Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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Per the Denver Post, George Gwozdecky is no longer the head men's hockey coach at Denver University. The reason given in the story on the web site is that he "resigned."
University of Denver hockey coach George Gwozdecky has resigned, ending a 19-year tenure at the school that included two NCAA championships, the school announced Monday.
The 59-year-old Gwozdecky was scheduled to complete a 12-year contract after next season and told The Denver Post before the season was over that he thought an extension was forthcoming.
DU is the only Division I hockey team to have won 20 games in each of the previous 12 seasons. However, the Pioneers recently lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the past six years.
Gwozdecky compiled a 443-267-64 record with DU.
"We certainly wish George the best in his future endeavors and we are thankful for his 19 years at the helm of our hockey program," said DU vice chancellor for athletics and recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes.
But hockey writer Mike Chambers, who wrote that story, just noted on Twitter that according to a source Gwozdecky was fired.
Grade-A source says George Gwozdecky did not resign. Forced out, terminated, for lack of NCAA success and failure to come to terms 4 ext— Mike Chambers (@MChambersDP) April 1, 2013
Why does it matter? Well, Gwozdecky had a very successful run with the Pioneers -- including NCAA titles in 2004 and 2005, the years immediately after Minnesota and head coach Don Lucia went back-to-back. The Pioneers have made the NCAA tourney five times since then, but they haven't made it back to the Frozen Four. The Gophers, by contrast, have made it to the Frozen Four twice since their NCAA titles. Still, it's somewhat surprising that Gwozdecky was let go, unless his contract extension demands were outlandish. Your thoughts, please, in the comments.
The past 18 years have involved numerous trips to Mariucci Arena, both in a professional and fan capacity. As a regular rube in the stands, let's just say the allegiance shifted.
The greater point, though, is that we have been uniquely situated in a way to see this rivalry for great lengths of time from both sides. Locally, we have Vikings-Packers. This is the best rivalry we know. Gophers-UND hockey? To us, that is the clear No. 2. And sadly, a major chapter in the rivalry is coming to a close.
This has been written about ad nauseam, but now it is far more real. Minnesota and North Dakota played their final WCHA regular-season series over the weekend. They could meet again in the league playoffs or NCAA playoffs (and in subsequent years in the NCAA playoffs), but these were the last guaranteed meetings for a while -- at least 2016-17, when schedules clear up. Minnesota is, of course, joining the Big Ten for hockey next season. While a decent number of local rivals will still be on the schedule, so will Penn State and Ohio State (as well as Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin). And North Dakota will not be. When you boil that down to its essence, it's a shame that borders on a college hockey travesty.
We were fortunate enough to be at Mariucci for Friday's game. After an extremely lackluster first period, the final two showcased everything good about the rivalry: great goals, plenty of emotion and a fired-up overflow crowd.
We're not sure how time will treat the rivalry -- if the two teams will be ultra-charged during any chance future meetings because they are so rare now or if years will dull the edges and make it just another game. What we're guessing is that it just won't be the same -- and that there is a lingering sadness, as there is with all things when you think about the past and it's better than the future.
I have only a handful of true loves in my life, and near the top of this list are beer and hockey. This weekend I had the opportunity to combine these passions into one glorious bar-hopping pond-hockey extravaganza, and it was awesome. Much of the weekend is still foggy, but I will do my best to describe these vague memories through imprecise words and hazy pictures. So here we go: The participants? 6 guys, 1 Chevrolet Suburban, and 1 designated driver. Our destination? Spooner, Wisconsin. Our objective? The 4th Annual Spooner Pond Hockey Tournament.
Each week Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?
I usually like to throw some Twins news into these links, but frankly, it's finally become too depressing. No link that I can share, no joke that I can make, no fiction that I can invent can possibly describe the Twins' season better than two players missing a game because they crashed into each other on the highway. As far as I'm concerned, this goes right to the top of Twins injury lore, up there with the time Marty Cordova injured himself with a tanning bed, and the time that Billy Martin punched out Dave Boswell and the pitcher required 20 stitches. Forget about maybe losing 100 games; this team can't even drive to the airport without something going wrong.
On with the links:
*The refereeing in last week's Florida-Tennessee game was rather, shall we say, spotty. Spencer Hall goes inside the mind of the field judge to find out why.
*Noah Davis at The Run of Play writes an essay about Landon Donovan, a guy who's moved from "frustrating" to "fascinating" in my head. I've watched him through three World Cups now, and I've called him every name in the book along the way, and I'd rate him as probably the best player the United States has ever produced, and I'm not sure I could meet him in person without both insulting him and trying to hug him in the first thirty seconds of this fictional meeting. I think Davis may see this same contradiction.
Over at the Western College Hockey Blog, Chris is asking the tough conference realignment questions. Most of them revolve around questions like "Is the WCHA going to be a minor league?" and "Why does WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod still have a job?"
And finally: as this video clip from EA Sports FIFA 12 proves, realism in video games might have gone too far. (BONUS JOKE FOR ENGLISH SOCCER FANS: It's nice that EA Sports finally introduced the "Falling All Over Themselves" module for Arsenal, isn't it?)
That'll do it for me. Please hang around and enjoy the day of college football. If you're a member of the National Guard, be ready; LSU plays at West Virginia tonight, and if that one turns close and both sets of fans turn angry, America's militias may need to be called into duty.
In every game, there must be a winner and a loser. Some, however, aren't quite as ready to accept that fate.
There is your reinforcement less of the day, accompanied by a photo that could be called "Exhibit A." We spent the better part of last night's Frozen Four semifinal games roaming the lower concourse -- viewing the action from various standing-room spots and mingling with the hockey crowd. Ultimately, it included some very upset North Dakota fans -- including one particular young couple.
The female spent most of the third period texting what we presume were other anxious fans. One of the only times she spoke was when the UND goalie charged out of the net to play the puck in order to prevent a possible breakaway. It worked, though it was a little shaky. And during the exchange, the woman jumped from her seat and yelled something like, "No! Noooooooo! No! What the [redacted] are you doing?!?!" The guy sat silently, nervously. You could tell he was heavily invested. As each third period chance went by without a tying goal in a 1-0 game, his sports fury simmered. Believe us, we have been there.
We have not, however, ever punched a hole in the wall of a public sporting arena (or anywhere else, for that matter). This UND fan cannot say the same. After Michigan scored an empty-netter in the final minute to essentially seal the game, he stood up and pounded the wall high above him. Then he did it again, producing that hole you see in the picture. And then they left.
During the first game, we mingled with several Minnesota-Duluth fans who sweated out a 4-3 victory over Notre Dame after being outshot 15-2 in the final period. A championship for that fan base -- the Bulldogs have never won one, and they have their own tortured mid-1980s history to exorcize -- would obviously be huge. It would also extend quite an impressive run for the athletics program, as the Bulldogs have won 2 of the past 3 Division II football championships. Head football coach and AD Bob Nielson was accepting congratulations from plenty of fans as he stood near the main UMD cheering sections Thursday.
There was a great sense, though, that UMD fans were really hoping to play -- and, of course, defeat -- UND in the title game. For college hockey, for ticket scalpers and for the two RIDICULOUSLY overserved North Dakota fans we stood near very briefly Thursday who might have had a chance to actually remember a Frozen Four game if UND made it to Saturday, that would have been the perfect final.
Instead, we have UMD trying to make history with its first title against Michigan trying to extend its record nine championships to double-digits.
And, of course, we have a hole in the wall.
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