Yet another boys’ high school hockey season has come and gone in Minnesota. It seems like just yesterday we were heady with anticipation of the season and the potential for another great Duluth East run at a state title. They were returning their top ten scorers and it seemed the only question mark was who would replace Kirk Meierhoff in goal; Lukan Hanson or Parker Kleive? But the returning scoring, in itself, had many talking about East, Edina and Moorhead in the same breath as being the Elite Three in Gopher State puck. Eventually Moorhead would fall out of the conversation, to be replaced by the Minnetonka Skippers, Minnetonka, as it eventually turned out, was Last Man Standing when it was all over last night by virtue of their 5-2 championship game win over Duluth East.
The initial depression of being a fan of a team suffering such a loss wears off in time. Sometimes that transition from “kill me” to “what a great season!” happens quicly Sometimes it takes longer. By the time I rolled groggily out of bed this morning, that familiar sting had already passed, for the most part. Familiar? Sure–I have been witness to the Greyhounds coming up just short of a championship five times in the past 22 seasons. The “well, they did win twice in the 90′s” intellectual way to dismiss negative feelings wears thin as the years roll by. I was hoping, nearly expecting, East to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their last state title with another one.
In the end, I think they were just worn out after such an emotional, grinding win over Edina on Friday night. It certainly appeared in so many close misses, so many missed opportunities on the power play. Maybe they were just rusty, having had no power plays in their wins over St. Michael-Albertville and Edina. Maybe it was just that the puck bounces funny some times, and it certainly seemed that way last night when a little puck luck could have made the difference against Minnetonka. Who knows? As I said on the high school hockey Forum last night, “It’s not East’s night”. Maybe that’s all that needs to be said. Maybe it just takes time waiting for the sting to subside to remember that East had an outstanding season and the boys should hold their heads high. Nothing wrong with losing as long as you know you gave it your best.
Enough philosophical bullshit. What happens next? For me, there is a lot of work in conjunction with the completion of another season:
1. DVD’s; I make (and keep, of course) a DVD of each game. 14 games and there is work involved after recording the raw TV footage to the hard drive of my Pioneer DVD recorder. I have to edit out the extraneous crap, edit out the commercials, add chapter points. It takes about 20-30 minutes to edit each game, and another 10-12 minutes to do the burning of the finished product to DVD. Do the math and its about 8-9 hours of work.
2. Website: Minnhock.com doesn’t update itself! From adding data to the State Tournament history page, updating the Strength of Schedule and PageStat pages, and then updating 150 individual team history pages….it’s a lot of work. Not difficult work, mind you, just tedious work.
The nice thing is that, once this work is done, I can relax and do nothing until next season. Oh, wait….I’m working on a new project involving weekly PageStat ratings over the past 21 seasons. And a couple more things I’ve had in my head but on the back burner for the past year or two.
And it is tough to do this during the summer! I can do it now (when I’m already approaching burn-out level) or wait until next October. At this point, I don’t know when I’ll get that extra work done. There is still Bulldog hockey to get through (they are almost a lock to get into the NCAA tournament starting in two weeks), so there is fresh hope for a repeat of their 2010-11 season, when they beat Michigan for their first (and only) national title.
Eventually I’ll get around to my normal spring and summertime pursuits, be it cycling, travel or photography. We’re planning another trip to Maui, so there is always that to look forward to.