John's Journal
From Nine Time Zones Away, A Minnesota Hockey Fan Tunes In3/8/2019
A day ago in this digital playground I recounted the story of a gold medal from the very first boys state hockey tournament in 1945. Much of the details came via email, and later that evening another item in my inbox sparked another reminder of how far and wide the hockey tournament's reach extends.

As we all know, KSTC Channel 45 does a world-class job of televising MSHSL state tournaments, and boys hockey is the crown jewel. And viewers who don't have access to the television broadcast can watch the games online via prep45.com.

I have received emails and Twitter messages from viewers far away, including (as mentioned here the other day) Thailand and France. This latest dispatch arrived late Thursday night from someone who was watching the day's final game between Duluth East and St. Thomas Academy.

The first line in the email read: "CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED."

This was a pretty good clue that it was from someone in the military. The message was brief, ending with this: "0745 here, nothing like a little morning hockey in the sun."

More emails were traded, more details were discovered, and this really says something about the appeal of the tournament. Even from a time zone nine hours away from Minnesota, native-born hockey fans want their tournament fix.

The email came from Army Captain John A. Reich, who lives in Duluth and is with an Army Reserve unit in Kuwait. His unit is based in Milwaukee.

He wrote, "Cool thing is, there are a little over 600 Minnesota National Guard Red Bull Soldiers here. So, it's almost like being at home."

He grew up in Montrose, was a hockey manager for the Buffalo High School team under coach Carl Davis and fell in love with the game. He was in the Marines from 1989 to 1993, spending time in Tennessee, San Diego and Japan. He attended St. Cloud State and played pickup hockey, then went to school at Minnesota Duluth.

He wrote that he “followed the UMD women's team religiously because the women DO NOT get the support they deserve.”

John's hockey ties include some big names in the game. Godparents of his children include Reed Larson, who coached in Willmar and Virginia; UMD star and four-time Olympian Jenny Potter; and former UMD player Julianne Vasichek.

He wrote, “Nope, not much of a hockey guy;)”

No surprise here, but John said he is missing his family a ton.

“My wife Crystal (Super Hockey Mom) is holding down the fort with our 4 children, Celeste 12 (goalie), Savannah 7 (probably a defenseman), Anthony John (AJ) 5 (instigator) and Brandon 3 (probably enforcer after dealing with his siblings).”

Our email exchange ended with these final words from John:

Hope this finds you well.
Respectfully,
CPT Reich
368th Public Affairs Detachment
U.S. Army

Tournament Tidbits

--Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin senior Donte Lawson had a special group of kids cheering for him during Friday's Class 1A semifinal game against Mahtomedi. The fans were from the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis, where Donte’s younger brother Dominik has spent a lot of time.

Dominik, 13, recently underwent a third kidney transplant at University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital. But he has been able to join family and friends in watching the Raiders play at state this week.

The friends of Dominik and Donte brought handmade signs with messages that read “Go Donte Go” and “Good Luck Raiders.”

Donte scored the first goal of Friday’s game, which went to overtime before the Raiders’ Ben Troumbly scored the winning goal, his second of the game, to defeat Mahtomedi 3-2.

--Speaking of Greenway High School, there is no town by that name on the Iron Range. The school, located in Coleraine, is named for John Campbell Greenway (1872-1926), one of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders. He oversaw the first mine in Coleraine and raised $100,000 in 1908 to build the school that bears his name.

--St. Cloud Cathedral 6, East Grand Forks 2: The Crusaders advanced to Saturday’s noon state championship game against Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin. Jack Smith led Cathedral with two goals and Blake Perbix had a goal and three assists.

--Eden Prairie 4, Blaine 3: The Eagles used the power play to their advantage, scoring three goals with an extra man during a four-goal second period in defeating the Bengals in the Class 2A semifinals. Blaine opened the game with an early 2-0 lead before the Eagles rallied.

--Edina 6, St. Thomas Academy 3: The Eagles’ victory set up an all-Lake Conference 2A championship game. Eden Prairie and Edina will meet at 7 p.m. Saturday.

--Championship games are televised by KSTC Channel 45 and webcast at no charge by prep45.com

--Third-place games are webcast at no charge by prepspotlight.tv/MSHSL

75th Boys State Hockey Tournament

Class 1A


Wednesday’s Quarterfinals
St. Cloud Cathedral 7, North Branch 0
East Grand Forks 5, Minnesota River 2
Mahtomedi 6, New Ulm 0
Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin 6, Delano 4

Friday’s Semifinals
St. Cloud Cathedral 6, East Grand Forks 2
Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin 3, Mahtomedi 2 (OT)

Saturday’s Championship game
Noon: St. Cloud Cathedral vs. Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin

Class 2A

Thursday’s Quarterfinals
Blaine 4, White Bear Lake 2
Eden Prairie 3, Lakeville South 2 (3 OT)
Edina 4, Moorhead 2
St. Thomas Academy 3, Duluth East 1

Friday’s Semifinals
Eden Prairie 4, Blaine 3
Edina 6, St. Thomas Academy 3

Saturday’s Championship game
7 p.m.: Eden Prairie vs. Edina

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
Eveleth's 1945 Mystery Medal Returns To The State Tournament3/7/2019
Way back in 1945, a few months before World War II ended, a small group of boys traveled south from the Iron Range to Minnesota's capitol city of St. Paul. The Eveleth High School hockey team made history by winning the first high school state tournament in their sport.

The boys from Eveleth won three tournament games at the St. Paul Auditorium, defeating Granite Falls 16-0, St. Paul Washington 10-0 and Thief River Falls 4-3.

The scoring leaders for that squad (and in the tournament) were seniors Wally Grant and Pat Finnegan. Both finished the three games with 13 points; Wally had nine goals and four assists, Pat had eight and five.

The other players on the 11-man roster were seniors Neil Celley, Clem Cossalter, Garfield Gulbranson and Mel Peterson, and juniors Milan Begich, Ron Drobnick, Andre Gambucci, Ronald Martinson and Bice Ventrucci. The coach was Cliff Thompson and the student manager was George Campbell. Celley, Cossalter, Finnegan and Grant were named to the eight-player all-tournament team.

After the championship game, the Eveleth Eleven were awarded gold medals. The medals were small, about the size of an Iron Range thumbnail, hanging from small blue ribbons with pins to attach them to a shirt or a coat.

From there, one of those gold medals traveled a circuitous path to end up in my possession all these years later, and back at the state tournament in St. Paul. In October I received an email from former MSHSL associate director Dorothy McIntyre. Dorothy said a friend of hers, Janet Carpenter, was in possession of a medal that Janet's son, Guy Griffiths, had found in Texas.

Janet is famous in her own right. She was a 1952 Olympian (then Janet Gerhauser), competing in pairs figure skating with John Nightingale. Janet is only the second female Winter Olympian from Minnesota, and she also was an Olympic team leader and Olympic judge. She was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2008.

Dorothy wondered if the MSHSL would be interested in the medal (and a couple others that don't hold quite as much historical significance). She put me in touch with Janet and before long a package arrived in the mail.

I also was able to trade emails with Guy, a graduate of Sibley High School who now lives in Austin, Texas. That's where he found the 1945 medal. Here are email excerpts from him:

"I bought a collection from a man who passed away. They were part of a silent auction at Goodwill. He must have lived here. The man was also military. I believe he played basketball, too. Glad they are in good hands. Pretty special. I recognized the value and had to bring those back to my home state."

Between periods of Thursday's Class 2A boys hockey quarterfinal game between Lakeville South and Eden Prairie at Xcel Energy Center, I displayed the medal and talked about it on television with Tom Hauser on KSTC-TV's in-arena set. Tom, like everyone else who sees the medal, took some photos of it. Little kids and grandparents asked to see it, hold it and be photographed with it.

In an email after the medal's TV appearance, Guy wrote from Texas: "I've bled Minnesota hockey my whole life. Considering my mother's skating accomplishments and being season ticket holders for North Stars and Gophers hockey since 1950, I realized the significance.

"I was privileged to play hockey in Minnesota with Hall of Famers like Phil Housley and Brett Hull. Despite all the greatness, Phil never won a state championship, nor did I! But I got really close once and it was a thrill of a lifetime. Imagine what it would have been like to hoist the trophy. It still makes me feel like a kid. There's nothing like the state tournament. Enjoy."

At this point the story of how the gold medal got from Eveleth to Texas is a mystery. As I said during the TV segment, if anyone in Eveleth or elsewhere can help in solving this riddle, we would be most grateful.

A big thank you to Guy, Janet and Dorothy. And hats off to the Eveleth Eleven.

--To see photos of the 1945 medal and what the 2019 medals look like, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

Thursday's Class 2A Quarterfinals

--Blaine 2, White Bear Lake 0: Cole Hansen had two goals and one assist for the Bengals and Carsen Richels had one goal and a pair of assists.

--Eden Prairie 3, Lakeville South 2 (3 overtimes): Jack Jensen scored the winning goal in the third overtime. Eden Prairie goaltender Axel Rosenlund had 27 saves and Lakeville South's Henry Welsch stopped 63 shots. The tournament record is 65, set by Karl Goehring of Apple Valley in 1996.

--Eden Prairie 4, Moorhead 2: Seven players factored into the scoring for the top-seeded Hornets. Jett Jungels, Liam Malmquist and Delaney each had one goal and one assist, while Mason Nevers had one goal.

--St. Thomas Academy 3, Duluth East 1: The fourth-seeded Cadets held off the fifth-seeded Greyhounds, clinching the victory with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

--Semifinals and championship games are televised by KSTC Channel 45 and webcast at no charge by prep45.com

--Consolation games and third-place games are webcast at no charge by prepspotlight.tv/MSHSL

75th Boys State Hockey Tournament

Class 1A


Wednesday's Quarterfinals
St. Cloud Cathedral 7, North Branch 0
East Grand Forks 5, Minnesota River 2
Mahtomedi 6, New Ulm 0
Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin 6, Delano 4

Friday's Semifinals
11 a.m./ St. Cloud Cathedral vs. East Grand Forks
1:30 p.m./ Mahtomedi vs. Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin

Class 2A

Thursday's Quarterfinals
Blaine 4, White Bear Lake 2
Eden Prairie 3, Lakeville South 2 (3 OT)
Edina 4, Moorhead 2
St. Thomas Academy 3, Duluth East 1

Friday's Semifinals
6 p.m./ Blaine vs. Eden Prairie
8:30 p.m./ Edina vs. St. Thomas Academy

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
Hockey Broadcaster Sloan Martin Aces The Big Test 3/6/2019
Sloane Martin made history on Wednesday, and that's something that has been happening in recent days. Last Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Marney Gellner became the first female to handle play-by-play duties for Minnesota Twins broadcasts, calling spring training games from Florida for Fox Sports North and WCCO Radio.

In downtown St. Paul on Wednesday, Martin made her mark as the first women to do television play-by-play at the MHSL boys state hockey tournament. She worked the first two Class 1A games with Mark Parrish, the analyst for all the 1A games.

It has been a little bit of a whirlwind for Martin (pictured). Last weekend she was in Indianapolis calling a women's basketball game between Indiana and Purdue on the Big Ten Network.

"As soon as the game was over, I drove to the airport and was pulling out my hockey stuff and looking at my notecards," she said after Wednesday's broadcast had ended.

Now a reporter with WCCO Radio, Martin is a Los Angeles native who played basketball at Division III St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. She has previously called girls state hockey tournament games as well as several Prep Bowl football games.

"I always say that I'm so happy to have had an introduction to Minnesota hockey with the girls because that exposed me to the kind of talent that's in this state, the kind of skill that we see," she said. "I felt like I was able to easily slide into things and it wasn't any kind of adjustment because of my three years doing the girls tournament.

"It's open notes but it's a test. But it's not just a test, it's a big one. It's like the bar exam or the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) or something. I really take a lot of pride in being as prepared as possible. Of course it's knowing players, but I think being a reporter myself I'm very big on narratives and storylines and background stories."

During the telecast Martin was informative, excited and stayed on top of the action. She takes pride in being the first woman to call boys state tournament games, and knows the impact this can have.

"It's been very exciting. And to me the most important thing about this is that representation is important. When you have women who are visible in these roles, it's just going to normalize someone occupying this position. And that's the goal with all of this.

"It's not that I would want any attention for myself, and I'm sure (Marney) would think the same way. It's letting more people see this, so it just becomes something that we accept and know is going to happen in the future."

Tournament Tidbits

--The first goal of the 75th annual tournament was scored by St. Cloud Cathedral's Jackson Savoie at 13:25 of the first period in the Crusaders' 7-0 victory over North Branch. A crucial goal for Cathedral came shorthanded by Nate Warner in the second period, making it 3-0. Warner, who finished with a hat trick, missed half the season with an injury. He will play collegiately at Minnesota. He's also a former neighbor of Minnesota coach Bob Motzko, who coached at St. Cloud State prior to this season.

--North Branch is a team without a rink. The Vikings drive 13 miles to use the rink at Chisago Lakes; that's the team they defeated in the Section 5 championship game to earn the trip to state. On many days they met at school to board a bus at 4:20 a.m. and head to practice. No wonder they use the hashtag #NoRinkNoProblem. After the Vikings lost to St. Cloud Cathedral in a game that started shortly after 11 a.m., coach Matt Cottingham was asked if playing early in the day was a factor. His answer (with a smile): "We should have started at 5:15 in the morning."

--St. Cloud Cathedral's enrollment in grades 7 through 12 is 621. According to school officials, 554 of those students were on hand to watch the Crusaders face North Branch.

--In Wednesday's second game, East Grand Forks defeated Minnesota River 5-2. Tanner Mack and Landon Parker each scored two goals for the Green Wave and Jade Reicks scored the Minnesota River goals.

--A common question before and during the tournament has been: Who is Minnesota River? That hockey team is a cooperative program involving five school districts: Le Sueur-Henderson, St. Peter, Tri-City United, Cleveland and Belle Plaine.

--Mahtomedi 6, New Ulm 0: Mahtomedi's goal scorers included senior twins Tom and Joe Paradise, who are grandsons of Herb Brooks. Tom Paradise scored twice, as did J.D. Metz.

--Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin 6, Delano 4: The Raiders advanced to Friday's semifinals with an exciting, back-and-forth victory over the Tigers.

--Delano's school colors are orange and black but many of the fans wore purple to honor 18-year-old Marleena Anna Dieterich, who died in a car accident earlier this month. Tigers coach Gerrit van Bergen and his assistants wore purple ties.

--Online webstreaming of the tournament via prep45.com makes it possible to watch the action anywhere. Two of the most far-flung viewers Wednesday were Tweeting from Thailand and France.

--Best sign in the stands: "I just hope both teams have fun."

--A limited number of tickets for Thursday's Class 2A quarterfinals will be sold at the Xcel Energy Center box office beginning one hour prior to the first game of each session (tickets will go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.). Standing-room-only tickets will be available if reserved seats are sold out.

75th Boys State Hockey Tournament

Class 1A


Wednesday's Quarterfinals
St. Cloud Cathedral 7, North Branch 0
East Grand Forks 5, Minnesota River 2
Mahtomedi 6, New Ulm 0
Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin 6, Delano 4

Friday's Semifinals
11 a.m./ St. Cloud Cathedral vs. East Grand Forks
1:30 p.m./ Mahtomedi vs. Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin

Class 2A

Thursday's Quarterfinals
11 a.m./ White Bear Lake (21-4-1) vs. #2 Blaine (22-2-2)
1:30 p.m./ Lakeville South (14-12-1) vs. #3 Eden Prairie (17-9-2)
6 p.m./ Moorhead (21-6-1) vs. #1 Edina (24-2-1)
8:30 p.m./ #5 Duluth East (18-6-2) vs. #4 St. Thomas Academy (24-3-1)

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
75th Boys State Hockey Tournament/ Class 1A3/4/2019
Wednesday, March 6

11 a.m./ North Branch (19-7-2) vs. #2 seed St. Cloud Cathedral (24-4)

1 p.m./ Minnesota River (20-4) vs. #3 seed East Grand Forks (20-8)

6 p.m./ New Ulm (17-8-1) vs. #1 seed Mahtomedi (21-6-1)

8 p.m./ #5 seed Delano (17-9-2) vs. #4 seed Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin (15-13)
75th Boys State Hockey Tournament/ Class 2A3/4/2019
Thursday, March 7

11 a.m./ White Bear Lake (21-4-1) vs. #2 Blaine (22-2-2)

1 p.m./ Lakeville South (14-12-1) vs. #3 Eden Prairie (17-9-2)

6 p.m./ Moorhead (21-6-1) vs. #1 Edina (24-2-1)

8 p.m./ #5 Duluth East (18-6-2) vs. #4 St. Thomas Academy (24-3-1)