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A glorious season ends

Thursday, April 11, 2013

St. Cloud State fans at the 2013 men's hockey national semifinal

St. Cloud State fans at the 2013 men's hockey national semifinal.

St. Cloud State fans at the 2013 men's hockey national semifinal  Andrew Prochno and Nic Dowd battle along the boards in the Frozen Four Bill Radovich, retired vice president of administration, at Tavern 245 in Pittsburgh Dale Carmichael '65 talks hockey with Coach Bob Motzko '89 Congratulations billboard at Fifth Avenue and Minnesota Highway 23 

Goals were in short supply for St. Cloud State in the 4-1 loss to Quinnipiac University April 11 at the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh.

Not lacking were fan support and commitment to team and university.  

St. Cloud State's first national semifinal brought five members of the undefeated 1962 men's Husky Hockey team to the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship. At the Tavern 245 pre-game party they talked about helping fund the players' lounge in the renovated National Hockey and Event Center (NHEC).

Dale Carmichael '65, Oakdale, the team's goalie, said the project is about $3,000 shy of its $25,000 goal.   

Below the Tavern 245's rooftop patio the Husky Sports Band played a sidewalk serenade for fans decked out in cardinal red, black and white. Standing ramrod straight, front-and-center, was Deondre Smiles, fifth-year senior percussionist from Maple Grove, pounding out the rhythm on his snare drum.  

Working both floors of Tavern 245, Bill Radovich, retired vice president of administration, reminisced about helping build the campus hockey arena, talked about getting two indoor rinks built on the ground where generations of players flooded the outdoor rink before games.

Julia Allen, a senior mass communications major from Big Lake, crossed the country on little food and less sleep to emcee St. Cloud State's Frozen Four Fan Fest appearance.

The Husky Productions rinkside reporter flew from Las Vegas, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Latrobe, Penn. There she rented a car and drove to Pittsburgh, arriving with 15 minutes to spare.

"I didn't go to bed," said Allen. who attended an awards ceremony in Las Vegas. "I slept on the plane. The airplane was my bed."

Matti Kossila traveled from Finland to support his son, first-year forward Kalle Kossila.

Watching his youngest son, Otto, 15, shoot plastic pucks at Fan Fest, he marveled at how the team has embraced Kalle.

"It's about the sport, but it's also about team work and friendship," he said. "These guys have been really good to each other."

Back in St. Cloud, fans lined up at the Atwood Memorial Center viewing party more than two hours before doors opened. Bernick's, a fifth-generation Central Minnesota beverage and vending business, donated 11,600 food and beverage items.

On Twitter, one of the world's largest social networks, tributes poured in as the clock ticked down on a 25-16-1 championship season, a season highlighted by a Western Collegiate Hockey Association title and a Midwest Regional title, a season that featured a a list of individual honors, including a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist and academic kudos at the conference and national level.

"Congrats on your historic season," said the University Chronicle sports feed. "You made us all proud this year. Looking forward to watching you next year."

What a season," wrote Jeff Beamish, an alumnus and Tucson television meteorologist. "No shame in bowing out in the Frozen Four. Can't wait for next season!"

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, also an alumnus, wrote: "Thanks and congrats on a great season. Thanks for the ride and making history!"

Andrew Lange, whose Twitter handle is @LangeBang12, wrote "Proud to become a SCSU hockey fan in the past four years and forever more. Such a great group of guys." 

And, the simple, poignant tweet by Todd, @ToddS1313: "It's okay. I've never been more proud to be a Husky :).

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