Sportsball provides bright light in dreary MN spring

The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs won an exciting 2-1 showdown with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the NCAA Men’s Hockey National Championship. (PHOTO: UMD Bulldogs)

Northern Minnesota doesn’t know what to do with success. Frankly, it’s an occurrence that seems rare enough these days to ignore outright. But one can’t help but notice that this year, at least as far as local sportsball is concerned, everything is coming up Milhouse.

Gold medal U.S. curling team staffed by Iron Range and Duluth natives? Check.

Gold medal U.S. women’s hockey team and cross-country skiers? Ditto.

A year in which the Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild were all considered legitimate contenders. And the Lynx scored another WNBA championship? Somehow, yes.

Well, let’s add another one to the list.

The University of Minnesota-Duluth mens hockey team won a national championship last Saturday, outskating and outscoring a talented Notre Dame team. I watched in amazement as a Minnesota team maintained consistent physical and mental skill even as it became evident they might win. At no point did they begin to fall apart for seemingly random reasons. They were … good!

Coached by Hibbing native Scott Sandelin, the Bulldogs stayed in control of a tight game. And now they’re the nation’s best. Following their 2011 mens hockey national championship, this small regional university stands among the elite programs in America. Even the pep band managed to turn heads.

No, athletic success might not truly impact the day-to-day lives of Northern Minnesotans. But given another week of an unending winter and the prospect of more snow and cold this week, we’ll take it. Anything good, we’ll take it.

UMD will host a celebration of their national championship at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10 at AMSOIL Arena at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. Doors open at 5. The event is free and open to the public.

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