I’ve been a hockey fan since the mid-1960’s. In 1967, I bought a copy of the Minnesota North Stars Yearbook. That yearbook had a picture of Bill Masterton, the only hockey player to die as a direct result of an injury sustained in a hockey game. I watched the U of M, then coached by Herb Brooks, win 3 national championships. Those games weren’t broadcast on ESPN. I’m enjoying watching the Minnesota Wild play (and defeat) some of the strongest teams in the NHL.
In short, I’ve got the credentials to prove that I’m a hockey fanatic.
That said, it irritates me when a meddling legislator, in this instance Rep. Ryan Winkler, wants to spend $800,000 to continue the rivalry between the U of M and the University of North Dakota:
Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, introduced a bill on Thursday that would give the University of Minnesota the money if at least one game is scheduled against the University of North Dakota that year.
“We have to maintain that hockey tradition,” said Winkler, who grew up in a hockey family in Bemidji. “I think it’s enough to get the athletics department attention.”
Winkler said he was trying to make a statement with the bill; nothing will happen with it. The two teams faced off in their final conference game on Jan. 19. North Dakota will depart for the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference, while Minnesota will join five other Big Ten teams with hockey programs.
That’s BS. If he just wanted to “make a statement” about keeping the rivalry going, a simple resolution and a press conference would’ve gotten the teams’ attention.
Attaching a dollar amount, especially $800,000, won’t just get the teams’ attention. It’ll get the teams’ hands out with the expectation of getting paid to continue the rivalry.
It’s also likely to stir up some bad blood with St. Cloud State. SCSU’s rivalry doesn’t have the lengthy history that the U of M-UND rivalry has but it’s had some memorable games in its history, starting with the 2-2 tie in the first SCSU-U of M game. Nobody gave
St. Cloud State a chance in that game, which was the first game played at the then-brand new National Hockey Center.
But I digress.
Here’s a suggestion for Rep. Winkler: Quit meddling in collegiate sports. Allegedly, you’re a legislator dealing with serious budget issues. Perhaps your time is best spent figuring out how to save money. Better yet, perhaps you could focus on not spending money this foolishly.
Apparently, Rep. Winkler’s priorities and time management need adult supervision. It’s clear he’s spending too much time focusing on trivialities and not enough time on Minnesota’s priorities.