Local college hockey official Ryan (Spike) Gordon made the initial contact to have the Division 1 University of Alabama-Huntsville team practice in Iron Mountain.
Gordon was stretching prior to working a game in Huntsville when Nick Laurila, UAH’s director of hockey operations, stopped to chat.
“Nick asked me if I was the guy from Iron Mountain,” Gordon said. “Being so far from home I was a bit thrown off.”
Nick introduced himself as a grandson of the Laurilas from Iron Mountain – that would be tennis great Phyllis and pastie connoisseur Chuck.
“Nick then mentioned that the team would need a place to practice when they come to the U.P. so I told him I would set them up here in Iron Mountain and it worked out,” Gordon said.
UAH head coach Mike Corbett, who reportedly played on the Midget AAA Marquette Electricians in the late 1980s with Kingsford native Bryan Ganz, conducted practice Thursday, Feb. 6, at Mountain View Ice Arena. The team left Alabama via sleeper-bus Wednesday evening and arrived around noon for the practice session.
“Nick told me that everything worked out well for their practice so hopefully they can come back in the future,” said Gordon, also known in the area as Oak Crest’s golf pro and award-winning realtor.
Following the practice session, UAH headed to Pine Mountain.
“It was a great stop for the guys,” Laurila said. “We had a great practice there.
“After practice we went to Pine Mountain, ate and saw some of the practice jumps which a lot of guys have never seen before.”
While the team practiced at MVIA, injured Charger defenseman Anderson White of Caledon, Ontario, patiently answered a bunch of questions from onlookers. MVIA personnel also helped one of the Chargers find skates to wear for practice.
UAB, a young program stuck on one win this season, headed to Michigan Tech and Winter Carnival hockey where a couple more losses followed.
“It was a great experience for the guys,” said Laurila, who assisted the MTU staff for five years. “I enjoyed getting back there and seeing my family, too.” …
Northland International University men’s volleyball coach Dave Herron, on his struggling team: “At times we are like assassins with squirt guns. We pull the trigger but don’t do any damage.” …
Couple reasons for Iron Mountain’s Scott McClure to attend the 2014 U.P. Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He knows two of the inductees very well.
Radio legend Mike Caruso also starred in baseball, with McClure a bat boy for his Hermansville team.
McClure roomed with Nahma’s Jon Lebrasseur at Lake Superior State. Lebrasseur coached Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Muenster, Texas, to 14 girls basketball state titles. He’s also guided state track and golf champs.
“The fact that this widely recognized coach has chosen to be at Sacred Heart, forgoing through the years prestigious and lucrative job offers from both high schools and colleges, speaks volumes about the man and his vocation,” said the “School Family.” …
From University of Montana women’s basketball coach Robin Selvig, after his 800th career victory: “I love Missoula. I love the university. I love our fans. I love this sport. And when the girls play good, I love them.” …
Ed Weiland of HoopsAnalyst.com has already identified the best prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft. Weiland, a Norway grad also known as “Uncle Ed” to Nikki Younk of The Daily News, says Kansas center Joel Embiid “does everything well. He’s still improving and seems on his way to once-in-a-decade franchise center status.”
Weiland also sees a pro basketball future for shooting guards Gary Harris of Michigan State (“… one of the more impressive players in college ball this year) and Nik Stauskas of Michigan (“With his range and low turnover rate, fits the profile of an NBA zone buster as well as any college player I’ve seen.” …
From Brad Dickson, Omaha.com: “Seven members of the Alabama football recruiting class weigh more than 300 pounds. The biggest challenge for Alabama next season: getting the plane off the ground for road trips.” …