Patrick Reusse: Golfer graces hockey family

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 29, 2012 - 7:33 PM

Allison Micheletti, daughter of former Gophers hockey champion Joe, has carved out a personal and career spotlight in a golf reality show.

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Allison Micheletti, member of a noted Minnesota hockey family and aspiring LPGA player, caused a buzz with a brief relationship with former PGA champion Martin Kaymer.

Photo: Peter Morrison, Associated Press

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Americo and Mary Micheletti raised nine kids in the family home on 29th Street and Third Avenue in Hibbing. There were seven boys, and six were devoted hockey players.

"The only non-hockey player was Jim, brother No. 2," Joe Micheletti said. "He played basketball and college football and was tougher than any of us. When we got home for Christmas, there would be a family boot hockey game in the street. You always wanted to be on Jim's team or you were going to end up with the bruises."

Joe was a defenseman on the Gophers national championship teams in 1974 and 1976. He played 300 regular-season games in the World Hockey Association and NHL. Brother Pat was among the most productive forwards in Gophers history and reached the NHL for 12 games with the North Stars.

Donnie was an outstanding Gopher. Tom played at Harvard in the mid-'60s. Andy was a goaltender at Gustavus Adolphus.

"I don't think we've all been together since our mom's funeral a few years ago," Joe said. "It's not easy to have a reunion. I'd have to count, but there must be 30 nieces and nephews scattered all over."

There is so much family in that generation that there are two Allisons: Donnie's daughter, a freshman hockey player at Providence University, and Joe's daughter, currently appearing with 11 other women on the "Big Break" -- the Golf Channel's popular reality series.

This is "Big Break Atlantis," the 17th edition of the series. The competition went for nearly three weeks and ended in mid-February. Not only was Allison required to sign a confidentiality agreement, so were Joe and Kathy, her parents.

"We can't tell anybody -- even people we could trust," Joe said.

Clearly, that last disclaimer would not include a sportswriter from back home in Minnesota.

The third week of "Big Break Atlantis" will be televised Monday. One player was eliminated in each of the first two weeks: Meghan Hardin, a very attractive 19-year-old from California, and then Shannon Fish, a very attractive 23-year-old from Texas.

Micheletti, 24 and now a resident of Scottsdale, Ariz., appeared to be the very attractive young woman in big trouble in Week 2. "I knew what happened, and I still was nervous watching," Allison said.

"With her record, Shannon was considered one of the favorites. I was as shocked as anyone when she hit a couple of bad tee shots and gave me an opening."

Joe Micheletti's playing career ended in 1982, and he landed a job as the great Dan Kelly's analyst on St. Louis Blues broadcasts. Allison grew up playing hockey against boys in youth leagues in St. Louis.

The family moved to New York in the '90s, when Joe went to work for the Islanders and now the Rangers.

"I was 11 or 12 when we moved -- and that's about the age when boy hockey players resent girls playing against them and start taking cheap shots," Allison said. "I switched to basketball when we got to New York."

Allison was a soccer standout and a point guard with a big-time college future until she blew out a knee. "She went up for a layup and tore the thing apart," Joe said. "Her knee was a mess."

The injury took away some of the quickness that gave Allison an edge on a basketball court. She switched to golf, a game that her father -- as with most hockey players -- played very well.

Allison went to Furman to play golf. As a late starter, she went to Peter Kostis' academy in Arizona after her freshman year and stayed to compete at Arizona State.

Micheletti is dealing with a shoulder injury at the moment, while trying to break in as a rookie on the LPGA futures tour, the Symetra Tour. You can get her view of how that's going by following @Allisonmgolf on Twitter.

A couple of years ago, Allison met Martin Kaymer and became something of an Internet fascination as the girlfriend of the 2010 PGA champion.

"Everybody brings that up," Allison said in a phone interview last week. "We split up a while ago. Right now, I want to focus on my career. It's difficult to do that when you're traveling with someone. It's time to move on."

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon to 4 weekdays on 1500-AM. • preusse@startribune.com

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