Tag Archives: Minnesota

Mariucci Classic Returns in 2019


Courtesy of University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey

NCAA D-1 hockey returns to the ice this weekend for some programs. Minnesota returns to Mariucci Arena to take on Ferris State for a two game series. Alaska will not return to the Carlson Center until after the New Year.

The University of Minnesota did announce the return of the Mariucci Classic for 2019. The post-Christmas tournament, hosted by the Minnesota Golden Gophers, was first held in 1991, but has been on a two year hiatus. The 2019, four team field, will consist of only schools from within Minnesota, for the first time ever. It will also be the first time St Cloud State University and Minnesota State University have competed in The Classic. It will be the third appearance for Bemidji State University.

That looks to be a fun weekend of college hockey.


Hockey Halftime


University of Alaska Nanooks hockey schedule poster 2018-19

We have reached the midpoint of the 2018-19 NCAA Division 1 hockey season. A few teams play this coming week, but the two teams I follow, Alaska & Minnesota, have reached their holiday break.

Minnesota returns to Mariucci Arena at the end of December for a non conference series against Ferris State University, who Alaska recently swept.

The Alaska Nanooks return to the big ice sheet of the Carlson Center next year on January 4th, with a two game series against Northern Michigan.

Happy Hockey Withdrawal.


Saint Paul’s Union Depot


Saint Paul’s Union Depot in 1881

Union Depot first opened along the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1881. Nine railroads joined forces to form the Saint Paul Union Depot Company, they included the Great Northern; Northern Pacific; Chicago, St Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha; Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul, Chicago Great Western; Chicago Burlington & Quincy; Minneapolis, St Paul, Sault St. Marie; Minneapolis & St Louis; Chicago Rock Island & Pacific.


Union Depot in 1889

The original depot was damaged by a fire in 1884 and was rebuilt. By 1888, 8 million passengers went through Saint Paul’s Union Depot, and 150 trains departed daily.
In 1913, the original Union Depot was completely destroyed by fire.


Union Depot today

New construction of the Saint Paul depot was driven by railroad tycoon James J. Hill. Architect Charles Sumner Frost was chosen to design the new Union Depot. Construction began in 1917, but World War I slowed the project considerably. It didn’t help that James J. Hill had died the previous year. The new Union Depot was completed in 1923 at a cost of $15 million. By contrast, the original depot cost $125,000 in 1881.


Inside Union Depot’s Great Hall

As luck and plans would have it, I’ve traveled through Saint Paul’s Union Depot several times over the past year. As a stop on Amtrak’s Empire Builder Line, there is daily service to/from Chicago and Seattle.

In 2010, Union Depot underwent a massive renovation by the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority. 10,000 square feet of Tennessee pink marble floors, walls and columns were cleaned of close to a century of use. The electrical, HVAC, and communications received extensive upgrades. One acre (38,000 square feet) of decorative ceiling plaster was restored. All 63 arched windows were removed & restored. The original oak cabinets, like the one in the photo above, were restored in St Paul, and put back in their original locations, complete with modern screens for train information.

After the $243 million restoration, Union Depot reopened to the public in December of 2012.

There is a small display of Union Depot’s history located near Gate B. Many of the items displayed here were found during the restoration in 2012.

Currently, Amtrak, the METRO light rail, Metro Transit bus service, Greyhound Lines, Jefferson Lines and Megabus all service Union Depot.


The Twin Cities Zephyr in Saint Paul, circa 1935


The Return of The Axe

Minnesota 37, Wisconsin 15

The Minnesota/Wisconsin rivalry is the most played in FBS football. They first met in Minneapolis in 1890, with Minnesota winning 63-0.

On Saturday, the two teams met up for the 128th time. On the line, just like every year since 1948, was Paul Bunyan’s Axe. With a solid win at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, The Axe returns to the University of Minnesota campus for the first time since 2003.

The overall record between the two teams in the border rivalry is 60-60-8.


Golden Gopher Football players with The Axe; Photo credit:(AP/Andy Manis)


Lake Winnibigoshish

Alongside Lake Winnibigoshish in the Chippewa National Forest.

I rarely leave Alaska during the summer, but the fishing is supposedly quite good here. The Boys have already started to make 2019 Spring Walleye Plans.

The weather was incredibly nice for our time in the Chippewa. One day saw temps reach 68F. A campfire was still a requirement. S’mores were on the menu.

It should be noted: The fire was not started, nor fed, the Brazilian Way.


A Map Quest

I’m a map guy. I admit it and I say it with pride. I like to see the whole layout, get the entire picture, as it were. Or, at least as much as one can get, without actually walking the trail.

I was commissioned recently to guide two teenage brothers on their first ruffed grouse hunt in Northern Minnesota. The Boys, aged 13 & 14, are not map guys. Certainly not paper map guys.

The plan was to camp along the shore of Lake Winnibigoshish, and walk the trails of the Chippewa National Forest. My first stop was the ranger station for a decent map.

On the drive up, The Boys had nothing but derision for my paper map fetish. “We can just google map it!”, they claimed over and over.

I tried to explain the need for an actual map. Technology isn’t always reliable, batteries die, charging fails for one reason or another, signal evaporates.

All to no avail. They were convinced that I was a dinosaur.

Upon entering the ranger station, I promptly stated that my only need was a decent map of the forest. I was just as quickly denied of my quest.

“I’m not allowed to sell you a map. It’s not my job, and no one else is here.”

I asked if he had maps available. He answered yes. I saw the evasive map plastered to the wall with a price of $14.96, tax included. A bit pricey, but I offered $15, and the qualified individual could complete the transaction later, upon their return. I received an apologetic no. Getting desperate, I offered $20, but received another negative response.

“It’s not my job. I’m not allowed to sell you a map.”

I wondered if that statement sounded as absurd to his ears as it did to mine.

Then the park employee committed, what I consider, a cardinal sin: “Just google map it,” he says.

It was a dagger to my heart. Now, I wasn’t just angry, but wounded. You know what they say about wounded animals…

The Boys beamed; The Alaskan fumed.

We took two ATV maps that divided the forest. We found them lacking. We also took some specific HWT maps, but found them also lacking. As suspected, we also, at very inopportune times, found the cell coverage to be lacking. But between the three sources, we managed to piece together a game plan, and always managed to find our way out of the woods.

Sadly, The Boys remain sketchy at reading a map, and good luck getting either one of them to fold a map properly.


Deer River Northern Pike

Deer River, Minnesota

A Roadside Attraction Edition:

Not to be outdone by the town of Garrison, Deer River has its own aquatic idol: the lean, mean, northern pike. Although the general consensus of our little band of hunters was that the fish looked more Muskie-like.

Photos were taken of a thirteen year old caught in the jaws of this magnificent carnivore, but they are too gruesome to share here.