Reusse: Gophers-Michigan hockey needs some old-time passion

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 16, 2014 - 12:05 AM

As Don Micheletti can attest, there used to be some vitriol when the U and the Wolverines matched up.

hide

The Gophers’ Justin Kloos tried to crash the net against Michigan in Friday night’s game, the first between the teams as Big Ten members.

Photo: RENÉE JONES SCHNEIDER • reneejones@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Don Micheletti arrived at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1976 to play hockey for the Gophers. As a freshman, he was a teammate with older brother Joe. As a junior in 1978-79, he scored 36 goals and was a big part of Herb Brooks’ third national title team.

Brooks, Neal Broten and others from that championship team were occupied with the U.S. Olympic team in the winter of 1979-80.

Micheletti was back in Minneapolis, serving as captain of the Gophers. He had a cast on an injured ankle for a time as a freshman and on his left knee as a sophomore, yet Micheletti entered his senior season with 99 games played and 54 goals scored for the Gophers.

He suffered a wrist injury in a series at Michigan in early November and kept playing with a splint. Then, at the end of the month, Micheletti reinjured his left knee and was forced out of the lineup.

Don’s return was scheduled for the Jan. 23-24 series vs. Michigan at Williams Arena. Americo and Mary Micheletti, his parents, and younger brother Pat (a Gopher-to-be) climbed in the family’s well-used Lincoln Town Car to make the 200-mile drive from Hibbing to Minneapolis.

“My dad hated having to make the drive — hated being down here,’’ Pat said on Saturday. “We would watch the game and drive right back home.’’

On this Friday night, the Gophers and the Wolverines were out for the early skate, passing and shooting pucks at their ends of the ice.

“There were 100 pucks out there … seriously, maybe 200,’’ Don Micheletti said. “Steve Ulseth loses a puck and, for some reason, Ulseth skates way down to the Michigan end to retrieve the puck.

“The Michigan players start chirping at him, and then he gets a push, nothing much, but I’m the captain, so I figure I better go down there. Then, Dave Richter, Michigan’s 6-5 monster of a defenseman, strokes me on the shin pad with his stick, so I throw the gloves down.

“Back then, nobody wore helmets in the pregame, and you could land clean punches. I hit him with maybe six of my best punches. He wasn’t fazed at all. And then he started. I didn’t know he was a lefty, and he got me good.

“We went up and down the length of the arena, wrestling, throwing punches, for what must have been five minutes.’’

Dick Haigh and Dewey Markus were the officials. They still were in the back of the arena in civilian clothes when alerted of the fight.

“They came out on the ice in their street shoes,’’ Micheletti said. “They were breaking us up and Dickie Haigh was saying, ‘You better not bleed on me, Micheletti.’  ’’

Haigh and Markus gave out game misconducts, which eliminated Micheletti and Richter from both the Friday and Saturday games.

Twenty minutes later, the scratches were being announced to the crowd at the same time Americo, Mary and Pat Micheletti were walking into the arena:

“And for the Gophers, Donnie Micheletti has received a game misconduct and will miss tonight’s game and Saturday’s game.’’

Americo learned that his son, after missing nearly two months because of injury, had been in a pregame fight. “My dad waved us right back to the car and we headed back to Hibbing,’’ Pat said. “He was so steamed at Donnie … my mom said she wanted to ride in the back with me.’’

A Michigan-Minnesota hockey game could stir up such passions in the winter of 1980. Two seasons later, the Wolverines had left for the CCHA. There were showcase games, and four NCAA tournament games (2-2), but a grand hockey rivalry had died.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland 0 Top 1st Inning
Kansas City 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 0 2nd Prd 12:28
Boston 1
NY Rangers 1 2nd Prd 11:16
Philadelphia 2
Ottawa 0 1st Prd 16:33
Winnipeg 0
Carolina 0 1st Prd 16:17
St. Louis 0
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Dallas
Colorado 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is it the right move to replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close