, they think of those enormous stadiums. I guess I can appreciate them, but to me it just seems out of whack that for college sports that there’s 6 NCAA football stadiums that hold over 100,000 people. NCAA Division I basketball is better, the biggest only has roughly 25,000 people.

Those are the things that come to mind when thinking about Division I sports. Yet, it’s refreshing to me to see that’s not the case for all of Division I basketball and football. Take for instance the Big West conference. With the exception of Hawaii who is in the process of joinging the conference, the largest capacity basketball arena is UC Davis’ and that is only 8,000 capacity. Santa Barbara’s only holds 5,600, yet it looks wonderful to me.

I guess that’s why I still am holding on to enjoying NCAA Division I hockey, it still feels right now. The powerhouses don’t have the over-sized stadiums. If your school wanted to get into the top five largest capacity ice arenas in NCAA Division I hockey, the capacity would just be over 10,000.

NCAA BCS football is what it is, but for me it’s "too much" of a good thing.


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Not too much has been going on lately in my life. UMD got a sweep last weekend against Anchorage. This weekend Mankato comes to Duluth.

Saturday night will be Kaelyn’s first ever UMD hockey game. We’ll see how that goes; it could be interesting since her usual bed time is 8:00 and it’s pretty rare she’s up later than that, let alone up until 10:00. Still, we’ll try and get her a late nap. Kaelyn has a UMD hockey jersey; we wouldn’t have bought her one yet, but my great friend Rhonda got it for Kaelyn. Still, I’d guess we’ll end up leaving the game early, no big deal if we do.

Love this St. Cloud State "Dinner Time" ad-thing. A SCSU sweep this weekend would be wonderful since 1) I always like to see UMTC lose, 2) I like to see SCSU win, and 3) a SCSU sweep and UMD sweep would put UMD in 1st in the WCHA. Apparently it’s common for UMD fans to not like St. Cloud State, but I personally have never felt that. In fact in my current WCHA rooting priorities, SCSU is third:

1) UMD
2) Michigan Tech
3) St. Cloud State
4) Bemidji State
5) Nebraska-Omaha
6) Wisconsin
7) North Dakota
8) Alaska-Anchorage
9) Colorado College, Denver
11) Minnesota State Mankato
12) Minnesota-Twin Cities

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