Minnesota Hockey Journal

March 2018

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M H J O N L I N E . C O M | M A R C H 2 0 1 8 30 O K, WHEN THAT RED LIGHT COMES ON, DON'T FREAK OUT." That's the advice WCCO -TV announcer Mel Jass gave me before we were about to go live for my first-ever Minnesota State High School hockey tournament. "Most people are going to freak out when they see that red light. And you're going to get nervous, but just remember, when that red light comes on, pretend you're sit- ting across from someone in your own living room and that will put you at ease." He was right. And for the past 54 years I've maintained a sense of comfort on camera every March when I sit in that chair and stare at the red light. In fact, now it invigorates me. You've got to understand, while I'm an adopted son of Minnesota, as a native Canadian, the state tournament was very foreign to me. I still remember sitting in my dorm room during my fresh- man year at the University of Minnesota and talking to my new Gopher teammates. They kept introducing themselves as "All- State" this and "All-State" that. I just kept wondering where "All- State" was and thought, geez how did I even make this team. That first broadcast, I got it. I understood what it meant to be a Minnesota high schooler playing in the state tournament. I under- stood what that tournament meant to the players, coaches, by Lou Nanne Lights, Camera, Lou Final Bu er ) ) ) ) cheerleaders, fans, parents, community and to the entire State of Hockey. Even as major as it was back when I first began, it's nothing compared to today. It continually grew and began to have a broader appeal, more inter- est statewide. It grew to be something that's talked about across the country. People talked about Texas football, Indiana basketball and now they also talk about the state hockey tournament in Minnesota. That's really something. People often wonder what my favorite moment has been in those 54 years of the high school tournament. Truthfully, it's hard to pick just one. There's the Apple Valley and Duluth East five-over- time game in 1996—that was a classic. I'm not so certain that if they had replay today that the Duluth goal didn't go in. There's been so many good players I've seen through the times, so many upsets, you just can't believe it. Most people, especially from the northern part of the state, assume that I cheer for Edina. When my son or grand- son are playing, you're darn right inside I do, but I try to be impartial. I love to see games well-played, and I love the competiveness of it. And I'm excited for another tourna- ment this year. My advice for the boys skating up for introductions—hair flow- ing in the wind—just remember what I was taught, and don't freak out when that red light comes on. "I understood what it meant to be a Minnesota high schooler playing in the state tournament. I understood what that tournament meant to the players, coaches, cheerleaders, fans, parents, community and to the entire State of Hockey." "

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