The Boys are Back in Town

Thursday, September 28, 2006

More than 2,500 Husky fans roared as former SCSU hockey stars Bret Hedican and Matt Cullen rode a Zamboni® onto the National Hockey Center rink Aug. 12. The pair earned the right to become the second and third SCSU alumni to have their names engraved on the National Hockey League’s top award, the Stanley Cup, after their team, the Carolina Hurricanes, defeated the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Finals in June.

Stanley CupAs members of the NHL championship team, Hedican and Cullen each had a day to host the cup, given to North America’s best hockey teams since 1893. Cullen took it to his hometown of Moorhead in July for a charity golf tournament, and Hedican brought it to his alma mater on a bus caravan of 150 family and friends from his hometown of North St. Paul. The entourage included his wife, Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, and their two daughters.

Hedican, whose off-season home is near Brainerd, and Cullen, who maintains a home in Moorhead, played prominently in the seven-game Stanley Cup finals. The Star Tribune picked forward Cullen, who played at SCSU from 1995-97, as one of its three top players, saying he "did everything to set up Carolina’s first goal but actually score it." Leading defenseman Hedican, who played for the Huskies from 1988-91, was interviewed on the post-win NBC broadcast and quoted by a host of national media. "I can’t describe it," Hedican said regarding the feeling of winning after two previous trips to the finals. "I’ve got the scars. But tonight, all that work, all that hard work, and our team winning, it all paid off."

Hedican, who credits former Husky coach Craig Dahl with discovering his potential and setting him on the path to success, endowed the Bret Hedican Hockey Scholarship with a gift of $160,000. "I was very, very lucky to go to St. Cloud," he said. "We set a standard. I hope we can always hold that standard high. I’m proud to be able to give back to the place that gave me an opportunity."

Both Cullen and Hedican, along with Mark Parrish, Bloomington, who played at SCSU 1995-97, played on the 2006 Olympic Hockey Team. And the first former St. Cloud State hockey player (on the roster in 1933-34) to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup? That was legend Frank Brimsek, who played for the Boston Bruins for two championships.

- Marsha Shoemaker

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