It's not quite a total hockey blog, but I cover UMD hockey, so I blog about the team a lot, and I watch a lot of hockey during the winter, so I tend to write about it a lot.
We're getting close to that "transition" time, as teams are starting up practices and training camp and all the like. UMD's first exhibition game is two weeks-plus away (Oct. 2), and the home opener is three weeks from the day of this post (Oct. 7).
In advance of those all-important dates, here are a few things to note.
- There will be a huge tailgate party outside Amsoil Arena before the opener against Notre Dame. The plan is to open the concessions inside the building at 5pm, and they'll have live music and that trophy UMD won last year outside. They'd like a big crowd for the event, so you can expect to hear more about it as we get closer.
- UMD has been skating at Amsoil for a couple weeks now, and coaches were able to get on the ice with the players Thursday for the first time. They worked for about an hour.
- For those wondering, the broadcast team for men's hockey remains the same. Check 94xrocks.com for a coverage map of the stations we broadcast on. You can also stream the games on that site.
- Former UMD assistant coach Brett Larson is in town this weekend as part of his new gig. There are two USHL exhibition games at the Heritage Center, as Larson's Sioux City Musketeers battle the Green Bay Gamblers. Games are Friday at 7pm and Saturday at 2pm. The hope is that USHL exhibition games in Duluth become a more regular event.
- The Minnesota Wild open training camp this weekend in St. Paul. Former Bulldog Justin Fontaine is on the 56-player training camp roster. Fontaine starred at UMD for four years before signing with the Wild this spring. I would expect him to start the season in Houston, but you can't rule out the possibility that he'll see time in the NHL this season if things go well with the Aeros. Former North Dakota defenseman Chay Genoway is on the camp roster and likely faces a similar path to the NHL.
- The Wild will play seven preseason games and finish camp with a trip to Duluth. The team is going to spend a couple days practicing at Amsoil Arena Oct. 3-4 and also doing some bonding/team-building. There are no public events scheduled for the time they are here. It's all about bonding before the opener Oct. 8 against Columbus. If anything is added to the itinerary that the public will be invited to, I'll let you know when I know. Promise.