Annie Chipman and Lisa Marvin were teammates on North Dakota’s 2016-17 women’s hockey team, the last before UND President Mark Kennedy killed the program. Marvin’s comeback that season from a devastating car accident was chronicled nationally and regionally.
The friendship between Annie and Lisa has carried over to this dramatic season for the Winnipeg Jets.
Annie’s father, Mark Chipman, was the driving force in getting the NHL back to Winnipeg in 2010, and now is co-owner and executive chairman of the Jets. And Lisa is a Marvin from Warroad, which demands that she have a devotion to hockey.
Her grandfather was Cal, the godfather of hockey in the original Hockeytown USA, and her father is Dave, known to all as “Izzy” and the long-serving coach of the Warroad High School girls’ team.
Izzy and daughters Lisa and Layla (all former UND players) were at a Jets game this winter and Mark Chipman was showing them the locker room area at the arena.
“We ran into Dustin Byfuglien and Mark said, ‘Dustin … you know the Marvins,’ ” Izzy said. “And he said, ‘I know the Marvins. All I wanted to do as I was growing up was to hunt, to fish and to play for the Warroad Lakers.’ ”
Byfuglien grew up in Roseau, 22 miles west of Warroad and the archrival for hockey supremacy in the northwest corner of Minnesota. For the most part, the rivalry ends after high school, and many Roseau stars were staples on the Warroad Lakers, the senior amateur team that Cal Marvin orchestrated for 50 seasons from 1947 through 1997.
Byfuglien was 12 when the Lakers folded, and thus had to adjust his career goals. He is now deep into the playoffs in his 13th NHL season, with the past eight as a defensive star for Winnipeg’s second major league version of the Jets.
“We’ve been hoping for a Roseau County matchup in the Stanley Cup Finals — Dustin with the Jets and T.J. [Oshie] with Washington,’’ Izzy said Friday. “And we still have a shot at that after the past few nights.”
The Capitals finally ended their Pittsburgh hex by eliminating the Penguins in six games on Monday, and the Jets offered a tremendous effort with a 5-1, Game 7 thumping of the Predators on Thursday in Nashville.
Roseau has Byfuglien in the Western Conference finals vs. Vegas. Warroad has Oshie in the Eastern Conference finals vs. Tampa Bay. And right now, it’s one big, happy Roseau County.
Jamie Byfuglien, Dustin’s cousin, has been part of the Marvin delegation for several of the regular-season and playoff trips to Winnipeg. Jamie played for Roseau’s 1990 state champions, the last one-class champions in Minnesota high school hockey.
And then Jamie played for the Warroad Lakers, “from 1994 to … well, to the end ,’’ he said.
There is an interesting dynamic in place for NHL fans in Roseau County: Winnipeg has a huge advantage in proximity, since it’s an easy 2-hour drive from Roseau and 2:15 from Warroad. It’s 6 hours, if you choose to obey traffic laws, to the Twin Cities.
Jets vs. Wild in the first round of the playoffs?
Jamie Byfuglien: “There are more Wild fans, I’m sure, but there are also Jets fans because of Dustin, and because of proximity. If you go to Winnipeg for a game now, you’ll be a Jets fan. They are nuts for this team.”
Izzy Marvin: “There are Wild fans here, but not like it was with the North Stars. When Neal Broten [Roseau] was there; I remember riding down with my dad for playoff games, 6 hours or more, talking hockey all the way.
“We had a strong connection with the original Jets, also. Remember, Dave Christian signed with them right after the ’80 Olympics and he was the Jets captain starting in 1981.”
The Western finals start on Saturday night with Vegas playing at Winnipeg. Izzy Marvin and Dustin’s cousin Jamie would love to be there, to enjoy the madness inside and outside, and to discover in person whether the Jets can get back up to speed against the well-rested Golden Knights. Except, there’s a serious complication: Minnesota’s fishing opener. Warroad is located on the southwest corner of Lake of the Woods. That puts it an hour south of the Northwest Angle, the U.S. acreage that must be reached by traveling through Canada.
The Marvins and the Byfugliens have had cabins there for years. Dustin and his family also have a cabin there. He probably would be fishing on Saturday, if not for the longest Jets NHL season ever contested. “I’ll be fishing, and I talked to Izzy, and he said he’s going fishing,’’ Jamie said. “We’ll be off the lake in plenty of time to watch the game.”
Still, the result for Saturday is in: Walleyes 1, Jets 0.