This is a very bittersweet week on so many levels.
After over 40 years, the UMD Bulldogs will play their final games at the DECC Friday and Saturday against Denver. In my six years (on and off, but mainly on) of calling games, nothing of this historical significance has been put on my plate. It will be a tremendous weekend, and the UMD football playoff game Saturday only adds to the fun.
In addition, things on a personal level are about to change significantly.
Some of you know, but most don't ...
Tuesday will be my last day employed at Red Rock Radio in Duluth. I took the job as Sports Director there in July, not thinking it would be a short-term position. But there come times in life where you have to look seriously at what's in front of you.
In October, I was approached by my other employer -- AOL -- about their vacant NHL Editor position. It's a tremendous career opportunity, and one that I could not pass up, and I eventually accepted their offer after some hemming and hawing over the ramifications.
Over four months at Red Rock, I built what I hope are some long-standing relationships, both with listeners and with co-workers. There are some quality people there, and some very talented people. They get how to make radio in this market work, and I wish them continued success.
I can't say enough good things about Vice President/General Manager Shawn Skramstad and Operations Manager Tom Roubik. Never before in my time in radio have I worked for a GM and OM that give you this much space to do your job. Radio is an intense business behind the scenes, and the effort to make money keeps management types constantly on their toes. They aren't resting on their laurels at Red Rock, but yet Shawn and Tom understand that the best way to get good results is to let their people do their jobs. That means you're not constantly going from meeting to meeting. You actually have time to execute the plan as management lays it out.
In short, anyone who has enthusiasm for radio and sports -- as I do and always will -- would be damn lucky to work for folks like this.
In the end, the opportunity presented to me by AOL -- and its Managing Editor Randy Kim -- was too good to pass up. Not only that, but it struck me as the kind of opportunity that won't come around more than once. If I turned it down now, it may never come available to me again.
Thankfully, Red Rock is allowing me to finish the UMD men's hockey season. The team is off to a great start -- you knew that -- and I'm thrilled to be able to finish the campaign as the Bulldogs prepare for their new beginning in Amsoil Arena.
I'm excited for what lies ahead, but am also sad in way to be leaving the day-to-day radio business. Being on the air so many mornings over the last decade has been a joy, and it always helps to be able to work with great people.
This blog will stay updated, both with UMD hockey news and notes and other nuggets from the world of sports. Check out our work at NHL FanHouse, where we have a rather small but extremely dedicated and talented pool of writers bringing you relevant news and thought-provoking opinion pieces. Things are looking up there, and I hope to help deliver more and more great content to the site.