So this is a post I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to write. The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs have FINALLY won their first NCAA hockey national championship, beating the Michigan Wolverines 3-2 in OT. Saturday night ended a long period of inferiority to the Minnesota Gophers, North Dakota Fighting Sioux, and all the other teams that have won a national title.
I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with this. I wasn’t able to be at the championship game at the X, so I missed out on the crazy celebrations other UMD fans have been relishing in for the last few days. But I have my own unique experience that I won’t forget, thanks to technology.
We were in the beautiful twin cities of Fargo/Moorhead Saturday, where I was able to watch the first two periods of the game on ESPN. As the 2nd period ended in a 2-2 tie, it was time to hit the road on the long drive back to the 55313. I was able to pick up a station out of Fargo that had the national broadcast of the game, with Sean Grandy on the play-by-play. Was a pretty good listen actually. But, as we rolled past Fergus Falls, that station began to fail…and I started to panic. So I hooked up the iPhone, started up the Tune In Radio app, fired up 94X out of Duluth, and prayed that we’d stay in range of AT&T’s sporadic cell towers. That prayer was answered just before Alexandria as I heard Bruce Ciskie call Kyle Schmidt’s game-winning goal. And yes, I was able to keep the car on the road and not wake up my daughter sleeping in her car seat. A handful of fist pumps, a shake of my (Sioux-fan) wife, and a big ol’ smile on my face was enough to celebrate the moment.
OF COURSE I had the DVR going, so I watched the OT at about 1:30 Sunday morning. Even though I knew what happened thanks to Ciskie, seeing it happen was magical. I watched it several times that night, and showed a couple times to my wife the next day. To finally see this kind of thing happen to one of MY teams… Travis Oleksuk’s beauty pass from behind the net…Kyle Schmidt driving the net – burying the puck – and subsequent snow angel dive across the ice…Scott Sandelin’s elation…the pile of ugly-haired Bulldogs at one end of the rink…an arena full of Bulldog fans chanting “UMD! UMD! UMD!”…the entire team gathering to take the traditional trophy picture before it was even presented and Clay Matvick still stuck in the middle of the melee…Jack Connolly tearing up with the trophy. What a great night.
Now…even though I couldn’t be at the game and partake in the celebration on the streets of St. Paul, I’ve seen plenty of it thanks to the Twitter. There are a host of Bulldog fans and even media members who took to Twitter, posting pictures and recounts of the good times. This group of Bulldog fans have been invaluable for me being able to celebrate UMD’s first-ever men’s hockey national championship. Big shoutout to @runwiththedogs, @Maroon_Loon, @jimmybellamy, @RoyMahlberg, @UMDPenaltyBox, @bruceciskie, @patesonskates, and @estromgren. Thank you for being there for me, even though I’ve never met any of you. And to Kristie at BBY for the real-time pictures via text. We are united through technology and this unforgettable team.
Now, to order my championship t-shirt…