Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Roots and Earliest memories

Growing up in the heart of Wisconsin in the 1960s and 1970s you didn't hear much about hockey.   I had Minnesota roots, so I heard from there, but I never saw packs of hockey cards in stores, I never saw games on television, until well into the mid-1970s.   No one is to blame for this, the state is lovely, filled with Germans and Poles, cheese, beer, and sausage, and the love of football.    But my father loved a certain football team from Minnesota, and I hated the pressure to choose from the many great teams, or earn my father's approval and follow the Vikings.   I do not say this to complain, my emotional make up is as someone who avoids arguments, dislikes stress, and tries to help others rather than divide people.   (I am an INFJ on this chart.)   So I tended to like the Packers, and NY Jets from that rogue AFL, but didn't watch a lot of football because my father only watched the Vikings, and you couldn't be in the room really, if you didn't support his team.  He was an ardent fan.

So I sought other pursuits.   I played with little plastic men and recreated scenes of war and mayhem.  Lego building was awesome.   And I listened to the radio late at night when I couldn't sleep, which was often.   Sometimes I'd catch games of strange and exciting nature.  That game was called hockey.   But it wasn't until I had my own room in 1978, when we moved to a rural town that was high upon a series of hills, that the radio listening truly was possible.   The signal was amazing, and I listened to games from the baseball Twins who I adored now, and from Montreal, and Quebec, and Winnipeg, and other places I can't really remember.   The games in French from Canada were still quite exciting.   You could follow the action from the sound of the announcer's voice, and you could hear the names as they skated across the ice.   I had begun to follow teams in the sports pages too.   Minnesota North Stars were great, if disappointing.  The Winnipeg Jets were exciting, because they came from that "rogue" hockey league, as some called the WHA.  And I loved the Nordiques, with their French announcers and excitable crowds. 

This led thereafter to my trying to find hockey on television.  Again, where we lived was a high point upon the horizon, so, there were a number of stations that came in somewhat visibly.   Duluth, Minnesota had the only channel that had hockey, and I watched, a number of times, over the weekends, Bulldog hockey.   The visuals weren't as good as the sound, sometimes it was like watching a hockey game with a massive snow storm going on, but, it was, none the less, more than what I had available in my area.    When I chose to go to a real college after my first year at community college I wanted to attend UMD.   It only seemed natural.


  1. I was just wondering about the rivalry of some college teams..where do the Wolverines fit in this? During my first year of teaching at a new school(4th year overall) I had a student who was a heavy set fellow who liked me a lot and at the end of the year gave me his University of Michigan hockey jersey. It was nice...too nice to keep but he insisted. So I have kept it all these years? Are they good? Does UMD beat up on them?

  2. UMD played in the WCHA and U Michigan played in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Collegiate_Hockey_Association the CCHA until recently but the Big Ten is trying to make itself a hockey powerhouse and is trying to get the big names like UMinnesota Gophers, UMichigan Wolverines and others to defect. The Bulldogs play in the NCHC now, and it is a wonderful hockey conference. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota%E2%80%93Duluth_Bulldogs_men%27s_ice_hockey The Wolverines are good though, and I would never poop on them.