Brad Elliott Schlossman
Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.
- Member for
- 4 years 11 months
A look at the stat sheet may go a long way to explaining UND's slow starts the last three years - none of those teams retained their top two scorers from the previous season. The last time that happened was 2003-04 when Zach Parise and Brandon Bochenski returned for the Sioux. That team started the season 18-2-2. Four years later, UND once again has its top two scorers back. And the talk among Sioux players this week has been surrounding the team's first goal of this highly anticipated season - getting off to a good start.
UND isn't the most veteran team in the 16-team field for the NCAA men's hockey tournament that begins today. But it has a hat trick of coaches who can do far more than teach the intricacies of the game to their players. They can pass on their experiences as players themselves in past NCAA tournaments, lessons that might prove valuable to the Sioux as they battle Michigan on Saturday in the West Regional in Denver.
Maybe I'll come back in my next life as a preacher and follow in the footsteps of my father, uncle and cousin. It seems like a logical step, since I certainly found a congregation of fellow believers after I ripped the quality of officiating in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in a recent column. I heard from readers via e-mail, through the telephone and many who stopped me out in public to voice their anger as well. I was even given a voice on two radio stations to address the subject. I heard from the head cheese himself, WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod.
Chris Chelios has played nearly as many years in the National Hockey League (23) as Robbie Bina is old (24). Yet the former Wisconsin Badger defenseman and the current UND defenseman are forever linked for scoring the most improbable goals I've seen in college hockey, 25 years apart. Both came with their teams skating shorthanded, both traveled at least 170 feet and both figured in victories for their respective teams. Bina's goal came Jan. 27 against Minnesota late in the first period and tied the game 3-3 in a 7-3 Sioux victory.
I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. Sad to say, though, I don't have a choice in the matter. And neither do you, the loyal college hockey fans of Greater Grand Forks and the surrounding area. What I am mad about is the poor officiating we are subjected to at nearly every UND home hockey game. It is truly a mixed bag for us college hockey fans. We are blessed with being able to watch the finest college hockey in the world in the world's finest hockey rink, Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The world slowed down for most of us as we celebrated Christmas and welcomed in the New Year. But when you're a semi-retired journalist as I am, the whole year slows down to a most comfortable pace. It gives one time to be an observer, of the good and the bad. In the world of sports, both shades of that can be found on a daily basis. Take Jonathan Toews, for example, UND's 18-year-old sophomore hockey player who already has played on two Canadian World Junior Championship gold medal-winning teams.
College hockey recruiters spend countless hours each year traveling the back roads in the United States and Canada looking for the next great player. It'll be a bit easier task for UND recruiters later this week when the Little Caesars North America Showcase comes to Grand Forks. There will be 16 teams consisting of players in the 18-and-under age bracket from the United States and Canada in the tournament that will be played out at four different rinks from Jan. 11-14.
In the spirit of the Christmas season, I'm going to tell you about the three greatest gifts the UND hockey program has received, other than Ralph Engelstad's donation of the $115 million arena bearing his name. The three "gifts" were players who came to UND without a cent of scholarship money, steered to the Sioux by former UND players in two cases and by a Hall of Famer in the third. The three are, in my opinion, the greatest "walk-ons" in UND's illustrious hockey history, all of whom played key roles in national championships won by the Sioux.
Miami of Ohio is known as the "Cradle of Coaches" because such esteemed men as Earl Blaik, Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler and Ara Parseghian once coached football there. Southern Cal has been dubbed "Tailback U" because five Heisman Trophy winners, Reggie Bush, Marcus Allen, Charles White, O.J. Simpson and Mike Garrett, played that position for the Trojans. We here in Grand Forks don't have to take a back seat, folks.
For those of us who make a living writing about sports, defining greatness can be as fleeting as the transition from fall to winter. It's here one day, gone the next. I saw greatness stand the test of time recently when the 1982 UND hockey team was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame. That a dozen players off that national championship team went on to play in the National Hockey League attests to their individual brilliance.