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October 01, 2015


PHERSY: The Pigskin Podcast returns today. Once again we're talking Vikings, Gophers and high school football. We name our players of the week and make our weekly high school football picks. Feldy has fallen way behind after a dismal effort last week. I'm now four games up in the standings ... Feldy is pressing this week!

Enjoy the show!


September 26, 2015

Former Austin Bruins assistant settling in with USHL's Sioux City

Posted by: Feldman

There was a point in June when even Jamie Huffman started to wonder if he'd have a job in hockey this fall. 

Turns out the stress and wait was 100 percent worth it.

Huffman has moved up in the hockey world and has settled into a groove now as the assistant GM and director of scouting with the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL.

Huffman excelled at scouring and scouting in his four years as the top assistant to Chris Tok in Austin. I never posed it this way to them, but -- in the simplest terms -- it often felt like Huffman built the teams and Tok coached them into champions. Now, that's not a fair way to pose things, because both coaches excelled at scouting, recruiting and coaching. They helped their players mature on and off the ice. 

But Huffman quickly realized he has an eye for talent, a talent for scouting and recruiting. And if you talk to scouts throughout junior hockey and college hockey, they'll tell you no one outworks Huffman.

So when he resigned from his post with the Bruins back in May -- just a week before Tok was fired as the team's head coach -- many of us assumed they'd both land on their feet. They did. Tok is out of hockey this year, giving himself and his family a break from the long hours that comes with the job.

Huffman officially began his first season with Sioux City on Sept. 1. A few days later, his phone rang while he was on the ice working with players and the Musketeers' coaching staff. It was a California area code. 

"They called while we were on the ice and said 'are you interested?'" 

It took Huffman less than a second to answer. In addtion to his new gig with the Musketeers, Huffman is also now a part-time scout for the NHL's Anaheim Ducks. And his duties are right up his alley, scouting the USHL, NAHL and Minnesota high school hockey.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Huffman said by phone a couple weeks ago from Sioux City. "That's the side of the game I, for some reason, developed a skill for. I never meant for that to be, but over time as I've gotten better and better, it's become a lot of fun. It's a challenge when you're going after the same player everyone else is."

It's also a challenge to find the guys who other teams don't necessarily want or notice, which is becoming more and more difficult to do these days, when very few players go unseen or unnoticed. 

"I'm a competitor," he said. "Tok always called me 'Mad Dog.' I'll try to outwork everyone."

Huffman will be based out of his hometown of Des Moines, where much of his family still lives. But, like always, he'll be on the road almost non-stop.

Perhaps the biggest change for Huffman, going from the NAHL to the USHL, is that nearly every player on a USHL roster has committed to a Division I college or is being heavily recruited by Division I schools. Many of the players are draft-eligible and are being scouted by NHL teams. In Austin, it was always the coaches' goal to move players on to Division I schools, but usually it was three or four guys a year who jumped to that level. 

"I don't think I'll have to change the way I look at players, but I'll definitely have to be more detailed," said Huffman, who has been in Blaine all week scouting the NAHL Showcase -- and scouring it for hidden gems. "Now (for the Ducks) I might have to go to a game just to watch one guy."

Sioux City has 10 players on its roster who are already D-I commits. And they're headed to the big-time schools -- Michigan, Providence, Denver, Minnesota, North Dakota.

The Musketeers also had a familiar face in the locker room for Huffman to connect with -- former Bruins forward Josh Wilkins is on the Musketeers roster this season.

There's no doubt Huffman is excited for his new opportunities. When he was getting in the later stages of the interviewing process with the Ducks, I asked him to let me know when he heard back from them. Shortly after he got off the phone with Ducks management, I received a text that didn't have any words, just a picture:

Ducks logo

September 18, 2015

Junior Hockey | Bear Tracks: A player-by-player look at the 2015-16 Austin Bruins

Here's a player-by-player look at the 2015-16 Austin Bruins ... well, at least their roster to start the season. Lots of roster changes are common early in the season, especially for a new coaching staff that is trying to fine-tune its roster exactly the way it wants it.
Here's a player-by-player look at the Bs -- who open their season, the first under head coach Kyle Grabowski, in less than an hour:
 Logan Haskins, 5-8, 160 (Rochester): Haskins led Rochester in scoring for a second consecutive season as a high school senior last winter. The diminutive, slick-skating playmaker finished his three-year varsity career with 116 points and he put up at least one point in 23 of Mayo's 26 games last season. He also had 13 multi-point games last season, playing on a line that combined for 125 points. Put up 15 points in 14 games for the Rochester Ice Hawks, playing before and after the high school season.
 Miro Lehtimaki, 6-3, 210 (Kiukainen, Finland): The big 18-year-old played two games for the Amarillo Bulls of the NAHL last season after putting up 20 goals and 33 points, as well as 62 penalty minutes, in 56 games for the Iowa AAA U18 Elite team. 
10  A.J. Rupert, 5-11, 170 (North Oaks, Minn.): The 20-year-old former Mounds View High School standout brings two years of junior hockey experience to the Bruins. He put up 41 points over his final two high school seasons, finishing his prep career in 2013. He played the past two seasons for the Minnesota Iron Rangers of the Superior International Junior Hockey League, recording 29 goals and 60 points in 94 games. 
12  Andrew Bellant, 5-10, 185 (Linden, Mich.): Bellant played last season with the Michigan Warriors 18U team of the National Junior Prospects Hockey League. The 18-year-old put up good numbers for Michigan, recording 23 goals and 41 points, as well as 116 penalty minutes, in just 20 games. He played 28 games the previous season for the Flint Jr. Generals of the NA3HL.
14  Jan Stefka 6-3, 185 (Krelov-Bruchotin, Czech Republic): The powerful left-shot forward comes to the Bruins for his first season of play in North America. He spent the past four seasons playing at the U16, U18 and U20 levels for the HC Olomouc program in the Czech Republic. The 18-year-old had 16 goals and 31 points in 25 games at the U18 level last season, and he played in 11 games for the U20 team, putting up one goal and four points.
17  Jade Miller 5-9, 180 (Minto, N.D.): The 20-year-old was a key player last season for a Bruins team that reached the Robertson Cup Finals for a second consecutive year. Miller had nine goals and 20 points in 60 total games last season. ... Wore No. 27 last season, changed to No. 17 this year. ... Came on strong at the end of last season, recording seven points in the final five regular-season games as the Bruins pushed to win the NAHL Central Division.
18  Jason Koehn 6-0, 180 (Grand Rapids): The 17-year-old had seven goals and 10 assists over the past two seasons while playing high school hockey in Grand Rapids. Koehn is one of five 1998-born players on the Bruins roster. 
19  Justin Misiak 5-10, 170 (St. Clair Shores, Mich.): The 19-year-old left-shot forward played three games in the NAHL for the Amarillo (Texas) Bulls last season. He spent the majority of the past two seasons playing in the U18 High Performance Hockey League for the Little Caesars U18 team. Misiak had 26 goals and 51 points in 53 total games over two seasons.
21  Gilbert Gabor 6-4, 220 (Stockholm, Sweden): The big 20-year-old continues on the Bruins' tradition of bringing in strong, experienced Swedish players (past Swedes to play for the team include Christian Folin, Alex Pettersson and Jacob Kullberg. Played for the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL, a Canadian Major Junior league, in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Played for four different teams in Sweden last year, totaling nine goals and 21 points in 44 games.
22  Travis Kothenbeutel 5-10, 165 (Sauk Rapids, Minn.): Spent a majority of last season with the Granite City Lumberjacks of the North American Tier 3 Hockey League. Totaled 21-31--52 in 50 games for Granite City. Scored the game-winning goal in the Silver Cup Finals, lifting the Lumberjacks to the Tier III national championship. ... Was on the Bruins roster for the entire NAHL postseason, but didn't appear in a game. Played in eight regular-season games for the Bruins, recording two goals and three assists.
24  Evan Cholak 5-8, 160 (Kenosha, Wis.): The young (17-year-old) left-shot forward is in his first season in the NAHL after averaging close to a point per game last season. He put up 23 points in 26 games for the Chicago Mission U18 team in the High Performance U18 Hockey League. Prior to that, he spent two seasons with the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals U16 club in the Tier I U16 Elite League. 
25  Zach Kennedy 6-1, 200 (Eagle River, Wis.): The 19-year-old forward is in his second season with the Bruins. Kennedy had 20 points in 56 games last season, including playing in eight playoff games. He had a plus-11 plus/minus rating and 94 penalty minutes. He was also among the team leaders with four game-winning goals.
26  Austin Rueschhoff 6-6, 210 (Wentzville, Mo.): The big power forward who turned 18 last week played in 26 NAHL games last season with three different teams. He stuck with the Richfield-based Minnesota Magicians for a majority of his NAHL time, playing 22 games and scoring five goals. He played for the St. Louis Selects U16 team in the North American Prospects Hockey League from 2012-2014. He scored 17 goals and had 43 points in 43 games over two seasons for St. Louis.
27  AJ Drobot 5-8, 175 (Churchville, Pa.): The Bruins' third-round draft pick in June's NAHL Draft is just 17 years old and is already committed to the University of Maine. Played one game for Sioux Falls in the USHL last season. Put up 11-18--29 in 35 games for the EHL's New Jersey Rockets in 2014-15. Was a big scorer for the Rockets' U19 Midget team in 2013-14, putting up 43-22--65 in 52 games. One of six Bruins draft picks on their roster.
28  Nigel Nelson 6-3, 215 (Chicago): Another of the Bruins' big, strong forwards, the 17-year-old was the team's eighth-round pick in June's NAHL draft. He played the past two seasons for the Chicago Young Americans U16, recording eight goals and 15 points, as well as 40 penalty minutes, in 35 games. He played for the Team Illinois Bantam team in 2012-13, recording six points in 23 games.
 Derek Olmschenk 6-5, 225 (Lino Lakes, Minn.): One of two returning defensemen from last year's Robertson Cup Finals team. The 20-year-old recorded eight points (4-7--11) last season, and 28 penalty minutes in 55 total games. He appeared in 10 playoff games. He played high school hockey at Cretin-Derham Hall, where he recorded 11-35--46 in his three-year varsity career.
4  Griff Slightam 5-10, 195 (Rochester): The 19-year-old tendered with the Bruins during last season after a five-year high school career at Rochester Lourdes. He was on three state tournament teams at Lourdes, including playing at state as an eighth-grader. Battled through some injuries as a senior, but recorded eight goals and 15 points. Finished his varsity career with 57 points. 
6  Johnny Pesek 6-1, 185 (Lake Forest, Ill.): The Bruins' 11th-round draft pick in June is just 16 years old (he turns 17 on Oct. 28). He played in two games last season for the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers and one game for the Soo Eagles of the NAHL. Pesek had a big season for the Soo Indians U18 AAA midget team last year, scoring 18 goals and finishing with 47 points in 59 games. He also had 70 penalty minutes. 
7  Austin Hingtgen 6-1, 190 (Williston, N.D.): The 20-year-old blue-liner played in 28 games for the NAHL's Wichita Falls Wildcats last season, finishing with three points and 56 penalty minutes. Played the prior two seasons for Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy of the Midwest Prep Hockey League, where he recorded 11 points in 26 games over two years. Spent the 2011-12 season with the Omaha Lancers AAA U16 team.
11  Paul O'Connor 5-11, 175 (St. Peters, Mo.): The 19-year-old is entering his third NAHL season, having spent the past two playing for the Richfield-based Minnesota Magicians. O'Connor played in 55 games, and recorded eight points and 50 penalty minutes over two seasons with the Magicians. Played in a total of 50 games for Cedar Rapids of the USHL over the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. 
16  Zackary Taylor 5-9, 165 (Mahtomedi, Minn.): The 18-year-old helped Mahtomedi High School go 26-3-2 last season and place third in the Minnesota Class A state tournament. Had 26 points as a senior last season and finished his three-year varsity career with 41 total points and 72 penalty minutes. 
20  Nicklas Wilson 6-0, 185 (Dewitt, Mich.): The 18-year-old blue-liner was the Bruins' seventh-round pick in June's NAHL Draft. Played last season for the Michigan Nationals U18 midget team of the High Performance Hockey League. 
23  Dalton Gally 6-4, 215 (New Braunfels, Texas): The big blue-liner played for the Omaha AAA program last season. He played six games for the Omaha AAA High Performance Hockey League team, recording one assist. He also played 15 games for the Omaha AAA U16 team, collecting a goal and four assists. He also played in four games in the USHL for Des Moines. 
   Austin Smith 6-2, 170 (Orland Park, Ill.): Smith, 18, enters his first season in the NAHL after playing for the Chicago Mission U18 program in the High Performance Hockey League last season. He played in 12 games, and had a 2.24 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. He spent the 2013-14 season with the Chicago Young Americans team of the HPHL U16 league, where his numbers were very good (2.01, .926). 
30  Jacob Berger 5-11, 165 (Minnetonka, Minn.): Played three seasons of varsity hockey for the Minnetonka Skippers, one of the standout programs in Minnesota Class AA hockey. Went 22-20-2 in 44 starts in his high school career. Was 7-8-2 as a senior with a 2.80 goals-against average and an .899 save percentage. Led the Skippers to within one win of the state tournament last season, recording 21 saves in a heartbreaking 2-1 OT loss against Eden Prairie in the Section 6AA final. 
31  Kyle Madore 6-1, 170 (Venetia, Pa.)The 18-year-old Madore was Austin's fifth-round draft pick this summer. He was 11-5-0 with a 2.54 GAA and .906 save percentage with the Pittsburgh Penguins Tier I Midget team last season. Went 3-0 in the playoffs, with a 1.32 GAA and a .940 save pct. Brother, Rob, played goalie at the University of Vermont from 2008-12.

September 17, 2015

PIGSKIN PODCAST: Our QBs stink, Tyrod does not

PHERSY: Phersy and Feldy are back with another edition of the Pigskin Podcast.

Hey, if you like it, watch it. If not, let us know ... we are still debating if we want to do this as just a podcast or as a video segment. 

We had way more "listens" on the podcast than we did "views" of the video last week. So if you like it, watch, share, let us know. We will make a decision after this week regarding how to move forward.

Thanks all. Enjoy!


September 15, 2015

Vikings I.R.: Instant Reaction to the 20-3 loss at San Francisco

If you're reading this right after Monday's debacle of a 20-3 Vikings loss ... Why? Go to sleep. I know, it's tough to go to bed after such an ugly loss to a head coach who looks like he came straight out of Bill Swerski's Super Fans. But since you're reading (and, really, if that game didn't put you to sleep, as much as I'll try here, I can't promise that I can out-bore that performance), on the Vikings GameDay page in Monday's Post-Bulletin, we listed five issues to keep an eye on in Monday's Vikings-49ers game. How did those issues affect the outcome? Greatly. That's the answer. Greatly.
But we'll break em down, one by one, here anyway, because we have to vent somehow, and writing stuff here is much better for us than eating that whole box of Birthday Cake Oreos in the kitchen cabinet. Seriously, have you tried those things? They're more addicting than a non-salmonella-laden burrito from Chipotle.
1. 2-8 was The Man: No, not that 2-8. Hey, it's early. No need to panic, but Carlos Hyde looked more like the 2-8 we love than the 2-8 we love did. Hyde was the best back on the field. He cut, he spin, he put his shoulder down, he beat Vikings defenders to the corner consistently. All the things we're used to seeing OUR 2-8 do. It was probably unfair of us to expect Adrian Peterson to come back and look like the 2012 NFL MVP right out of the gate. But it wasn't unfair to expect him to get more than six touches in the first half. He got going a little bit in the second half, but coupled with an offensive line that struggled more often than not, A.P. didn't have a lot of room to work. Again, it's just one week, but we saw (didn't see) enough to put that shred of doubt in our minds: Will we see that elite-level A.P. again? Hyde had 136 yards with 9:30 left in the game, after he scored his second touchdown of the night. He finished with 168 yards on 26 carries. And his O-line absolutely took it to the Vikings' defensive line, which was supposed to be a strength of a defense that was supposed to be on the verge of becoming one of the league's best. Brian Robison, Tom Johnson and Linval Joseph all got wiped out in 1-on-1 battles on Hyde's second TD, while Everson Griffen -- the backside defensive end who likely wouldn't have reached Hyde anyway -- tripped over his own guy, LB Anthony Barr, who was knocked to the ground in front of Griffen. There's no need to panic, but the Vikings were thoroughly trounced in every aspect of the game, notably in the running game. Some stuff has to get better. Fast.
2. Teddy in primetime: You can argue Teddy missed some throws. He held onto the ball too long. He didn't make decisions quickly enough and on the occasions he did, he didn't make the correct ones. There's some truth to all of that. But before dropping too much of Monday's ugly loss on QB1's shoulders, there is plenty of blame to go around. Teddy couldn't take a 5-step drop for most of the night because he'd have had a black shirt or six draped all over him before Joe Berger could yell "Teddy, duck!" Speaking of which, as I asked on Twitter, the Niners had to give some preteen with a fashion app license to design those all-black unis, no? It's the only explanation. When Teddy did have time, the Vikings receivers weren't getting open because the Niners were getting away with rushing three or four guys and dropping seven or eight into coverage. Still, Teddy has to be better. He can't throw off his backfoot, sling it sidearm or just let his mechanics go to heck. He did lay one really nice deep ball in to Mike Wallace, a play that should have drawn a pass interference call in the end zone in the first half. Aside from that, there weren't many memorable throws, unless you want to count the Hail-Mary-that-wasn't at the end of the first half. He did chuck it all the way to the 15-yard-line. From midfield. So there's that.
3. Offensive line issues: The Vikings line was somehow even more abysmal in execution than it is on paper. It's really not their fault, though. I mean, they have the Matt Asiata of offensive linemen -- Joe Berger -- playing center. You know, he's the guy who looks great as a backup, but when he's forced to start, you realize why he looks great as a backup. No offense to Berger, the dude tries hard and he's made a good living as a versatile lineman who can play serviceably (I'm not sure that's a word, but it's 12:33 and I just watched that same game y'all did, so I'm rolling with it) in a pinch. But to count on him as a starter for half a season could be disastrous. It'd be different if he had the 1998 line surrounding him -- McDaniel and Steussie to his left, Dixon and Stringer to his right -- but he has Mike Harris and rookie T.J. Clemmings to his right. That group needs some work and it needs some help. They showed tonight that they can't be trusted to be left in 1-on-1 situations very often. Rhett Ellison, Chase Ford, Kyle Rudolph ... those guys will have to be more involved in the blocking game in the coming weeks, if the Vikings can't find a player or players to upgrade the line or won't seek them out. Hats off to Clemmings, though, for being the first player to sack Teddy Bridgewater this season.
4. Keeping Colin in check: For the most part, Niners QB Colin Kaepernick didn't hurt the Vikings with his feet. Though Harrison Smith turned in the play of the night for the Vikings when he hurt Kaepernick with his shoulder. But despite Trent Dilfer's incessant gushing about Kaepernick's greatness -- at one point, Dilfer went on and on about Kaepernick's outstanding game as they flashed his 13-for-20 for 109-yard stat line on the screen -- the Niners QB didn't have a major impact on the game. He also didn't hurt his team. He finished with 165 yards passing and 41 rushing, completing 17 of 26 passes. He didn't look like a $126 million QB, but he didn't have to because of Item No. 1 on this list.
5. Kicking concerns: Anyone see Vince Wilfork kick on HBO's Hard Knocks? How about U.S. soccer star Carli Lloyd, who also kicked on the show? Maybe the Vikings can trade for/sign one of those two. It's not pretty (Wilfork looked an awful lot like this guy), but it went through. So when it comes to A.P. and Teddy and the offensive line and the defensive line and receivers getting open and missed tackles, we don't need to panic. Yet. But when it comes to the kicking game, I'm panicked. Walsh was 5-for-11 in the preseason on field goals. He missed three field goals and an extra point IN ONE GAME. That's 10 points he took off the board. Monday, he missed a field goal and made one. The one he missed would've given Minnesota  3-0 lead early in the game. It probably wouldn't have changed the outcome, but who knows? It could have kept momentum on the Vikings' side after Andrew Sendejo blocked a Niners field goal and attempt and Marcus Sherels scooped it up for a nice return. Mike Zimmer thought about letting Walsh try a 63-yard attempt at the end of the first half. The he called timeout and sent the offense back out (see the Hail-Mary-that-wasn't in item No. 2). Zimmer probably wasn't as concerned about Walsh missing as he was about a potential block that could turn into a 49ers touchdown. The elephant in the room is the 4-year, $14 million contract Vikings GM Rick Spielman gave Walsh on the eve of training camp. If the Vikings chose to cut Walsh, he would still eat up about $5.98 million in cap space total over this season and next, then about $2.75 million total over the following two seasons. That's on top of the $3.75 million he's guaranteed. So there are basically two choices: 1. Ride it out with Walsh and let him go through whatever struggles he's going through, or 2. Bring in another kicker, use two roster spots on kickers and pay two kickers. If the rest of the team is going to play like it played Monday, there's no reason to not let Walsh keep kicking and hope he battles his way through his struggles, mentally and physically.

September 10, 2015


PHERSY: Bad news folks ... the podcast has gone to video. For better or worse. Feldy and I aren't attractive. But Feldy looked as tall as ever on his elevated chair.

Much thanks to Andrew Link for shooting the video and adding the graphics and photos. We will iron out some issues with the sound and add more bells and whistles as the season goes on.

Hope you enjoy.


September 03, 2015

Pigskin Podcast No. 2

PHERSY: The second edition of the Pigskin Podcast is back! We are still looking for a permanent name for the podcast, along with a few sponsors (naming rights baby!) and hopefully that stuff will come in the near future.

For now, enjoy this week's podcast. Once again, we talk high school football, Vikings football and Gophers football. At the end of the podcast, we give our weekly HS football picks, and we both name our HS football players of the week.



August 28, 2015

NEW FOOTBALL PODCAST, featuring Feldy and Phersy

UPDATE: The blog software's MP3 wasn't working properly ... so there's a new link below to listen to the podcast on Spreaker. It should be good to go now, just clink the link.


PHERSY: Well, here it is ... our new football podcast.

Hang with us while we tweak the audio and get it to sound more professional ... we're both new to using this podcast equipment. Hopefully by Week 3 we'll be experts.

At any rate, the podcast is where we'll be doing the HS football picks each week this season. Unfortunately for you, you must listen to the whole thing this week to get our picks! 

We hope you enjoy. Please, tweet at us and let us know what you think.


August 04, 2015

Former JM great Jim Scheid dies at 57

Posted by: Feldman

"It's a sad day, but it goes to show life is not fair. It's tough. Rochester has lost a great person." — Former JM hockey star Bruce Aikens, on his teammate Jim Scheid


Six-hundred thirty-six words seems so insufficient to sum up someone's life. Anyone's life, but espeically the life of someone like Jim Scheid, who clearly touched more lives than he knew.

That's how many words are in this story about Scheid, the former Rochester John Marshall athletic standout, who died Monday just three days before his 58th birthday, after a long battle with cancer.

I talked to three of his friends/high school teammates about Jim, and I knew about 5 minutes into my first conversation that I was going to have way more material than I could fit into a print story.

I could have written 6,000 words, probably more.

I never had the chance to meet Jim in person. I interviewed him one time, a little more than five years ago, for a story on all of the Rochester hockey players who moved on to play at the University of Wisconsin in the 1970s and early 80s. The Badgers were playing in an NCAA Regional at The X that spring (2010) and it seemed like a good time to do the story.

I don't know why I remember this, but when I called Jim, he was traveling to a youth hockey tournament -- I'm assuming with his youngest son, Ian, who coincidentally I would come to know a little bit over this past year as he played for the Austin Bruins -- somewhere in the northern part of the state. I want to say Thief River Falls, but I could be wrong.

The point is, from all of his friends and family with whom I spoke today, that was Jim. He was always coaching, teaching, helping others -- his kids, friends' kids -- excel at the sports they love, whether it was hockey, baseball, football (Jim starred in all three at JM) or hunting or fishing (which friends say he loved just as much).

Back in late May, Scott Lecy -- Jim's linemate and teammate at JM and Wisconsin -- worked with the Rochester Park and Rec to get the warming house at Allendale Park named after Scheid. When Lecy went to visit Scheid in his home last weekend, Scheid told him with a laugh, "You know, Scott, that's nice, but I never spent much time in the warming house."

Indeed, as Lecy and Bruce Aikens and Randy Wilcox would explain to me, Scheid was the one who called everyone's house -- who remembers a childhood without cell phones?! -- to tell them to gather at the outdoor rink, no matter the temperature. And once there, when everyone else would take a break, Scheid would be the one shoveling off the rink.

Scheid was also an outstanding QB on the football team (he played on JM's 1974 state title team) and an All-State baseball player as a senior. He was inducted into the Rochester Quarterbacks Club Hall of Fame in 2013.

"He was the quarterback in football, first-line center in hockey and shortstop in baseball," Wilcox said with a chuckle. "How much better can you be?"

Scheid, Lecy, Aikens and Wilcox all played on some powerhouse JM hockey teams. The Rockets went 21-3 in Scheid's senior season but lost in the section tournament. The next year, Lecy and Aikens led JM to a state championship. Three weeks later, Lecy was in Madison on his recruiting visit, where he had the chance to catch up with Scheid.

"He knew we'd have a great team that year," Lecy said of the '77 Rockets. "He was just so happy that we all got to experience that. Not just getting to state, but winning it, too."

When I've talked to players from those mid-to-late 1970s JM teams, they all echo the same sentiment: Those teams were great because of the work the players put in away from organized practice. Wilcox talked at length about Scheid using a tennis ball instead of a puck on the uneven outdoor ice at Allendale.

"If you could handle a tennis ball hopping around out there, you could definitely handle a puck," he said.

That makes it fitting that one of the lasting impressions Scheid will leave on Rochester is his name on the warming house of an outdoor rink, where everyone skating on the ice can see it.


Jim and his wife, Sandy, have three sons: Tony, Eric and Ian.

I've followed Eric's hockey career from afar; he'll be a senior playing at Penn State this fall.

Ian will play for the USHL's Fargo Force; they made him a 2nd round draft pick a couple months ago after he had an outstanding season with the NAHL's Austin Bruins. I got to know Ian a little bit while covering the team -- it was obvious he didn't care to have the spotlight placed on him, but he always answered questions with thought and never turned me down if I asked for an interview. To know what he was going through off the ice, it's pretty amazing to have watched the season he put together on it.

After meeting Ian and watching him play, I wasn't shocked that Aikens had this to say about Jim Scheid as a high school player:

"I know his parents were big influences in his life. He wasn't a really vocal guy, but was always very down to Earth. He let his actions and play speak for him."

His former teammates describe Jim as a do-it-all type of guy, one who would much rather set up his teammates for a goal than score it himself.

As Lecy and Wilcox pointed out, Scheid earned the nickname "Slip" at Wisconsin, because he was always too slippery for anyone to catch.

"He was so unselfish," Lecy said. "He was always looking to pass and not shoot. ... He was a great athlete and a great guy, and he was easy to like and look up to."

Aikens added: "Jim was a class act. He came to play every night. Fundamentally he did everything well and was a great team leader. He could really pass the puck, very unselfish. He got more joy out of winning than his own statistics. It was a joy to play with him.
"He was the QB on the football team, a great baseball player, and he did it all with class and made it look easy."

July 21, 2015

Statement from Rochester CVB on potential USHL team playing at MCC

Posted by: Feldman

The Mayo Civic Center is undergoing a massive $79 million renovation project, expected to be completed in 2017. Part of that renovation could include the addition of a refrigeration system so that ice could be installed for hockey (and, I'm guessing, touring ice shows such as Disney On Ice-type shows), in particular a possible USHL expansion franchise.

Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Brad Jones issued a statement today that indicates the process is underway to find out what types of sports and entertainment options may be feasible and successful in Rochester.

Results of the study are expected in September.

The statement reads:

“The Rochester Convention & Visitors Bureau, in collaboration with a group of interested parties, is engaged in a feasibility study to determine which type of sports and entertainment may be successful and sustainable in the Rochester market.

The study will assist in identifying what type of facility is needed. Exploration and understanding the needs of the United States Hockey League, in addition to other sports organizations, are a component of the feasibility study.

"The results of the study are expected to be available in September. Upon completion, the outcomes will be utilized to determine if future opportunities are pursued.”

So, there we go. I guess we'll find out in roughly two months if the Civic Center is a good candidate for the USHL (and possibly other sports leagues) and vice-versa. If making the arena hockey-friendly is a possibility, that would clear -- as far as I can tell -- probably the biggest hurdle in getting the country's top junior league back in Roch.