You all know the disclaimers and the drill by now. Clearance Clarence -- the brainchild of commenter Clarence Swamptown -- does not necessarily reflect the opinions of RandBall or the Star Tribune. But it is awesome. Clarence?


The NFL season is over and spring training is more than a month away, so let’s focus on other important things - primarily hockey and body hair:

* Surprising Moments in Minnesota High School Sports History:  Recently we have explored unknown and/or extraordinary moments in Minnesota high school sports history.  To date we have covered the Tier II Hockey Tournament, baseball mouth guards, something called Ringettes, and hockey players wearing pants. This week we cover rock music videos created by Minnesota high school hockey players in the 1980’s that might implode the Youtube if done today.
Hockey Players Used To Be Rock Stars:  It is an irrefutable fact that every single Minnesota high school hockey player in the 1980s looked like Robin Yount. Opaque mustaches and curly mullets littered the ice, and it was tremendous. From the mid-‘80s and into the early ‘90s, possibly sensing that hockey fashion might be at its historical zenith, a local television station decided to permanently capture the soul of that era by means of video transcription. Every team participating in the state hockey tournament during that time was given a television camera and sent back to their schools to make a homemade music video.  These videos were then broadcast on television during the intermissions of state tournament games, and every video was undeniably awesome. After scouring the internet I regrettably cannot find any of these videos online, so I will do my best to describe them with words.  As I remember it, every music video shared a handful of basic elements:
1)      Each music video was a mixture of the team’s in-game season highlights and footage of players lip-syncing and dancing within the school.  Sort of like NHL On The Fly mixed with a Rihanna concert.
2)      An AC/DC song was always used.  Thunderstruck was by far the most popular, followed by TNT, Hell’s Bells, and Highway to Hell.  If a team had black in their colors, they used Back in Black.
3)      During any Angus Young guitar solo a hockey stick was always used as an air guitar. Always. Picture Britney Spears dancing down the hallway in Baby One More Time, but replace Britney and her inappropriate Catholic schoolgirl outfit with Robin Yount in a game-worn sweater and rolled up jeans playing air guitar with his Coffey-pattern Christian Bros. Like I said, pretty awesome.
4)      Blue coverall-wearing shop teachers were prominently featured within every video.  Hockey players love those guys, and vice versa. 
5)      During Thunderstruck’s crescendo, when the background instrumentals fade and all you hear is Brian Johnson’s echoing “you’ve been… you’ve been… you’ve been….”,  every team would use that exact moment to highlight their biggest check of the season. And just as all historical NFL highlights seem to feature flailing Minnesota Vikings, the music videos always had some poor unsuspecting rube from Rosemount getting absolutely destroyed at center ice when THUNDERSTRUCK was finally screamed.
I’m not sure why the music video idea was eventually {redacted}-canned.  Perhaps a school strayed from AC/DC and used a song that just didn’t sit well with the powers that be.  Maybe a rap song shut the whole concept down for good.  Regardless, any link to one of these music videos would be appreciated.
* Growing Up Stinks: I received a very nice watch for Christmas.  It’s steel and heavy and it’s by far the nicest watch I have ever owned. It looks relatively professional and makes me feel like a grownup.  Unfortunately I have astonishingly hairy forearms.   I have only ever seen 3 people with hairier forearms than myself: 1) Ex-Phillie Greg Luzinski 2) Actor/comedian Robin Williams, and 3) [Hilarious but redacted].  Okay, that wasn’t fair - nobody considers Robin Williams a comedian.  Anyway, the watchband links keep pulling out my forearm hair whenever I move my arms. Shaving a 2-inch section of my forearm would be weird, right? Is there some sort of tape I can use on the inside of the watchband?  
* Country & Western Song of the Week: The late Stephen Bruton’s Too Many Memories. BONUS TRACK: Stephen Bruton & Gary Nicholson’s Fallin’ & Flyin’ as performed live by Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett and Elvis Costello.
* “State of Hockey” News:  The proprietor has recently added a couple of terrific new recurring guest posts to the RandBall stable, including Rocket’s Red Glare, a long form version of commenter Rocket’s opinions on the NHL and his hatred of Stu.  I love hockey and wholeheartedly welcome a weekly post dedicated to my favorite sport to play.  That said, I have my own opinions on why so many people have a hard time supporting the Minnesota Wild locally, and supporting the NHL in general.  Most of these reasons have been well-documented:  The division away games are played too late, the division rivalries are watered-down, the rinks are too small, the players are too big and there is too much diving and clutching and grabbing to really open up the sport. With overexpansion and the overuse of the neutral zone trap the league perennially churns out a handful of good teams, a handful of bad teams, and two dozen mediocre teams with identical and interchangeable rosters.  And don’t get me started on our local team’s silly name and precious “State of Hockey” trademark.
Last week the Atlanta Thrashers announced that they have lost over $130 million since 2005.  Obviously those losses are unsustainable. At this time last year, word on the street was that the Thrashers were set to relocate to Winnipeg, a city that lost its NHL franchise in 1996 and would welcome a new team with open arms.  That rumor has been repeatedly debunked, but there is simply too much smoke for there not to be any fire behind the gossip.  More than any single league adjustment, a Thrashers relocation to Winnipeg could improve local interest in the Minnesota Wild. Logistically, it would make sense for Winnipeg to replace the Wild in the Northwest Division to be with the other western province teams. The Wild would move to the Central Division where the time zones are more Wild fan friendly and our old Norris Division rivalries (Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis) would be rekindled.  Columbus would take Atlanta’s spot in the Southeast Division so that all teams there would exist within the Eastern time zone. Done and done. In summary, any move that lets me see a road game end before Fallon’s monologue AND lets me drunkenly shout SECORD SUCKS more than once per season is a good move. Get it done Bettman.
Your thoughts on hockey stick air guitar, forearm hair, and ways to make the NHL more local-fan friendly are welcome in the comments below.

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