Thursday, November 20, 2008

The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers

Magness Arena, November 21-22, 2008
(above) Mariucci Arena is the crown jewel of hockey palaces in the "State Of Hockey"

The No. 10 Denver Pioneers (6-4-1, 4-3-1 WCHA) return to Denver host the No. 1 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in WCHA action on Nov. 21-22 at Magness Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:37 p.m. MT on Friday and 7:07 p.m. on Saturday. Both games will be televised live on FSN Rocky Mountain and FSN North (Minnesota).

Minnesota owns a 92-63-12 advantage in Gophers are 38-37-6 against DU in Denver. DU is 5-4-1 in its last 10 games against Minnesota and 2-2-2 in the last six meetings at Magness Arena. The Pioneers have held the Golden Gophers to one goal or less in six of ththe all-time series that dates back to 1951. The Goldene last seven meetings.

Gophers to Watch

The Minnesota Golden Gophers have yet to lose a league game at 5-0-3 in the WCHA after last weekend’s tie (2-2 ot) and win (3-0) over Michigan Tech. The 3-0 shutout was the first of goaltender Alex Kangas’ career at Minnesota. Kangas is probably the second best goalie in the league after CC’s Richard Bachman. Kangas leads the WCHA in overall goals against average (1.84) and winning percentage (.800), while ranking second to Bachman in saves percentage (.936). Junior forward Ryan Stoa, an Avalanche Draft pick, is the leader of the Gophers, and also leads the WCHA with nine goals and is tied for second in overall scoring with 9-7--16. Freshman phenom Jordan Schroeder leads the nation in rookie scoring at 1.40 points per game and Cade Fairchild has added 2-8--10 from the blueline.

About The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (Minnesota, U of M or The “U” (locally) is the oldest, largest and flagship campus of the University of Minnesota system. It sits astride the Mississippi River on two campuses in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Its student body is the fourth largest in the United States according to Fall 2007 statistics, with 50,880 students. As of 2006, the university had sixteen schools and colleges.

In August 2008, US News & World Report's 2009 Rankings placed the undergraduate program of The University of Minnesota as the 61st best National University in the United States.

The university was chartered in 1851, but it did not begin enrolling students until 1857. The original Minneapolis campus overlooked the Saint Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River, but it was later moved about a mile downstream to its current location. The original site is now marked by a small park known as Chute Square at the intersection of University Avenue and Central Avenue. The school shut down following a financial crisis during the American Civil War, but reopened in 1867 with considerable financial help from John S. Pillsbury. It was upgraded from a preparatory school to a college in 1869. Today's campus has buildings on both banks of the river, but the East Bank is the main portion of the campus and covers 307 acres.

About The University of Minnesota Hockey Program
(left) Hockey legends Herb Brooks, John Mariucci & "Badger" Bob Johnson all played for the University of Minnesota

Minnesota is, in my opinion, the important college hockey program in America. While other college hockey programs are important to their state or area, Minnesota has the largest fan base, the largest TV impact, and most importantly, is vital cog for the culture of hockey in America – financing the WCHA through the hosting of the Final Five, maintaining a Big 10 presence of credibility, and enabling the growth of American hockey by setting the bar for the development of hockey in other states.

As such, it is helpful to delve in Gopher history to get a feel for how this came about. Historians Don Clark and Ross Bernstein have written much of the history of hockey in Minnesota, and their work is summarized below with a few additions and edits of my own.

Minnesota, with its thousands of lakes and ponds, was an ideal place for the newly formed game of ice hockey to prosper. Shinny, and organized game, had been played in the state since the Civil War. Ice polo had been popular in St. Paul and Minneapolis since the early 1880’s. It was a matter of time before the University of Minnesota would display an interest in the sport. Such concern manifested itself when the first University of Minnesota team, unsanctioned by the college, was organized in January of 1895 by Dr. H. A. Parkyn, who had played the game in Toronto. Prior to meeting the Winnipeg Seven, the newly formed Minnesota team played three games against the Minneapolis Hockey Club, with the collegians winning two and losing one game.

An early newspaper account of the game:
“The first international hockey game between Winnipeg and the University of Minnesota was played yesterday, and won by the visitors 11-3. The day was perfect and 300 spectators occupied the grandstand, coeds of the University being well represented… Hockey promises to become as popular a sport at the University as football, baseball, and rowing.”

Early 1900s efforts to play hockey at Minnesota were sporadic and the season of 1903 proved to be the last of ice hockey on a formal basis for a period of nearly 2 decades. In 1910 efforts were made to revive the sport and to interest the Universities of Chicago and Wisconsin in the sport, so as to furnish Big Ten Intercollegiate Conference competition. This move met with failure.

After much deliberation the U of M Athletic Board of Control finally adopted ice hockey as a varsity sport for the 1921-1922 season. The team played 10 games, winning seven and losing three. Among the club's defeated were Wisconsin, Luther Seminary, Hamline and the Michigan Mines, while losses were suffered to Hamline and the Michigan Mines. Minnesota challenged the University of Michigan to play for a Big Ten title, but the Wolverines would not meet the Gophers.

Emil Iverson, who later coached the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL would coach the Gophers in the 1920s. Iverson's seven-year stay saw the Gophers win 70, lose 20 and tie 13 games. Captain Frank Pond and goalie Fred Schade led Iverson's first team of 1923-1924 to a 13-1-0 season, while for the following season of 1924-1925 most of the home games were played at the newly constructed Minneapolis Arena, off campus in downtown Minneapolis. Captain Ed Olson led the 1925-1926 Gopher team to an undefeated season by winning 12 and tying 4 games. The 1928-1929 six shared top National honors with Yale as they compiled an 11-2-1 record. During the six seasons of 1923-1924 through 1928-1929 they lost only 10 games, won 75 and tied 11. During this period Minnesota was consistently ranked among the very best in the nation in the day before a national tournament had been conceived.

During the 1920s the Gophers played their games at a variety of rinks, including an outdoor facility located on the campus. Early in the decade games were played at the Minneapolis Coliseum, while later many games were played at the large natural ice surface at the Hippodrome at the State Fairgrounds. While the opening of the Minneapolis Arena, which possessed artificial ice, in late 1924, the Gopher home games were played there or at the Hippodrome. A large number of Gopher players during this era came from Minneapolis, with fewer from St. Paul, Duluth and the Iron Range.

Frank Pond, a native of Two Harbors, who had captained the 1923-1924 team to a 13-1-0 record, was appointed Gopher coach in the fall of 1930. During his five-year tenure at Minnesota, he iced strong teams in 1931-1932, and 1932-1933, and 1933-1934. During the three-year period, the Gophers won 34, lost 8 and tied 1.

The 1932-1933 team, captained by a Marsh Ryman, who later became Athletic Director at Minnesota - was the first Minnesota team to meet a team from the east when they lost to formidable Harvard 7-6 in Boston. Ponds five-year stay resulted in a 46-21-4 record for a winning percentage of .676%.

Larry Armstrong, a well-known Canadian athlete and former St. Paul Saints mentor, took over the coaching duties at Minnesota for the 1935-1936 season. Armstrong held the Gopher coaching spot for 12 seasons.

Armstrong’s record was 125-55-11 for a winning percentage of .681%. He suffered only one losing campaign, that of 1937-1938. With Bud Wilkinson, later to become the famous Oklahoma football coach, was in the nets when the Gophers defeated the University of Manitoba in 1937 for the first time in 11 seasons.

In 1938 and 1939 the Gophers lost all four games played against the University of Southern California, probably the best college team in the country at that time. The previous three seasons prior to World War II (1938-1939, 1939-1940 and 1940-1941) the Gophers posted a 46-9-2 record. ‘National Championship’ honors were accorded the 1939-1940 team as they won 18 games and finished the season undefeated. Among their college victims were Michigan, Michigan Tech, Illinois and Yale. In the National AAU Championships they defeated with ease the New England All-Stars 9-4 and Connecticut’s Brock Hall 9-1. During the season the team scored 138 goals to their opponents, 25. Led by such performers John Mariucci, the 1939-1940 team was the strongest at Minnesota since the sport was inaugurated at the college in the early 1920s. Mariucci would figure as a dominant Gopher coach later in the 1950s.

During the WWII years the Gophers schedule was curtailed as many colleges did not ice teams as the Government discouraged travel. Minnesota scheduled a few college contests against Dartmouth, Michigan and Illinois, but the bulk of their schedule was against local amateur clubs such as Honeywell, Fort Snelling, Berman’s and Wold Chamberlain and Canadian junior teams from Winnipeg, Fort William and Port Arthur.

Elwyn “Doc” Romnes, a native of White Bear Lake and former Chicago Blackhawk star, followed Armstrong as Minnesota coach for the 1947-1948 season. His best season was that of 1950-1951 when the Gophers compiled a 14-12 record. The team lost several close early-season encounters, but managed to win their last nine games, barely missing a bid to the newly-inaugurated NCAA tournament.

During Romnes’ tenure the newly remodeled Williams Arena was opened for play February 17, 1950 when the Gophers swamped Michigan State 12-1 before a crowd of 3,437 fans. This was the first time that the Gophers had their own arena for practice and games. Known informally as the ‘barn’, Williams would serve as home of the Gophers until 1993. In 1985, Williams Arena was renamed Mariucci Arena in honor of the former Gopher player and coach, John Mariucci, and the Mariucci name would also become the name of the new UM arena constructed in 1993.

Athletic Director Ike Armstrong was not satisfied with Romnes’ five-year record of 53 wins and 59 losses and replaced him with former Gopher football and hockey star John Mariucci for the 1952-1953 season.

By the early 1950s hockey in the state was growing at a fast rate with large youth programs in St. Paul, Minneapolis and Duluth, and increased interest in the newly developing Twin City suburban communities and other are smaller cities in northern Minnesota. This growth, combined with winning Gopher teams during this era, resulted in record crowds at Williams Arena. For the season of 1953-1954 Minnesota led the nation in college attendance by attracting 103,000 fans for 18 home games. Season figures for other WIHL teams were as follows: Michigan State- 10,000, Michigan- 39,000, Michigan Tech-14,000 and North Dakota-54,000. Total league attendance for the following season of 1954-1955 climbed to 312,304.

Mariucci (left), a colorful individual who with his remarks and views was a newspaperman's dream, decided to recruit primarily Minnesota players for his Minnesota teams. With few exceptions the players on its teams during his 13 year stay were natives of Minnesota. In March of 1958 the WIHL dissolved over charges of recruitment of Canadian junior players, as Coach Mariucci did not like Denver and other teams’ practices of the recruiting older Canadian players. There was no league play in the 1958-1959 season, but after the bad feelings had subsided the seven teams regrouped to form the newly named WCHA for the 1959-1960 season.

Mariucci amassed a 215-148-18 record for a winning percentage of .587%. Under his guidance Minnesota was NCAA runner-up in 1953 and 1954, losing in the finals in 1953 to Michigan 7-3. In 1954 the Gophers dumped Boston College 14-1 in the opening game, and lost in the finals to RPI 5-4 in overtime. John Mayasich and Dick Dougherty each scored nine points in the two-game tourney. In 1961 the NCAA Championship was held at Denver, with Minnesota finishing in third place, and the Pioneers taking the NCAA Crown. Minnesota also captured league titles in 1953 and 1954 and placed second in 1961 and 1966, with third place finishes in 1955, 1964 and 1965.

The legendary John Mayasich led the Gophers in scoring for four consecutive seasons -- 1952, 1953, 1954 and 1955. Jim Mattson was the league's leading goaltender in 1953 and 1954. Mayasich and UM goalie Jack McCartan would later play important roles in the success of the 1960 Gold Medal winning U.S. Olympic team. Mayasich was honored by the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as being an outstanding high/prep school hockey player in America during the first half of the present century.

During the 1955-1956 season, Marsh Ryman, captain of the 1932 Gophers, replaced Mariucci as the Minnesota mentor on an interim basis when Mariucci took over the coaching duties of the 1956 U.S. Olympic team and led the USA to a Silver Medal at the Winter Games in Cortina, Italy. Ryman, who later became Athletic Director at Minnesota, coached the Minnesota team to a fourth place finish in the WIHL.

After 13 seasons, Mariucci was fired from coaching duties and took a position with a newly formed Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. Known as the “Godfather of Hockey” in the state of Minnesota, he did more than any other individual to popularize the sport in the state. A much sought after speaker, he gave freely of his time to further advance the game in Minnesota and surrounding areas. He led the Gopher hockey team to national prominence. Attendance at home games increased greatly during his reign. The record crowd for a Minnesota game was set January 18, 1956 against North Dakota as 9,490 fans crowded into Williams Arena. Later the Minneapolis Fire Marshall reduced the allowable attendance in the rink to 7,600.

Glen Sonmor, a former professional hockey player and experienced coach, who at one time had been Mariucci’s freshman coach, became the Gophers seventh mentor. In five seasons plus part of another, Sonmor posted a 79-82-6 record. After he left early in the season of 1971-1972 to join the newly formed Minnesota Fighting Saints of the World Hockey Association (WHA), he was replaced by interim coach Ken Yackel, another former Gopher player.

With a season record 21-12, and a 18-8 finish in the WCHA, the Gophers captured the 1969-1970 season title edging out Denver and Michigan Tech. Goalie Murray McLachlan and the pint-sized Mike Antonovich led the Maroon and Gold to the league championship. In the finals of the WCHA playoffs, Michigan Tech edged the Gophers 6-5 to dash any hopes that they had of going to the NCAA tournament. In 1971 the upstart Gophers, saddled with a losing regular season of 11-16-2, advanced to the NCAA finals at Syracuse before losing to Boston University 4-2. In the semi-final game Minnesota edged Harvard, 6-5.

Former Gopher player Herb Brooks became the eight Minnesota coach when he replaced Glen Sonmor for the 1972-1973 season. Brooks, who grew up in St. Paul, came from a hockey conscious family. His father had been a well known amateur player in the 1920’s and his brother, David, had been a member of the Gophers in the early 1960’s and the 1964 U.S. Olympic team.

In addition to his playing for Minnesota in the late 1950s, he had been a member of five U.S. National teams and the 1964 and 1968 U.S. Olympic Teams, although he was famously the last player cut from the 1960 US Olympic Gold Medal team. Prior to his appointment as Gopher mentor, Brooks had coached Minnesota junior teams and had been an assistant to Glen Sonmor. Having extensive playing experience in European hockey it was only natural that he became interested in the game as played by the Russians and Czechs. He became an advocate of the Russian style of play and the coaching of Anatoly Tarasov. Brooks, who had a degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota, employed some of his learning in this field to motivate his players with the will to win and raised statewide expectations with his tremendous successes.

In his second season, that of 1973-1974, with a 22-12-6 overall record, the Gophers captured their first NCAA title at Boston by edging Boston University 5-4 in the first round and outlasting Michigan Tech 4-2 in the finals. Brad Shelstad was chosen as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while Les Auge and Mike Polich were placed on the All-Tournament squad. During the season Minnesota had finished second in the WCHA race to Michigan Tech.

In 1975, the Gophers won the WCHA with a 24-8-0 mark in the NCAA Tournament held in St. Louis as they defeated Harvard 6-4 behind Warren Miller’s first hat trick. In the finals, UM was flat in a 6-1 loss to Michigan Tech, which had finished second to the Gophers in the WCHA.

The following spring of 1976, the Maroon and Gold won the NCAA crown for a second time in three seasons. In the tournament held at the old DU Arena, Boston University was Minnesota’s first opponent, losing to the Gophers by a 4-2 score in a rough game that produced a serious brawl. In the NCAA final game, Minnesota edged Michigan Tech, 6-4. In the final game Gopher Tom Mohr, a seldom used goalie, replaced a sick Jeff Tscherne in the nets and proved to be the hero of the championship game. Minnesota’s Tom Vannelli, who had amassed two goals and four assists in the two games, was chosen as the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

At the NCAA finals in Detroit in 1979, Brooks led the team to their third NCAA crown in seven years of his coaching at Minnesota by edging New Hampshire and North Dakota by identical 4-3 scores. During the 1978-1979 season, the Gophers had finished second to North Dakota in the WCHA race.

After the Wisconsin Badgers joined the WCHA in the 1970s and their teams became a factor in the league races, a big rivalry built up between the two schools. When the teams met, feelings of the fans ran high and the language employed likewise. In the book “One Goal”, by John Powers and Art Kaminsky, they describe Badger coach Bob Johnson (a former Gopher player in the 1950s) and Herb Brooks as follows: “They'd both graduated from the ‘U’ and both were driven, compulsive people. But there were important differences, too. Brooks was tightlipped, a blunt, and often critical. Johnson was hyperactive, garrulous, and unabashedly boosterish. Brooks was mysterious and enigmatic, always keeping you off base. With Johnson, no guessing was necessary; if you didn't know what he was doing and why, he would tell you-a dozen times.”.

Nine players whom Brooks had coached at Minnesota were selected by Brooks as members of the 1980 Gold Medal US Olympic team. These players were Neal Broten (left), Bill Baker, Steve Janaszak, Eric Strobel, Phil Verchota, Mike Ramsey, Buzz Schneider, Rob McClanahan and Steve Christoff.

Brad Buetow, a Minnesota native who had played under Brooks and was his assistant coach at UM, took over head coaching duties at Minnesota on an interim basis for the 1979-1980 season as Brooks was at the helm of the U.S. Olympic team. Brooks never returned to the Gophers following the 1980 Olympic win, and went on to coach in Europe and the NHL.

With the losses all the Mike Ramsey, Neal Broten, Rob McClanahan, Eric Strobel and Steve Christoff to the Olympics, all of whom had eligibility remaining at Minnesota, Buetow faced a tough job of replacing them. However, the Gophers finished with an overall record of 26-15 with the help of Tim Harrer, who led the WCHA in scoring and set a new school record of 45 goals for the season. In the WCHA playoffs the Gophers defeated Michigan Tech and Colorado College, but lost to Northern Michigan 4-3 in a one-game playoff at Minneapolis, ending any chance of competing in the NCAA final four at Providence, R.I.

With an overall finish of 31-12, Buetow led the 1980-1981 team to the WCHA title. Minnesota then defeated Colgate University by 9-4 and 5-4 scores in the NCAA playoffs, thus allowing Minnesota to enter the NCAA Final Four in Duluth. The highly regarded Gophers outlasted Michigan Tech 7-2 in the opener, but were upset 6-3 in the finals by Wisconsin.

In 1982-1983, Minnesota won its second league crown in three years as they posted a 18-7-1 WCHA finish and a 33-12-1 overall season. A talented group of freshman joined the team including goalie Frank Pietrangelo, Corey Millen, Wally Chapman, Tony Kellin and Mike Anderson. In league playoffs the Maroon and Gold defeated UMD but lost to Wisconsin in the WCHA finals. However, both Minnesota and Wisconsin advanced to the NCAA first round where Minnesota outplayed New Hampshire 9-7 and 6-2. The NCAA Final Four at Grand Forks found the Gophers losing their opening game to Harvard 5-3 and to Providence 4-3 in the consolation contest.

Following the 1984-1985 season Buetow, who never experienced a losing season, and ended his six-year Minnesota coaching career with a 171-75-8 record (.689) - was released from his position by the University of Minnesota Athletic Director Paul Giel, who refused to give any official reason for Buetow's dismissal. Obviously, Minnesota’s failure to win any NCAA Championships since Herb Brooks left in 1979, was a factor in Buetow’s dismissal.

Doug Woog, another 1960s Gopher player took over the head coach position for the 1985-1986 season. Woog would be the Gophers’ coach for the next 14 seasons. Woog, a former junior coach in Minnesota, was also a big believer in Minnesota talent, and most of his teams were also culled from Minnesota’s high schools. Woog’s teams were mostly very successful in terms of wins (.664), WCHA regular season titles (four) and most importantly, he compiled 12 consecutive NCAA appearances from 1985 to 1997. But unfortunately for Gopher fans, none of Woog’s teams were able to win an NCAA title. During the Woog era, opposition fans always respected Minnesota’s success and talent levels, but jeered their seeming inability to win an NCAA title.

Woog’s closest chance for NCAA glory came in the 1989 season, when the Gophers played in the NCAA championship game at the St. Paul Civic Center against Harvard. With both teams full of returning 1988 US Olympic team members, it was one of the greatest NCAA title games in history. Tied 3-3 in overtime with 16,000 Minnesota fans screaming their hearts out, Minnesota’s Randy Skarda came within an inch of a Gopher title when his shot clanged off the goalpost. Moments later, Harvard’s Ed Krayer scored of a faceoff, ending Minnesota’s season and winning the NCAA title for Harvard. Woog also coach Hobey Baker winners such as Robb Stauber and Brian Bonin. Today, Woog is a popular color analyst on Gopher TV broadcasts, which had become a statewide media attraction under Woog’s run of successes. In 1993, Minnesota moved to a new arena (also named for John Mariucci) with 10,000 seats and modern amenities.

But by 1997, Woog’s popularity as a coach had run its course, in large part due to his failure to win a NCAA crown. In 1997, he gave way to current coach Don Lucia, a Minnesota native who had taken Colorado College to the NCAA finals in 1996. In Lucia’s third year (2001-2002), he, along with a superb team of players, did what no Gopher team had been able to do since Herb Brooks – they won an NCAA title. Minnesota won it all on a Matt Koalska overtime goal against Maine, 4-3 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, returning the Gophers to the pinnacle after a generation without an NCAA title. While the predominantly Minnesota-based crowd went delirious inside the arena, outside the arena near the UM campus, Minnesota students and fans were so excited that a riot broke out.

Lucia followed the NCAA title in 2002 with another NCAA Crown in 2003, this time an emphatic 5-1 victory over New Hampshire in Buffalo, NY, giving the Gophers their fifth NCAA title. Gopher Pride had turned to national dominance.

But since 2003, NCAA titles have remained elusive. Lucia has led the Gophers to a pair of WCHA titles in 2006 and 2007, and the Gophers have been in four straight NCAA tournaments, but have not been able to climb all the way back the top. The 2006 team won the WCHA title, but were stunned by Holy Cross in the first round of the NCAAs, and the 2007 squad also won the WCHA title, but lost to North Dakota in the NCAA quarterfinals. Last year’s squad stumbled to a seventh place WCHA finish, but still made the NCAAs.
Minnesota Traditions

Colors: Maroon & Gold
In 1880, the University of Minnesota was preparing for spring graduation. For the previous 29 years, different graduation colors were used every ceremony. In the spring of 1880, President Folwell began a tradition of common school colors at the University. He asked an English instructor, Mrs. Augusta Smith, to select proper colors to use for graduation ribbons and other occasions. She chose maroon and gold, which made a favorable impression on the students and faculty in 1880. As the years passed and without any kind of formal action, maroon and gold became the official school colors.

This famous Minnesota phrase, pronounced SKY-YOU-MAH, is more than 115 years old. In 1884, two Minnesota rugby players, John W. Adams and Win Sargent, tried to think of a fitting team yell. They used the word “Ski”, a Sioux battle cry meaning victory, and combined it with “U-Mah” (representing the University of Minnesota and rhyming with “rah-rah-rah”) to create a team cheer. The phrase stuck and was incorporated into both official school songs, “Hail Minnesota” and more commonly in the “Minnesota Rouser.”

Cheerleading at Minnesota
One of the most visible traditions in sports was born more than 100 years ago at the University of Minnesota. In the fall of 1898, student Johnny Campbell offered to lead organized cheers at football games. Today, the Gopher Cheerleaders are one of the few squads to include ice hockey cheerleaders on skates.

The Gopher Nickname
The Gopher mascot is a tradition as old as the state. Minnesota was tabbed the “Gopher State” in 1857 after a satirizing cartoon, depicting nine Gophers with the heads of local politicians pulling a locomotive, was published. The story was over legislative action for a $5 million railroad proposal in western Minnesota. Later, the University picked up the nickname. Today, the Mascot is known as Goldy Gopher.

The “Golden” Gophers
The “Golden” adjective has not always been a part of the Gopher nickname. During the 1930s, the Gophers wore gold jerseys and pants. Legendary KSTP-AM radio announcer Halsey Hall coined the term “Golden Gophers” in reference to the team’s all-gold attire on the field. From 1932-41, Minnesota compiled an impressive record, losing only 12 games in the 10-year span and winning seven Big Ten titles and five national championships — a true “golden” decade of Gopher football.

The Minnesota Rouser
The “Minnesota Rouser” is one of two official school songs at the University of Minnesota. It was written in 1909 by Floyd M. Hutsell in response to a contest sponsored by the Minneapolis Tribune. The contest was judged by University President Cyrus Northrop and Governor A.O. Eberhart, with the winner receiving $100. The rouser is sung at Gopher sporting events, and Gopher fans have added the spelling of the state name as a flourish at the end of the song.


Minnesota, hats off to thee!
To thy colors true we shall ever be.
Firm and strong, united are we. Rah! Rah! Rah! for Ski-U-Mah.
Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah!
Rah! for the U of M.

M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A! Minnesota! Minnesota! Yay, Gophers!
Famous Minnesota Alumni
Academics and Business

* Saul Bellow, Faculty, English, 1946 - 1976 Nobel Prize in Literature
* Milton Friedman, Faculty, Economics, 1945-1946 - 1976 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences
* Robert Penn Warren – 3 time Pulitzer Prize Winner
* Earl Bakken - invented the battery-powered cardiac pacemaker
* Christiaan Barnard - performed the world's first heart transplant
* Michele Brekke - NASA’s first female flight director
* Walter Brattain - Nobel Laureate physicist, co-inventor of the transistor
* Seymour Cray - supercomputer architect, founder of Cray Research
* Robert W. Gore - inventor of Gore-Tex
* Ancel Keys - nutritionist, inventor of K-rations
* Izaak Kolthoff - "Father of analytical chemistry"
* C. Walton Lillehei - pioneering heart surgeon, inventor of cardiac pacemaker, "Father of open-heart surgery"
* Deke Slayton - astronaut
* Harvey Mackay - businessman, Four time New York Times bestseller author
* Robert Ulrich - Chairman of Target

Arts and entertainment

* Eddie Albert - actor
* Loni Anderson - actress
* Dave Arneson - co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, writer, educator
* Aaron Brown - TV journalist (dropped out)
* Lila Downs - Singer
* Bob Dylan - singer/songwriter (dropped out)
* Henry Fonda - actor (did not graduate)
* Peter Graves - actor
* Garrison Keillor - author
* Jessica Lange - actress
* Kate Mulgrew - actress
* Michele Norris - host of NPR's All Things Considered
* Ron Perlman - actor
* Harry Reasoner - ABC and CBS news anchor and correspondent
* Harrison Salisbury - journalist
* Eric Sevareid - journalist
* Yanni - Grammy-nominated pianist/composer
* David Zinman - conductor


* Marion Barber III - Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
* Bobby Bell - 1983 inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
* Patty Berg - cofounder and first president of the LPGA; three-time Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year
* Randy Breuer- NBA Basketball Player 1983-1994
* Herb Brooks - Ice hockey coach, 1980 Olympic Ice Hockey Coach
* Tony Dungy - pro football player and coach
* Carl Eller - pro football player
* Greg Eslinger - All-American, Center, Denver Broncos
* Paul Giel - College Football Hall of Fame member

* Bud Grant - pro football coach
* Ben Hamilton, - Guard, Denver Broncos
* Kris Humphries - Forward, Toronto Raptors
* Bobby Jackson - Guard, New Orleans Hornets
* Mike Lehan - Cornerback, Miami Dolphins
* Tom Lehman - 1996 British Open golf champion; 1996 PGA Tour Player of the Year
* Laurence Maroney - football player (New England Patriots)
* John Mayasich - Olympic gold and silver medalist at hockey
* Kevin McHale - NBA basketball player
* Karl Mecklenburg - pro football player and Denver Bronco
* Paul Molitor - Baseball Hall of Famer
* Anthony Montgomery, Defensive Tackle, Washington Redskins
* Bronko Nagurski - 1963 inductee to Pro Football Hall of Fame; 1929 first-team all-American on offense and defense
* Leo Nomellini - 1969 inductee to Pro Football Hall of Fame
* John Roethlisberger - Three-time U.S. Olympic gymnast, five-time NCAA champion
* Flip Saunders - NBA head coach
* Bruce Smith - 1941 Heisman Trophy winner
* Matt Spaeth - Current football player
* Terry Steinbach - all-star pro baseball catcher
* Thomas Tapeh - NFL player
* Mychal Thompson - NBA basketball player
* Rick Upchurch - NFL player
* Ben Utecht, Tight end, Indianapolis Colts
* Charles "Bud" Wilkinson - pro football coach
* Dave Winfield - 2001 inductee to Baseball Hall of Fame
* Walt Jocketty - St. Louis Cardinals GM 1995-present
* Glen Perkins - Pitcher for MN TPolitics

* Wendell Anderson – Former Governor of Minnesota, U.S. Senator
* Robert Bergland - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Congressman
* James Blanchard – Former Governor of Michigan, U.S. Ambassador to Canada
* Warren Burger – former chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
* Theodore Christianson – Former Governor of Minnesota, U.S. Congressman
* David Durenberger - U.S. Senator
* Donald M. Fraser - Mayor of Minneapolis, U.S. Congressman
* Orville Freeman - Governor of Minnesota, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
* Geir Haarde - Prime minister of Iceland
* James D. Hodgson - U.S. Secretary of Labor, U.S. Ambassador to Japan
* Hubert H. Humphrey - U.S. Vice President and 1968 Democratic nominee for President
* Eugene McCarthy - U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator, three-time presidential candidate
* Walter Mondale - U.S. Vice President and 1984 Democratic nominee for President
* Wayne Morse - U.S. Senator
* Tim Pawlenty – Current Governor of Minnesota
* Patricia Schroeder – Former U.S. Congresswoman (D-Colorado)
* Harold Stassen – Former Governor of Minnesota, presidential candidate
* Luther Youngdahl - United States District Judge and Governor of Minnesota

About Minneapolis/St. Paul
Minneapolis-Saint Paul is the most populous urban area in the state of Minnesota, United States, and is composed of 186 cities and townships. Built around the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers, the area is also nicknamed the Twin Cities for its two largest cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the former the larger and the latter the state capital.

The area is part of a larger metro area with an estimated population of 3.5 million people in 2006, ranked the 13th most populous in the U.S.

To remind everyone there were actually two cities, people started using the phrase Dual Cities around 1872, which evolved into Twin Cities. Despite the "Twin" moniker, the two cities are independent municipalities with defined borders and are quite distinct from each other. Minneapolis, with its broad boulevards, easily navigable grid layout, and modern downtown architecture, has been referred to as the "first" (i.e. furthest east) city of the American West; Saint Paul, which sports narrower streets laid out much more irregularly, clannish neighborhoods, and a vast collection of well preserved late-Victorian architecture, is considered to be the "last" (i.e. farthest west) of the Eastern cities.[ Also of some note is the differing cultural backgrounds of the two cities: Minneapolis being affected by its early (and still influential) Scandinavian/Lutheran heritage, while St. Paul was touched by its early Irish and German Catholic roots.

Often, the area is referred to as simply "The Cities," both within Minnesota, but generally outside the metropolitan region, and even in the bordering states of Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas. Areas of Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities are collectively referred to as "outstate" by people from the Twin Cities metro area. Today, the two cities directly border each other and their downtown districts are about 9 miles (14 km) apart. The Twin Cities are generally said to be in "east central" Minnesota.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul have competed since they were founded, resulting in duplication of efforts such as building bigger or more extravagantly. Both cities have campuses of the University of Minnesota, and after Saint Paul completed its elaborate Cathedral in 1915, Minneapolis quickly followed up with the equally ornate Basilica of St. Mary in 1926. In the late 19th and early 20th-centuries the rivalries became so intense that an architect practicing in one city was often refused business in the other. The 1890 United States Census even led to the two cities arresting and/or kidnapping each other's census takers, in an attempt to keep either city from outgrowing the other.

The rivalry could occasionally erupt into inter-city violence, as happened at a 1923 game between the Minneapolis Millers and the St. Paul Saints, both baseball teams of the American Association. In the 1950s, both cities competed for a major league baseball franchise (which resulted in two rival stadiums being built), and there was a brief period in the mid-1960s where the two cities could not agree on a common calendar for daylight saving time, resulting in a period of a few weeks where people in Minneapolis were one hour "ahead" of anyone living or traveling in Saint Paul.

The cities' mutual antagonism was largely healed by the end of the 1960s, aided by the simultaneous arrival in 1961 of the Minnesota Twins of the American League and the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, both of which identified themselves with the state as a whole (the former explicitly named for both Twin Cities) and not with either of the major cities (unlike the earlier Minneapolis Lakers). Since 1961, it has been common practice for any major sports team based in the Twin Cities to be named for Minnesota as a whole, with the Twins and Vikings followed by the Minnesota North Stars (1967–93), Minnesota Muskies (1967–68), Minnesota Moose (1994–1996), Minnesota Pipers (1968–69), Minnesota Fighting Saints (1972–77), Minnesota Kicks (1976–81), Minnesota Strikers (1984–88), Minnesota Timberwolves (1989–present), Minnesota Thunder (1990–present), Minnesota Lynx (1999–present), Minnesota Wild (2000–present) and Minnesota Swarm (2005–present). In terms of development, the two cities remain distinct in their progress, with Minneapolis absorbing new and avant-garde architecture while Saint Paul continues to carefully integrate new buildings into the context of classical and Victorian styles

About The Series
While Denver is not a primary rival for the Gophers, Denver is always excited to play Minnesota, as all WCHA teams always circle the Gopher game dates on the calendar as something special. With Minnesota undefeated in league play and sporting the top national ranking, the target is now clearly affixed the Gophers.

The good news for Denver is that the Pioneers are Pioneers are 5-1-1 against ranked opponents and 6-1-1 at Magness Arena this season. The bad news is the DU team lost two games to then unranked St. Cloud last weekend, and may be without the services of Patrick Wiercioch, who has emerged as the Pioneers’ best overall rookie and top defender, who got hurt last weekend.

The speedy Pioneers have averaged 4.7 goals per game in their six wins and 2.0 gpg in their four losses, which clearly shows that DU would love to play run and gun with Gophers. For Denver, the offensive key is Tyler Bozak, who is DU’s leading scorer against Minnesota with 7-3--10 in five career games, but who has been held pointless in his last three games. For Denver to have a chance at points, it’s fairly imperative that he play a key role this weekend.

The Pioneers come into the series with the nation’s seventh best offense (3.45 GPG), but the Gophers are better balanced with the nation’s 10th best offense (3.4 GPG) and ninth best defense (1.9 GPG), as well as much better special teams play – the Gophers are ranked sixth on the power play with 20.8% and the fourth best PK at 93.8%. The Pioneers are not in the top 20 in anything but offense, so DU will need to likely score to be successful. Minnesota’s defense is a good unit, and with the Gopher’s team speed likely equal to that of the Pioneers, goaltending will also be crucial.

On paper, the Gophers are just flat out better than DU is right now, but the WCHA games are played on the ice. I think the Gophers are likely due for at least one down performance this weekend and I think the Pioneers are probably due for a win at home. However, without the DU students (who are on Winter break – DU is on the quarter system) and if Weircioch does not play, DU will have a hard time winning a game this weekend.

Prediction: Split series. Denver wins 3-2 on Friday; Minnesota wins 5-1 on Saturday.


dggoddard said...

I'll go with a DU sweep as usual.

Season results

Swami 6-5

dg 6-5

David Towey said...

Nice article! Correction: in the 2002 National Championship, Matt Koalska scored the *tying* goal with 52 seconds left in regulation. Grant Potulny scored the winning goal on a powerplay in overtime.

Split, Denver on Friday, MN on Saturday.

Hextall for Hobey said...

Never knew they're colors were based off the fall.

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