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HOCKEY NOTEBOOK Rules hinder fashion statements

By Steve Webb

webb@postbulletin.com

There is a new rule this year in high school hockey that requires managers to wear helmets on the bench. That's right, those kind of dorky-looking plastic jobs that the hockey players wear. Now, these helmets look OK in the context of hockey gear, but we will freely admit that they are not going to make anyone happy as fashion wear.

It also brought about a little change in things, especially at Mayo High School. The Spartans have always had girls who kept statistics, but always had male managers.

Until this year. Now Mayo has two female managers for the first time, partly because there was some hesitancy on the part of some of the boys to wear the helmets.

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The girls have gotten around that by doing all their duties before games and between periods and just not going on the bench. So far, it seems to be working.

As, as coach Jeff Whitney explained recently at a Quarterbacks Club meeting, the hockey rink has become a much friendlier place at practice. There is a little more politeness.

Of course, having girls as managers can present problems with locker room access, and the guys have to be more aware when they are changing in and out of uniforms, but overall, it appears the young ladies have broken one more little piece of ground . . .

RUNS IN THE FAMILY?: The athletic genes in a family can come from both parents, as we well know. It's no secret, for example, that Rochester Lourdes senior hockey player Adam Gill's father, Kirk, has been one the city's mainstays as a youth hockey coach. The list of Rochester hockey parents with talented children is long, and any attempt to name them all would be an exercise in futility. You could go way back to the days of Art Strobel and Eric, or Ken Johannson and sons Jim and John.

A look at a Lourdes girls basketball record book that just happened to be laying open in our office shows that moms can contribute to that gene pool as well.

The career leader in steals for the Lourdes girls is Jane Theobald, who is also the mother of Lourdes hockey goalie Dan Smith. She had 329 steals in a four-year varsity career, and also holds the record for a single season at 126. Of course, the Theobald family has done a lot for hockey. Jim Smith, Dan's older brother, is a pro hockey player in France and was an All-American in college.

And Jane's sister, Joanne, is the mother of Johnny Pohl, who is a senior captain of the Minnesota Gophers hockey team. Not to downplay the contributions of the fathers, but we thought this was worth a mention…

; TOUGH STRETCH: Century skaters had better be ready, because they have some work to do. The Panthers, who beat Owatonna 3-2 last Thursday, beat John Marshall 3-1 Tuesday, have to face Albert Lea Saturday and then have a week to prepare for Mayo. That's not an easy schedule. . .

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Century is helped by the return of Ben Sandvik from the injury list. Coach Bruce Frutiger also likes the versatility of forward Kevin Buchholz.

"He's been all over the place for us, playing on different lines," said Frutiger. Buchholz has played center and both wings on three different lines.

"From a player's perspective, you'd probably rather have a spot and call it yours," said the coach.

LEARNINGUNDERFIRE: John Marshall coach Aaron Neurer had to take a player who was a Bantam B forward last year and make him a varsity defenseman this year. To Neurer's delight, sophomore Jake Bosben is catching on pretty well.

"He's one of those coachable kids," said Neurer. "He's sacrificing his body and becoming quite a defenseman. He's upbeat and very aggressive."

HOME AGAIN: Rochester native Jeff Monsrud is the coach of Orono's hockey team, which played Rochester Lourdes here last Saturday. He formerly coached the boys team at Mound-Westonka, which has been a regular at the annual Kiwanis-Wells Fargo Hockey Festival.

TALK ABOUT A TOUGH SCHEDULE: Duluth East's boys hockey team ran into about as tough a stretch as you could get last week. The Greyhounds, after playing in the elite tournament at the Xcel Energy Center over the holiday break, had to play the state's top three Class AA teams in a span of six days.

First, they had No. 2 Roseville, then No. 1 Apple Valley and No. 3 Greenway. They tied undefeated Roseville 2-2 after a scoreless overtime, lost to Apple Valley 3-2 in overtime and beat Greenway 5-2 at the DECC in front of 4,000 fans.

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East may have the toughest schedule in the state. It has already played nine of the top 10 teams, and some of them twice.

For tips or information for Steve Webb's high school hockey notebook, please send e-mail to webb@postbulletin.com

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