A Blast from the Past III

 [December 3, 2008]  For the diehard roundball fans: Just a short clip during warm-ups of the Cardinal opener, focusing on Angela Christianson (although on the voice-over, I initially said “Allie,” huh!). She is a 6’0″ junior who plays guard (well, actually anywhere), though the tallest player on the team.  She led the state in scoring last year as a sophomore at 28 ppg, got 36 this night, and will, I believe, be Alexandria’s first ever (boy or girl?) Division I basketball player.  [Also a good volleyball player – a good cross-training sport.]


[Editor’s note:  Angela did indeed matriculate to a Division I basketball school last year.  And it now appears that our nephew, Michael, will be joining her at Drake next year as a Division I cello player!]


Initially, I have to apologize to Patty Wicken for not getting my “report” in on time this morning.  I wanted to include the Oscar nominated short, but it literally takes hours to upload a 2-minute video onto Google.  And Ruthie and I have reached that stage where we have to sign up ahead of time for access to the computer – she with her scrapbooking and secretarial duties for Douglas County DFL, and me for whatever it is I do on this thing.

So, back to the plot.  BIG night last night at the RCC – girl/boy hockey doubleheader.  Just the kind of event one looks forward to in the middle of January in Minnesota.  The girls played first against Brainerd/Little Falls, a team they had lost to earlier at their place – and we were coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to league leader River Lakes on Tuesday.  The Cards took a 3 – 2 lead into the final period, only to see the new-combo team, the “Flying Warriors,” tie it up and take the lead.  It was beginning to look like another wrenching loss.  But with 10 SECONDS left in the game, senior winger, Brittney Lind, tied the game with a beautiful wrister into the upper right corner.  We were headed to overtime – again.  This time – we won!  Michelle Anez scored her 2nd goal of the game shortly into the OT keeping the Cards in the thick of the conference race.  We were especially proud of our three seniors last night, for the team is otherwise very young.  The Lind sisters, Brittney and Breanna, have long been Super Fan favorites – we affectionately call them the “Hanson brothers” because they have always been our most physical players.  They are both having their best year – and I think they are tied with each other in goals.  Breanna now always looks like one of the fastest players on the ice – I was saying during the game that I thought she was the MVP of the night.  She didn’t score point but had a lot of great rushes.  Brittney is noticeably faster this year – and she has always had a hard shot.  And Megan Trenne also had a goal last night – and has been a solid center on the 2nd line.  Good for them!

Then the video shows the introduction of 11th-ranked Cardinal boys, coming in on an 11-game winning streak – but playing the undefeated and 2nd-ranked Little Falls Flyers.  Little Falls was 7 – 0 in conference and Alex was 8 – 1 (the loss coming at Little Falls, 4 – 3).  This Little Falls team has been the state tournament like 4 years in a row (like our girls team) and have always had the Cards number by about one goal per game over those years.  Well, the Flyers are now an all senior team and are not going down without a fight.  In a great game, the Flyers prevailed again by one goal – 1 – 0, the only goal coming early in the 3rd period on a 2 on 1 breakout.  The Cards came close to tying it with several late flurries but couldn’t get one by the Flyer goalie.  It was a terrific game – probably the game of the day in the state – and was witnessed by a Standing Room Only crowd at the RCC.  We look forward to a rematch – at what will probably be the section finals.

While waiting for computer access, I was reading the Minnesota alumni magazine – specifically, an article titled Panty Raids: A Brief History.  I have no idea why that caught my eye?  Anyway, the article chronicled panty raids of the early 50’s, apparently a nationwide phenomena then.  College guys of the era, feeling their Wheaties (or whatever), at some point decided it would be a good idea to go lingerie shopping in co-ed dorms.  The article went on to point out that law enforcement did not look kindly on the practice, and that such shenanigans basically disappeared until the “streaking” phase of the 70’s, during which my youngest brother achieved a giddy national “exposure” while attending the University of South Carolina.  Nevertheless, I do recall a panty raid during the mid-60’s at the “U.”  I, of course, being an upright citizen (i.e., “chicken”) did not participate, but I remember the armada of guys from our dorm racing cross campus to Sanford Hall.  The co-eds, to their credit, apparently kept their facility from being breeched by hurling the much sought after booty out their windows, thus cooling the armadas vigor and making entry unnecessary.  I do remember the shorter of the Erola brothers (whose name is now lost in the ether of time) returning back to our dorm proudly wearing a pair of panties on his head.  I submit this as a public service to those who have a member of the distaff side in an institution of higher learning (or any institution, for that matter), or soon will have.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=913588434475441365   [Turn volume way up to have full effect of what it was like to be there!]

[February 1, 2009]  Dusty Johnson and Roger Riley (in glasses), Super Fans (and proud sandbaggers in our geezer golf group), were the highlight of the evening last night at the Bemidji hockey games.  The Alex girls’ team is lined up on the left, and the Cardinal coaches (with head coach, Mitch Loch, in front) on the right.  Then they were greeted by the rest of the Super Fans upon returning to their seats.

Unfortunately, the girls’ team couldn’t get inspiration from the guys’ singing performance.  They played the worst game I have ever seen them play.  Their pattern lately has been to play good one game and not so good the next – and they played well against the St. Cloud Icebreakers on Thursday.  Bemidji is a very good team, ranked No. 12 in the state in Class AA, but we have played teams that good before.  The Lumberjacks dominated from beginning to end in a very easy 6 – 0 victory.

The boys were up next (yes, another hockey doubleheader for Ruthie – and she loves it!), so we were hoping for a split on the night.  The boys’ team is having a terrific year and are great fun to watch.  With the possible exception of Little Falls, the Cards are always the faster team.  By the 3rd period, I thought our speed was starting to wear the Lumberjacks down – but the ‘Jacks are good too and it was a game to the very end.  The Cards prevailed 2 – 1 – so we got the split!  Click on the site below for Dusty and Roger’s performance:


 [February 21, 2009]  These are some of the people responsible for the winter addiction of the Super Fans!  These are Alexandria hockey moms, famous in song and story long before the arrival of Sarah Palin.  The cub reporter was able to locate them mingled among the crowd of over 400 at United Way’s Beer and Wine Tasting Gala at Arrowwood last night.  This on the same night that our hockey girls came within one period of their 6th straight state tournament appearance – after holding No. 1 seed Fergus Falls to a 2 – 2 tie after the second period, they lost 4 – 2.  Wait till next year!

From left to right:  Jeanne DelZoppo [Kat’s mom], Martha Williams [Abby, and James and Thomas], Marie Anderson [Ahna Olson], Kim Walsh [Courtney], and Renee Head [Jackie, and Ben].

[May 3, 2009]  The sisters Bruzek:  Before yesterday’s round of golf with Robo and class of ’64ers, President Donley and John Hibbard (I may have had low score, but, as usual, ended up giving each of them a handful of quarters in the polies, greenies, and sandies game), and a late afternoon at the winery for Skilly & Duff, there was the Alexandria Softball Invite.  [You know, when you’re away from home from 9:30 am to after 6:00 pm, it’s almost like having a job!  But then the excitement never ends in Vacationland USA.]  The cub reporter-in-training and I were at Discovery Middle School on a beautiful May morning to cover the action.  Jacque Brown pitched the first game [photos with Kate Gearman, 2nd base, and Sam Dale, right field, behind her] as the Cards handled Minneapolis Southwest 10 – 0 – it was called after 5 innings because of the run differential.  As you will recall from the previous softball report, Sam Dale and Ally Teclaw are the Card power hitters and each homered in the game.  The defense again was flawless – after two games I have yet to see them make an error.  Gracie Bruzek, the shortstop, must have had 8 assists in the game, once making a terrific play in the hole.  Because of previous commitments, we were only able to stay for one inning of the 2nd game against nemesis St. Michael-Albertville.  It was obvious it was going to be a much different game as the Knights have a real fireballer for a pitcher.  Dani Bany [Echo photo] was pitching for the Cards and as this edition goes to press the result of the game is unknown.

But as the subject title indicates, this is about the sisters Bruzek, offspring of Trish and class of ’65er, Bud, who were all at the game.  Each of the sisters have been previously featured on the class blog:  Sarah on March 6, 2004, when she was but a wee lassie; Brittney on January 5, 2006; and Gracie on May 3, 2008.  Brittney was a hockey player and star softball catcher for the Cards; Gracie is a junior and is the softball shortstop and point guard for the basketball team; Sarah, a 7th-grader but already taller than her older siblings, also plays multiple sports.  The family photo is of Brittney, Trish (unfortunately obscured), and Bud, with Sam Dale, No. 16, in the dugout.  The final photo is of Bud chatting with softball moms and players after the game – Ally Teclaw is No. 5.

 [December 17, 2008]  From Rick Beresford this morning: Here’s a picture of the Alex Hockey Team from winter of 62-63 that I found a couple weeks ago. The names are a bit wrong…they have Fred Johnson listed as Neal Jensen and Bill Davis listed as Fred Johnson. But the rest was great to see! I’m going to write a little story about the team and send it to Stan for the blog along with the picture.

[Toft sisters]

[Smurf-line sisters]

[Bud and Brittney]


[August 1, 2009]  Sue, While perusing the archives for Outer Banks photos I’ve had an opportunity to “clean up” some old hockey photos with the new technology that came with our latest digital camera.  Will be sending more as I get to them.  It’s already fun to go back to the good ole days of the Toft sisters.  😉 – Tom

[September 11, 2009]  Super Fans with the Toft sisters (yes, Lee’s nieces) – gotta be a par-tay!!  For the newer fans, Sara and Andrea (from left to right, I think) are obviously identical twins who were always fan favorites because they had spunk, personality – and size!  They were 5’9″ – 5’10” and played on the same line with Courtney Walsh, 6’1″ – so they were quite a contrast to the Smurf line of Abby, Del, and Brittney Bruzek (and then Michelle Anez).  Unfortunately, they graduated two years before the championship year – but got us going and to state every year.  They were key to our all-time favorite game when we beat Totino-Grace, 2 – 1 in double OT, in the section finals in ’06.  Andrea and Sara, on their 18th birthday, scored the goals.  They are now playing hockey for Augsberg.

 [October 23, 2009]  “Alex volleyball v. Brainerd II”:  Continuing our theme of girls sports, it was senior night for the 8 seniors on this year’s volleyball team.  So, of course, we feature a junior in our video – 6′ junior, middle blocker, Sam Trumm who is developing into a dominant player (and will be the center on the basketball team, as well).  The Cards beat Brainerd tonight 25 – 16, -11, -16 to finish a 2nd consecutive undefeated conference season (and champions) at 12 – 0.  I believe that is their 24th conference championship in volleyball.  Jim Hafdal sat with us tonight and recalled the two consecutive undefeated state champion teams from the mid-90’s that would finish 3-game matches in 20 minutes and in the one season never lost a set.

[November 6, 2009] Say hello to your state tournament bound Cardinal volleyball team!  With a sweep of the No. 1-seeded Moorhead Spuds, our Cards are off to the Xcel Energy Center next weekend for the state tournament.  This reporter had to listen to the exciting play-by-play by Dave Harris on KXRA – driving to Fergus at night is a bit much for the over 60 crowd.  Anyway, the Cards made it seem easy by taking the first set 25 – 16.  But in the 2nd, they fell behind 5 – 0, 10 – 1, and 13 – 3, before Jacque Brown ran off a streak of 8 straight serves to get back in the game.  Still the Cards trailed all the way until they finally tied it at 24, took their first lead of the game at 26 – 25, before finally winning 27 – 25 in a great comeback.  The Spuds were still not going away, however, and led most of the 3rd game, too – at one time 20 – 16.  The Cards finally got a lead at 23 – 22, and then Nikki Swedberg, with her only kill of the game, won it 25 – 23!  The Cards had been to the section final each of the last two years but lost both times in terrific matches with St. Michael-Albertville.  Tomorrow we’re off to St. John’s to see if the football team can follow that lead to state against Sartell.

[November 8, 2009]  The following is from Cardinal play-by-play radio announcer, Dave Harris (who properly chastised us!):

We had an illegal procedure penalty called on us before he spiked the ball.  After the penalty on 4th down, Erickson threw a “TD” pass to Whiting in the right corner of the end zone making it 20-18.  On the 2 point conversion, Peterson tried to run wide to the left side and they stopped it about the 2 yard line.  Then, they recovered the onside kick to end the game. 

You have to stay to the end.  Miracles sometimes happen.  🙂

[November 8, 2009] This just in!  We have subsequently been advised that the final score was 20 – 18.  Well, that makes the story even better – ha!  We’re awaiting further explanation as to how this happened.  Your incorrect reporters will admit to leaving the game with 20 seconds left as it’s about a mile walk to the parking lot.  At that time, however, the Cardinals were out of time outs and had just, in their haste to stop the clock, spiked the ball . . . on 4th down!  The CRIT just reported he had heard the score announced as 20 – 18 on TV last night but just assumed they had made a mistake.

[November 8, 2009]  A first hand report from Clemens Stadium, on the campus of St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.  A highly anticipated match-up of the No. 1 seeded Sartell Sabres (10 – 0) against the No. 2 seed Alexandria Cardinals (9 – 1) for the section 8AAAA championship and a state tournament.  The game lived up to its billing – an excellent game between two very good high school football teams.  Sartell won the game 20 – 12, but I, as a very partisan fan, came away with good feelings about our Cards.

As older people, the Cub Reporter-in-Training (CRIT), Bob Annen, and I did not cross the field to join the Cardinal fans in the “visitors” section (see photos and video).  In fact, we were upset when the band left our section and walked enmasse to the other side.  The side we stayed on had seat backs, the concession stands, and, most importantly, the rest rooms.  We were not giving them up just because we were the “visitors.”  Some other, older, Cardinal fans stuck with us on the “good” side.

But, regarding the game, the CRIT and I kept commenting on how well both teams were playing.  No klapdoodle; no dumb penalties; good execution; good, solid tackling.  In other words, not what one generally sees watching most college or pro games.  Sartell came in with a reputation as a power running team – and they did exactly that early on and scored the game’s first touchdown.  But whatever adjustments the Cards made after those first early possessions by the Sabres worked to perfection.  After mid-way through the first quarter, the Sartell ground game ceased to be a factor for the rest of the game.  Unfortuately for the Cards, the Sartell quarterback had an excellent game and must be receiving serious interest at the next level – he’s 6’4″, 195 pounds, with a strong, accurate arm; and it didn’t hurt that he had a 6’6″, 225 pound, wide receiver to throw to – these high school kids now days are as big as the pros!!

The Cards came into the game with a reputation as a big play, big strike team.  To their credit, Sartell did a good job of preventing any big plays by the Cards.  After the Sartell touchdown, the Cards evenutally came back mostly on the power running of quarterback, Colin Erickson.  The game was tied 6 – 6 at the half.

The start of the 2nd half produced two of the best drives you would ever see at any level.  The Cards received the kick-off, and promptly marched the length of the field on an all run drive that didn’t appear to have a repeat of any play – a thing of beauty consisting of sweeps, inside reverses, quarterback keepers, and with sleight of hand so confusing that the touchdown came on about a 20-yard untouched run right up the middle.  The Cards led 12 – 6 and appeared to have momentum.  But Sartell came right back – with their running stifled by the Card defense, they completed 7 consecutive passes for the tying touchdown.  The extra point gave Sartell a 13 – 12 lead.  On their next possession, the Sabres executed a similar drive to take a 20 – 12 lead.  The 4th quarter returned to the defensive struggle of the first half.  The game ended with the Cards driving on the Sartell 20 – with not quite enough time to get the tying score.  Just a terrific game.

 As with the Card volleyball team of the last couple years, the Cards were a “victim” of their section.  Sartell was in it.  In the game played before, for the section 8AAAAA (the biggest schools) title, Brainerd beat Buffalo to go on to state – Brainerd was third in our conference and lost to both Alex and Sartell in the regular season.  Brainerd plays Bemidji in the first game of the state tourney – Alex also beat Bemidji this year.  As they say, them’s the breaks.

Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, it was an absolutely gorgeous day for the 2nd week in November.  As bad as October was – every day 10 – 20 degrees below normal – November has been just the opposite with every day 10 to 20 degrees above normal.  In fact, when I got back from the game, Ruthie and I went to the ballet (Cinderella) that evening without need of even a jacket.  I must admit – after covering hockey scrimmages in the morning and the football game in the afternoon – to nodding off a bit during the ballet, which incidentally drew a full house, mostly of young wannabe ballerinas!

 Alexandria v. Sartell, Section 8AAAA football finals

[Hockey moms]

[Lonely hockey mom]

[December 1, 2009]  Card girls win home hockey opener 6 – 3!

After opening the season with 5 road games, the team finally got to play at home.  And a fine opener it was with a solid 6 – 3 win against a good River Lakes team.  The defense is getting better, and it’s beginning to look like our freshman goalie, Lindsey Lien, could be a real prospect.  I finally got the luck of the CRIT and caught a goal on this video – a power play by Ally Nielsen was the first goal of the game (she would also get another).  Among a fine turn out by the Super Fans (the “older” people photo), were, of course, the hockey moms (and you thought Sarah Palin was cute).  One hockey mom was a lonely jail keeper – on the far side of the ice was Jeanne Nielsen (yup, Ally’s mom) overseeing the penalty box for the evening.


[Ally Nielsen and Abby Williams]

[Beth Rindy, Ally Nielsen, Michelle Anez]

[Meuwissen family from the Echo story about “The Eating Machines”]

[Michelle Anez]

[December 2, 2009]  Super Fan notebook

Man, I have to get some updated photos!  Anyway, talked to Beth Rindy’s dad last night.  He said Beth is not going to play hockey at the next level.  A matter of problematic knees (she wears wraps when she plays soccer).  It’s too bad because as her dad (also a hockey coach) says, she would be the No. 1 or No. 2 defenseman on any team in the state – she has all the tools Ashley has except for the monster shot.  He said at one time she was considering going to Bemidji State to become a teacher . . . well, Bemidji, re-united with Abby, who knows?

Mark also said Michelle Anez hasn’t made any decisions yet, but there is plenty of Division 1 interest.  As usual, it was just a pleasure to watch Michelle skate last night.

Talked with Martha Williams, too. She said Abby (pictured with Ally Nielsen, who got 2 goals last night) is really, really happy that she transferred to Bemidji State.  She did not like it at all at Mankato.

 More later . . .

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “alexandriacardinals.wordpress.com,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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