Beardsley Movie Contest

     An independent feature film on the life of American marathon legend Dick Beardsley, the Grandma’s Marathon record holder, is in development.  You’re invited to enter the "Name the Dick Beardsley Movie Contest."  To enter, go to this Web site. Grand prize includes bragging rights and a $150 New Balance gift certificate!  Hurry, the deadline for entries is Sept. 4.

McGaver, Fleck Go 1-2 in Duathlon

     Marlo McGaver of Duluth and Jeanne Fleck of Proctor went 1-2 in the women’s division of Sunday’s inaugural Minneapolis Duathlon. There was a field of 813 in the run-bike-run event, the largest in the United States.

     McGaver, 39, finished in 1:29:32 for the five-kilometer run, 18-mile bike and 5K run for the women’s title and was ninth overall, while Fleck 44, was next in 1:34:27. Tara Croteau, 31, of Duluth was fourth in 1:36:07. McGaver, who has won 15 of her last 18 duathlons, and Fleck will compete in the Duathlon World Championships on Sept. 27, in Concord, N.C.

     Kevin O’Connor, 38, led overall in 1:19:28.

More Hunter-Galvan

Former Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon women’s champion Liza Hunter-Galvan, a New Zealand native living in San Antonio, Texas, has been banned from competition for two years after a positive drug test for the banned substance erythropoietin (EPO). The ban was handed down Friday by the New Zealand Sports Tribunal

Hunter-Galvan won the 2008 Garry Bjorklund-Half Marathon in 1 hour, 13 minutes, 20 seconds and earned$1,500, and was drug tested at the time with a clean result. She then petitioned Athletics New Zealand to be named to the country’s Olympic marathon team. She was given a spot and finished 35th in Beijing in 2:34:51 and was named 2008 Sportswoman of the Year in the San Antonio area by the Express News. She had run Grandma’s Marathon in 2007 but did not finish.

Speaking from San Antonio on Thursday night, Hunter-Galvan, 40, told the Dominion Post of New Zealand that she had cut herself off from the outside world and was struggling to explain why she took the banned substance.

The two-time Olympian and mother of four admitted taking EPO three times, in February and March this year, the last dose just three days before her positive test March 23.

Athletics New Zealand chief executive Scott Newman told the Dominion Post that Hunter-Galvan’s actions were abhorrent. “For whatever reason, some athletes will be tempted and we are extremely disappointed with Liza,” he said. “This certainly serves as a reminder that cheats are highly likely to be caught.

“Liza has not only let herself and her sport down, she has let down those who have supported her throughout her career, including some of New Zealand’s athletics icons.”

Hunter-Galvan told the New Zealand Sports Tribunal she stopped taking the drug, which promotes the growth of red blood cells to improve endurance, because of side effects such as headaches and stomach and chest pains.

Asked yesterday how she was coping, she said: “Oh, not okay. I made a big mistake, I made a terrible choice.

“It’s interesting when really bad stuff happens everyone wants a piece of you. Unfortunately I’ve made a terrible mistake.”

She’s still officially the fifth-fastest New Zealand woman marathoner, behind Allison Roe, three-time Grandma’s Marathon champion Lorraine Moller, Mary O’Connor and Marguerite Buist. Hunter-Galvan’s suspension begins May 29, the date of her provisional suspension following the failed B-sample test.

Patrick White to San Jose

     This was spoted earlier Friday by Bruce Ciskie, as the rights for center Patrick White of Grand Rapids have been obtained by the NHL’s San Jose Sharks from Vancouver. Here’s the San Jose release:

SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced Friday that the team has acquired center Patrick White and defenseman Daniel Rahimi from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich.

“This trade speaks to the confidence we have in the young players coming up through our system who have earned the right to compete for a spot on this team,” said Wilson. “It also creates some flexibility in our team payroll for potential future transactions as the season progresses and adds two more talented players to our reserve list that can help this organization in the future.”

White, 20, was selected by Vancouver in the first round (25th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and most recently completed his second season at the University of Minnesota, where he posted 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 36 games.

The six-foot-one, 190 pound native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota played 12 games with Tri-City of the USHL in 2006-07, collecting nine points (eight goals, one assist) after completing a stellar high school career at Grand Rapids High School.

Runner Hunter-Galvan Banned

     Former Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon women’s champion Liza Hunter-Galvan, a New Zealand native living in San Antonio, Texas, has been banned from competition for two years after a positive drug test for EPO. The ban was handed down Friday by the New Zealand Sports Tribunal, as noted initially by the Minnesota Web site Down the Backstretch.

     Hunter-Galvan won the 2008 Garry Bjorklund-Half Marathon in 1:13:20 and won $1,500, and was drug tested at the time with a clean result. She then petitioned Athletics New Zealand to be named to the country’s Olympic marathon team. She was given a spot and finished 35th in Beijing in 2:34:51 and was named 2008 Sportswoman of the Year in the San Antonio area by the Express News. She had run Grandma’s Marathon in 2007 but did not finish. Below is an Associated Press story:

     WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Olympic marathoner Liza Hunter-Galvan of San Antonio was banned from competition for two years today after admitting using the banned performance-enhancing substance EPO.

     Hunter-Galvan, 40, a mother of four, admitted using EPO on three occasions — in February, March and in May, only three days before she returned a positive doping test.

     Hunter-Galvan, a teacher who finished second among women in last fall’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Antonio, represented New Zealand at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics. On both occasions she had been rejected for selection but appealed on the basis of her personal best marathon time of 2 hours, 30 minutes, 39 seconds.

     She finished 51st in the Athens marathon and 35th in Beijing last August.

     "Everybody is incredibly annoyed," Athletics New Zealand chief executive Scott Newman said. "It’s very sad that one of our elite would choose to do this but we’re not naive.

     "We don’t imagine that our athletes aren’t exposed to this at most major international competitions and I guess some will be tempted for some reason. In this case Liza was tempted and we’re incredibly disappointed about that."

     There was no immediate comment from Hunter-Galvan.
     The New Zealand Sports Tribunal’s findings are below:

     Drug Free Sport New Zealand v Liza Hunter-Galvan
     Overview — Anti-doping – erythropoietin (EPO) – athlete admitted violation and that deliberately took EPO – Tribunal rejected her submission that suspension should be backdated to the date of sample collection as she had made a “prompt” admission of the violation – Tribunal did not find her admission to be prompt in circumstances – she did not admit violation until her B sample was analysed and she had obtained packaging of samples – while she was entitled to take those steps, Tribunal considered an athlete who has knowingly taken EPO does not "promptly" admit the violation by requesting that her B sample be analysed – comments on confidentiality and privacy obligations in Sports Anti-Doping Rules which prevent Tribunal and parties to anti-doping proceedings publicly disclosing information before Tribunal has made and publicly issued a final decision – mandatory sanction of 2 years ineligibility imposed (commencing from date of provisional suspension 29 May 2009).

Northern Michigan Review

      Northern Michigan’s independent student newspaper, the North Wind, looks at the school’s choice not to pursue a return to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association this year. A Walt Kyle quote, below in bold, doesn’t quite ring true in comparing the CCHA and WCHA:

Northern Michigan will remain members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association for the foreseeable future. Although there was talk about the possibility of moving the team to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the decision was ultimately made to keep the Wildcats where they are.

"We were approached by that league, about whether we’d consider rejoining or not," said Wildcat hockey coach Walt Kyle. "Any time that happens, you’re foolish to just throw away options."

Northern Michigan was once a member of the WCHA from 1984-1997, a period during which the Wildcats made four NCAA tournament appearances, winning the title in 1991.

The WCHA would pit the ‘Cats against perennial powerhouses like Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, but the staff at NMU decided it wasn’t worth the switch.

"We think we’re in arguably one of the best conferences in the country right now," Kyle said. "When you compare [the two leagues], our league has certainly been more successful at putting teams in the national tournament."

Keeping games available to alumni was also motivation.

"The bulk of our alumni base is downstate," said Kyle. "That’s the reason we made the move back to the CCHA."

One school that is leaving the CCHA is Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks will play their final season as CCHA members this year and compete as a WCHA team in 2010-11. Also going to the WCHA is Bemidji State. The Beavers’ current home, College Hockey America, is disbanding in 2010, forcing its teams to move elsewhere.

Two of the four CHA members, Niagara University and Robert Morris are going to the Atlantic Hockey conference, leaving the University of Alabama-Huntsville as the only school without a place to go. The Chargers of Alabama-Huntsville applied for admission to the CCHA, but were denied.

Captain Akins for 2009-10

     Senior center Drew Akins of Excelsior, Minn., has been named Minnesota Duluth’s captain for 2009-10. Assistant captains are senior winger Jordan Fulton of Brooklyn Park, Minn., and junior defenseman Mike Montgomery of Lino Lakes, Minn. Here’s a Thursday release from UMD:

Center Drew Akins, who enjoyed his most productive season as a collegian last winter, will captain the reigning Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff champion Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in 2009-10.

Fellow senior Jordan Fulton and junior defenseman Mike Montgomery have both been entrusted with assistant team captaincy responsibilities for the upcoming season.

Akins, a native of Excelsior, Minn., has been a fixture on the Bulldog front line the past three seasons, including in 2008-09 when he collected five goals and 10 assists for a career-high 15 points while taking part in all 43 games. He also had a pair of power play tallies to his junior-year credit and topped UMD in both penalties (33) and penalty minutes (82).

Fulton also established a personal best for scoring last winter, closing out the year with 17 points. The left winger from Brooklyn Park, Minn., ranked fourth among 2008-09 Bulldogs in goals (12), second in game-winners (three), fourth in shooting percentage (.130) and seventh in plus-minus rating (plus-6).

Montgomery was relocated to defense one year ago after being deployed as a reserve right winger the previous season and responded to his new assignment by racking up 10 points on two goals and eight assists in 42 games while finishing a plus-10. For his efforts, the Lino Lakes, Minn., product was bestowed with the Mike Sertich Award (UMD’s Most Improved Player).

The Bulldogs, who posted a 22-13 overall record last winter and advanced to the finals of the NCAA West Regional, will kick off 2009-10 by taking on the University of British Columbia in a home exhibition clash on Oct. 3 before launching their regular season schedule the following weekend against Lakes Superior State University and Northern Michigan University at the DECC.

Jersey: UMD 8, Wis. 9, Denver 10

      The Hockey News has ranked hockey jerseys by college conference and in the NHL. Denver might be No. 1 in most preseason Division polls for 2009-10, but the Pioneers rank last in the WCHA in jersey beauty. Minnesota Duluth is second-to-last in the WCHA ranking that, for some reason,  includes Bemidji State. Here’s the Hockey News link here. All jerseys are available to view. Here’s the WCHA rankings, although voting is available at the link.

1. Minnesota

Golden Gophers
Both logo and colors are classic
2. North Dakota
Enjoy it one last time, Sioux fans
3. Alaska Anchorage
Alaska on shoulder, realistic bear
4. Michigan Tech
Huskies soar with baseball-style lettering
5. St. Cloud State
St. Cloud not far behind Tech
6. Bemidji State
Beaver in the center wins points
7. Minnesota State-Mankato
Bold purple looks good on Mavs
8. Colorado College
Nice stripe behind traditional logo
9. Minnesota Duluth
Same colors as rival Gophers
10. Wisconsin
Expected more from collegiate hockey power
11. Denver
Too crowded for hockey; almost looks NASCAR

Mason Raymond: Year 3

      Bruce Ciskie found this Aug. 20 story on former Minnesota Duluth forward Mason Raymond in the Province newspaper of Vancouver, British Columbia:

By Jason Botchford, The Province, August 20, 2009

Speedy Canucks forward Mason Raymond has set some goals for this coming season, he’s just not ready to share them right now.

Chalk it up to experience.

A year ago, Raymond wasn’t shy in making it clear he was in pursuit of a 20-goal season.

Like so many things in hockey, it seemed reasonable in the fall. He looked great in September. He turned heads in the preseason, scoring what his coach Alain Vigneault described then as some "goal-scorer’s goals."

That’s when Pavol Demitra compared his skill-set to Marian Gaborik’s. In truth, a few Canucks followers flinched when they heard it.

But no one laughed. Not in the first 13 games of the season, anyway. It was a start in which Raymond scored five goals and 10 points. It was a promising beginning. It ratcheted up expectations.

But then the growing pains. Raymond’s inexperience was exposed. He looked uncomfortable on the ice. He was unsure of where to be and when to be there.

Many began to wonder if the Canucks had rushed him into the NHL. His season spun off the rails. He struggled to find his fit in the lineup. In his final 59 games, he managed six goals and 13 points. When the season ended, he had 11 goals, 23 points.

"I learned a lot from those ups and downs," said Raymond, already in Vancouver skating regularly with some of his teammates. "Especially from the low points. Those are the points where I don’t want to be again.

"I think last year everything seemed easier said than done. I think everyone expects a lot of out themselves, but it doesn’t always come. It’s not easy. There are no shortcuts in this league, and hopefully, that is one of the things I’ve learned."

Raymond learned something else last year. Struggling offensively despite his obvious speed, and soft hands, Raymond was able to find salvation late in the year in the most unusual place: On defence. The development of his two-way game didn’t get the fanfare Kyle Wellwood’s received, but it was maybe more unexpected.

In the playoffs, Raymond was one of four forwards who were Vancouver’s key penalty killers. He became one of the defensive forwards Vigneault relied every time his club was short-handed (along with Ryan Johnson, Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler).

"It was nice when I was counted on every night. I focused in on that part of my game," said Raymond. "I started out well in the season, but then I went through quite a long lull. I had to go back to the basics.

"I wanted to be trusted by the coaching staff and management. To get that, I had be good, sound defensively. And I wanted to work it out from there. I felt if I could be good defensively, be responsible on the ice, block shots, do those important little things, then they could trust me.

"Things can open up offensively if you play good defence. These are things I learned, things I thought I knew at the start of the year. Hopefully I’m wiser now and don’t have to go through all of this again."

Raymond still has to carve out his place in the NHL and to do it, he needs to show he can be counted on to score some goals and put up points.

He called this upcoming season a "big year." And it is. Raymond is entering his third season, and no longer can be considered a kid on this team.

"I’ve gone through my younger years," Raymond said. "I expect a lot of myself right now. I know I can be better on and off the ice.

"Every year, you want to be better as player. I feel I’ve worked hard in the summer.

"I am trying to get stronger, faster, and doing everything I can to be better. For me this is a big year.

"As far as my goals, there are things I will keep to myself. But I will tell you I want to be good night in, night out. I want to be counted on in every game."

Marathon Analysis: Stomach Update

     Doug Binder of the Oregonian newspaper in Portland, Ore., provided some quotes and details this week on Kara Goucher’s 10th place finish in Sunday’s World Track and Field Championships women’s  marathon in Berlin. Goucher had stomach problems resulting in vomiting and dehydration, and a finish she and coach Alberto Salazar weren’t satsified with. Here are some Binder details:

     Kara Goucher experienced similar stomach problems in her marathon debut in New York last November, but thought she had found an (aid station drink) solution that suited her — diluted Powerade mixed with electrolyte replacement gel. She had no problem taking in fluids in training but had switched flavors, from "berry" to "lemon-lime" because she preferred the taste

     "I have no idea what caused these problems today," said Goucher. "I just don’t know. I’ve had no problems in training. It’s just very frustrating. If I want to be one of the best marathon runners in the world, I have to figure it out.

     "When I bonked, I bonked. My back started to twinge, my whole body was resisting me. It happened quick over the course of two (kilometers). As hot as it was today, you want calories."

     Goucher remained positive over the final seven miles, hoping that other tired runners might fall back to her.

     "I really wanted to be in the top five," Goucher said. "I tried to keep moving but it wasn’t happening."

     Said Alberto Salazar, in reviewing his Nike Oregon Project athletes:

     "Galen [Rupp at 10,000 meters] and Kara didn’t run what we had hoped for them. That’s not to take away from their effort. Galen has had a long year and he had a groin injury that he couldn’t quite recover from. He was tired and didn’t run to the level he was capable of.

     "With Kara, there’s no doubt she was in tremendous shape, better than she’s ever been. She has problems keeping her fluids down and that’s part of the game. It’s her problem and it’s my problem and we’ve got to get it figured out.

     "We’ve got to keep experimenting. She’s been fine during workouts but races are a different situation. Obviously it’s something — anxiety or her body’s reaction — is affecting her ability to hold down the fluids." 

    Salazar said that for her next race it is likely that Goucher will rely on water. That could be a while. Goucher has indicated that she may take a break over the next 18 months to start a family with her husband, 2000 Olympian Adam Goucher.

     "I’m ready for a break," Goucher said. "I learned so much in New York and Boston, and here. I can’t be unlucky forever."