Scoggins: Lakeville coach forms puck-stopping bond beyond nationality

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 14, 2014 - 11:54 PM
hide

Finland assistant women's hockey coach Andy Kent and goalie Noora Raty during team practice on Friday in Sochi, Russia.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Andy Kent was raised from birth in Lake- ville, played hockey for Augsburg College and coaches goalies for the Gophers women’s hockey team. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool Minnesotan.

Now, he’s at the Winter Olympics trying to win a medal with … Finland. Yep, Finland.

He’s the goalie coach for the women’s team, even though the only Finnish words he knows how to say are hi and thank you.

Weird, right? Not to him.

“I really feel part of this team,” he said.

Well, he should. Kent likely could play an integral role in helping Finland accomplish its goal of earning a medal. The Finns play Sweden on Saturday in the quarterfinals.

Kent’s association stems from one person: Finland goaltender Noora Raty, the former Gophers star and one of the top female goalies in the world.

Raty is competing in her third Olympics after finishing her marvelous career in Dinkytown. Finland’s women’s team didn’t have a goalie coach so Raty took the initiative.

“I told my coach, ‘I know one who’s a pretty good guy,’ ” Raty said.

Kent first had to get accredited by the International Olympic Committee. Then Finland’s hockey federation had to sign off. If there was any internal grumbling or hesitation, Kent didn’t hear about it.

“I think Noora pushed pretty hard to get me out here,” he said.

Kent found out right before Christmas that he had a new title — Finnish assistant coach — in addition to serving as volunteer goalie coach for the Gophers women and Augsburg men.

Kent joined the team in Finland for a quick pre-Olympics training camp. He never felt out of place until Finland played Team USA in the Olympic opener. He looked on the ice and saw familiar faces wearing the other uniform, including a few ex-Gophers.

“That’s when it really kind of felt weird,” he said.

That feeling vanished in the heat of competition. Kent seems so comfortable with his new team that he uses “we” and “us” in conversation. The only real obstacle is the language barrier. The coaches and players generally communicate in Finnish, though they speak in English if a conversation involves a specific question or detail meant for Kent.

“There are some meetings where I don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “At the end, I’ll grab Noora and say, ‘Hey, do I need to know anything?’ She’ll be like, ‘Yeah, we have practice at 11.’ ”

It’s obvious those two have a special bond. He calls her the best women’s goalie in the world. She refers to him as her “therapist.” Her faith in Kent’s insight is reflected in how hard she pushed to have him hired as her personal Olympic coach.

“He knows me so well,” Raty said. “Any problems I have, I know where to go.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati 0 Top 5th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Baltimore 0
NY Yankees 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Toronto 1
Philadelphia 0 Top 5th Inning
NY Mets 1
Boston 8 Bottom 2nd Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Miami 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Atlanta 0
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll
Texas - S. Baker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Colorado - C. Bergman 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Oakland - J. Lester 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Los Angeles - D. Haren 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Washington - J. Zimmermann 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 14 2nd Qtr 10:34
Connecticut 0
(6) Jacksonville St 0 1st Qtr 3:28
(8) Michigan State 21
Bowling Green 0 1st Qtr 3:28
Western Ky 7
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Ottawa 3 1:00
Montreal 7
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close