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Currently, the Mudbugs are in 2nd place in the NAHL's South Division and have clinched a spot in the playoffs.

The NAHL's Shreveport (LA) Mudbugs took some time away from the ice to visit the Shriner's Hospital. Pictured in the center holding the young boy is Duluth East grad Alex Spencer.

NAHL DUBBED "LEAGUE OF OPPORTUNITY"

    March 12, 2017
      The February 2017 edition of the USA Junior Hockey Magazine carried, as its featured article, a story on the North American Hockey League (NAHL). With the title “Made in the NAHL”, the article described the success enjoyed by NAHL players as they sought their opportunities at the college hockey level and beyond. It refers to the NAHL as the “League of Opportunity.
Among some of the statistics quoted in the article:

  • Although entering its 41st season, the league’s greatest production of college-ready players has exploded during the past five years, with more than 1,000 players reaching their college dream. The NAHL reached that number early in the 2016-17 season and is on track to exceed a single season record number before the season ends.
  • After the 2015-16 season, 259 NAHL players entered the college ranks, with more than 70% of them playing D1 college hockey.
  • 25% of the 498 freshmen currently playing on D1 teams are NAHL alumni.

     The 24 teams which comprise the league play in four divisions. At the end of the regular season, which ends April 9, the top four teams in each division have a chance to compete for the league’s overall championship – the Robertson Cup. The playoff format consists of a divisional playoff with top four teams in each division meeting in a best of five series. Teams are bracketed based upon their finish in the division. The winners of the semi-final series will face off in a divisional final series, with the winners of that best-of-5 series traveling to Duluth in May to compete for the Robertson Cup.
     Among the current NAHL player rosters are Ashton Altmann, Nick Altmann, Shay Donovan, Luke Dow, Lane Krenzen, Ryan Peterson, Alex Spencer (Duluth); Eric Graf, Ryan Kero, Nate Pionk (Hermantown)  
     For updated information on the NAHL, check out their web site: www.nahl.co

Feb. 10, 2017

     The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced the opening of registration for the 2017 Future Prospects Combines (FPC). 
     
The 2017 set of Combines include five different destinations, which include: Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Minnesota.
     Entering its fourth year in 2017, the FPC will accept applications from all players with birth years from 2001-2004.
     The intent and goal of all North American Future Prospects Combine events is to provide the aspiring hockey player an opportunity to take part in a one-of-a-kind learning experience. Each Future Prospects Combine is designed to maximize exposure, education and experience at grand-scale events. 


2017 Dates:

Friday, March 31st – Sunday, April 2nd in Romeoville, IL (in conjunction with the NA3HL Silver Cup)

Friday, April 21st – Sunday, April 23rd in Middletown, NJ

Friday, April 28th – Sunday, April 30th in Attleboro, MA

Friday, May 5th – Sunday, May 7th in Simi Valley, CA

Friday, May 12th – Sunday, May 14th in Duluth, MN (in conjunction with the NAHL Robertson Cup)

     The selection process will begin in mid-February with confirmation letters being sent to those players selected to participate. For those players not selected at that time, they will be placed on a waiting list. Full refunds will be issued to any registrant that is not selected shortly after the end of each event.
     Operated by the NAHL professional staff and coaches, each Future Prospects Combine is designed to provide a glimpse into a true "NAHL EXPERIENCE". The objective of an "NAHL Experience" is to provide exposure, education and an experience for prospects that strive to advance their hockey development at the junior hockey and college level.


Learn more at http://nahlfp.com

NAHL ROBERTSON CUP COMES TO DULUTH IN 2017

     It's official!  Mark Frankenfeld, President & Commissioner of the North American Hockey League, announced last week that the EDHC will be the site for the 2017 Robertson Cup,,, the symbol of the league's championship. The event takes place on May 11-14, 2017.
    The NAHL is comprised of 24 teams located throughout the United States. Three of those teams (Minnesota Wilderness - Cloquet, MN; Minnesota Magicians - Richfield, MN: Coulee Region, LaCrosse, WI) are in close proximity to Duluth . The Wilderness won the Robertson Cup in 2015.
    For additional information, please click on the "Tournaments" tab.

A NEW LOOK FOR THE HOME TEAM PLAYERS BENCH


The Duluth Northern Stars in action against Mound-Westonka, with the team identification sign & bench sponsor's banner displayed.

     Thanks to a promotional investment by Whole Foods Co-op, Duluth's high school hockey teams now truly have a "home team" bench. When Duluth East played Minnetonka on Saturday, Jan, 7, the team's players bench displayed a sign that highlighted the school's name & logo. There is now a sign for each high school team that will be displayed behind the bench when the team is in action.
     Whole Foods Co-op recently became the sponsor for the signs to place special emphasis on having a home rink advantage"for the teams. While it's unlikely that anyone was confused as to which team was which, having the team's name on the bench is like  each team having its own identity. 
     "With three high school teams sharing the rink, it's always been challenging to have an individual identity for each one," commented EDHC's Community Relations Associate Ken Kolquist. "When the folks from Whole Foods Co-op selected us as a business promotional partner, they were attracted by the home team bench and helped us find a solution. We're very proud to have  the Whole Foods Co-op on board."

AND WHAT A "FRENZY" IT WAS!


Perkin's "Cool Cookie" contestant take a photo op with the event's sponsor, Sean Flaherty of Perkin's Restaurants (kneeling) and the EDHC's Ken Kolquist..

     On Thursday, January 12, 2017, Sill Arena was nearly bursting at the seams as fans gathered to watch the Perkin's High School Hockey Frenzy. From the time the doors opened, the Frenzy had no “down time” for the fans. In addition to seeing some great high school hockey teams in action, extra entertainment was provided during intermission in the form an  appearance by “Too Tall Ike”, the world’s tallest ice skater and by the high school students themselves who the Perkins “Cool Cookie” contest.
     In the game action, Hermantown, the no. 1 ranked Class 7A high school in the state, bested the host Denfeld Hunters by a 5-1 score and Duluth East, ranked 13th in Class AA, took the measure of no. 3 ranked Grand Rapids 5-0. 

     Hermantown & East students also prevailed in the Perkin's Cool Cookie contest, with the winning team sharing a $50 cash prize. All contestants received $10 Perkin's Restaurant coupons and a "Cool Cookie" t shirt. 
     The Perkin's Frenzy was shared with the hockey world by television, radio and streaming. Local sports network My9 did the telecast, assisted by iFan (Superior, WI) who also streamed the game. Let's Play Hockey, a hockey newspaper published weekly, also provided streaming while Grand Rapids radio KOZY brought the excitement back to their home market. 

SCHOOL SKATING BECOMES A GREAT CHOICE FOR PHYSICAL EXERCISE (12/22/16)


Youth from North Star Academy enjoy the ice in Sill Arena

     Recently, it seems as though ice skating has become a popular choice for both physical exercise and classroom diversion for elementary school students. 
     On November 23, the 1st grade class from Piedmont Elementary got the chance to don skates and burn off some energy. On December 19, approximately 300 youth from North Star Academy's grades K thru 2  took to the ice, many of them for the first time, followed on December 20 by the 3rd grade classes from Lester Park Elementary. 
     According to EDHC's Administrative Assistant Shari Olson, it's been a win-win situation for both the kids and the EDHC. The ice availability during the school day affords an economical opportunity for the kids, while enabling the schools to supplement their needs to provide more physical activities to their daily regimen. Ice skates  for those not having them are made available through cooperation with the City of Duluth Parks & Recreation Department. 
     For more information on how to schedule skating opportunities for elementary school children, contact Ken at 218-464-1711, ext. 104 or by e-mail at Kkolquist@essentiaduluthheritagecenter.com

EDHC UNVEILS NEW ELECTRIC ICE EDGER


Tom Kowalik (left) and Tom Francisco check out the performance of the new Zamboni electric ice edger.

   The EDHC recently took delivery of a new Zamboni Electric Ice Edger Model EZIII, which will replace the gasoline powered edger currently in use.  With the elimination of the carbon emission that result from gas burning machines, EDHC ice maintenance crews will be able to regularly remove the ice build-up along the edges of the rink, without waiting until the building is empty.  The new edger also has eight carbon blades, twice as many as the current edger, to provide a smoother edge along the dasher boards , while only taking half the time to do the job.
    In addition to the improved ice quality, the elimination of carbon emissions will also enhance the air quality as well.
     The purchase of the new ice edger was made available through funds  received from the James Metzen Might Ducks Grant Program, administered by the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. In addition to the ice edger, other air quality enhancement improvements  will be forthcoming, also funded by the grant. 

UMD ATHLETES INTERACT WITH KIDS/FAMILIES


A "First Timer" gets a skating assist from one of the 60 UMD athletes on hand for the party

       On Tuesday, December 6, over 150 youth & their familes from Laura MacArthur school and their K.E.Y Zone program gathered in Seitz Arena to interact with 60 men & women athletes from UMD, including UMD's mascot, Champ,  for a skating/pizza party.
        Volunteers from UMD's various athletic programs helped the kids lace up their skates and then aided the "first timers" to make their way around the ice. After skating, the entire group traveled over to the Clyde Iron Restaurant for pizza & refreshment. 
         The skating party was made possible through a collaboration of the City of Duluth Parks & Recreational Department, who provided the skates, and the Duluth Heritage Sports Center Foundation, who made the ice available. 
        Judging from the smiles on the faces of the youth, the adults and the athletes, it was a memorable event for all. 

PIEDMONT FIRST GRADERS GET A "TASTE" OF SKATING ON ICE (11/25)

    On Wednesday, Nov. 23, youth from the Piedmont Elementary Schools 1st grade got a break from the classroom for a new phy ed experience...ice skating.
    For many of the kids, this was their first time on ice skates. They got this chance thanks to the efforts of both teachers and parents who wanted to put a new spin on keeping kids physically active.  The activity also included a surprise visit from UMD's mascot Champ who participated in the skating while affording many photo-ops. 
     Skates were furnished for those who didn't have them courtesy of the City of Duluth Parks & Recreation Department. The EDHC also chipped in, offering the ice free of charge.
     The kids thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and it is expected that other schools may soon follow.

IT WAS A GREAT GAME FOR BOTH PLAYERS & FANS

     “There were so many stars on the ice that you could have turned the arena lights off and still needed sunglasses”.              
      That comment came from a fan as he was leaving Sill Arena after watching Team Bordson, led by team captain Rob Bordson, eke out a 3-2 overtime victory over Team Krause and its leader, Adam Krause, in the 2016 Heritage Summer Hockey Classic.
     44 current professional, collegiate and junior hockey players, including 4 women, gathered at the Essentia Duluth Heritage Center (EDHC) on Monday, June 27, to display their talents to raise money for the Ray Peterson Heritage Fund. The Fund helps financially challenged youth to participate in sporting activities or who aspire for higher educational opportunities or seek vocational training.
     The teams were coached by former UMD greats Keith “Huffer” Christiansen (Team Krause) and Pat Francisco (Team Bordson), but the team leaders were responsible for selecting the 22 player rosters. They made their selections from among the player pool using a draft process to keep the teams as equal as possible. The result was 50 minutes of up & down action, in a game with no body checking or slap shots. The contest ended in a 2-2 tie and it took three overtime periods before UMD’s  Ashleigh Briykaluik scored the game winner.
     The game protocol called for one overtime period, followed by a shootout but the teams decided that they wanted to keep playing until one of them emerged victorious. “We were having too much fun”, commented Bordson. “ No one wanted a game like this to end in a shootout and we were ready to play until one team won. Having four lines and 8 defense kept us from getting tired.”
     EDHC president Jerry DeMeo said he couldn’t recall the last time he enjoyed a hockey game so much. “These young people weren’t playing for job security.” commented DeMeo. “They were skating for the fun of it, taking chances, making fancy passes and otherwise making moves that might have gotten them benched in their normal roles. “
     The game was also a crowd-pleaser. The action was fast, the passing was accurate, with stellar defensive play and rock-solid goal tending.
     “This was probably the best collection of hockey talent that we’ll see on one sheet of ice in Duluth this year.” said DeMeo. “If you claim to be a hockey fan and  didn’t see this game, you really missed something!”
      

Sertie Scores Again!

 Duluth's most notable hockey player recently added another "trophy" to his collection...this time it's a world record!
     Mark Sertich, at the age of 93 years, 11 months and 27 days was recently acknowledged as the oldest hockey player ever  to play competitive hockey. Just 3 days prior to celebrating is 94th birthday, Sertie skated regular shifts with the Continental 75's,  a team that participated in the Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament and by doing so, carved a niche in hockey history that may only be exceeded by Mark himself.
     Sertie appeared on national television during the outdoor hockey game between the Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks. As a guest of the Wild, he was interviewed between periods by former Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick, who asked Mark why he wasn't playing golf like others many other senior former athletes. Sertie's response was that he had never played golf but "always intended to take up the sport when he was done playing hockey. He just hasn't got there yet!"
     Mark Sertich can usually be found 2 or 3 days a week participating in the 8 o'clock skate with those much younger than him. But, as the date for the 2016 Snoopy's tournament nears (July 17), he'll likely add a day or two to that schedule. 
     He wants to be in top skating form as he gets set to raise the age bar for hockey as a "life sport" even higher!