Drew, Ham, McNeely, Buzzy

    Some Thursday puck notes as No. 3-ranked Minnesota Duluth prepares for a neighborhood, nonconference meeting with No. 7 Bemidji State.

      UMD captain Drew Akins, majoring in communications, has an internship with the school’s sports information department and will be doing a Bulldog Blog on the UMD sports Web site here. His first entry was Wedndesday.

      THE HEARTWARMING STORY OF HAM THE BULLDOG will continue Saturday at the DECC. The dog, survivor of 11 frigid days outdoors after gettng lost during a Christmas Eve blizzard in Duluth, will drop a ceremonial puck before the UMD and Bemidji State game. Really. Ham, owned by Duluth natives Kevin and Meegan Holubar of Richfield, Minn., has been practicing droping a puck from its mouth. Ham was found Jan. 4. 

     “All things considered for being out in the cold and in the elements for 11½ days, it’s pretty much a miracle,” Kevin Holubar told the News Tribune of his Bulldog being found alive.

     The dog will be outfitted in a UMD jeresey made by the Duluth company Dogbooties.com and on the company Web site here it’s noted:

     At Dogbooties.com we produce the highest quality product available ensuring they’ll hold up in the toughest of conditions. Consider what world known Arctic Explorer Will Steger said while participating in his 2007 expedition Global Warming 101: "Dogbooties held up in the Arctic under the toughest conditions on earth – the dog jackets kept the dogs warm in sub zero and storm conditions."

      RON RALSTON, coach of the USA Under 17 team in Ann Arbor, Mich., was on the road Tuesday, but got back to Rink and Run on Wednesday to comment on goalie Matt McNeely of Burnsville, Minn., a UMD recruit for 2011-12:

     "Matt is an impact player, who is very athletic. He has a good presence on the ice, reads plays well and tracks the puck well. He’s a good team representative on and off the ice, and UMD has gotten a great player." 

     At Duluth’s HERITAGE SPORTS CENTER ARENA, the city’s gem of a high school and youth hockey rink, continues to add excellent historical touches — including a Collegiate Wall. More than 400 names and some photos are now shown in the rink concourse of Duluthians who went on to play college hockey. Heritage officials want to make the list as inclusive as possible and asks those with Duluth and college hockey ties to go to the rink Web site here and click on Collegiate Wall to get listed.

     "We want to salute their talents and accomplishements on and off the ice, and thank them for representing the Duluth hockey community so well in colleges and universities across the nation," Fred Hafferty, Heritage Committee member and researcher for th Collegiate List, said in a prepared statement.

     IT’S WINTER CARNVIAL TIME in St. Paul and the former Babbitt Rabbit –winger Buzzy Schneider, 55, of the 1980 U.S. Olympic gold medal team — will be the grand marshall of the King Boreas Grande Day Parade at 2 p.m. Saturday. And members of the 2010 U.S. curling teams will be grand marshalls for the Carnival’s Torchlight parade at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 30.

     And from the Minnesota Gophers, via Roman Augustoviz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, scoring leader Mike Hoeffel has mononucleosis. (The Gophers are at the DECC Feb. 26-27):

     Gophers coach Don Lucia confirmed Wednesday that junior winger Mike Hoeffel does have mononucleosis.

     "Right now they are looking at a return during our off week," Lucia said, referring to Jan. 31 through Feb. 6. "So it looks like he will be ready and able to go when we play Denver,"

     He would be a welcome addition for the Pioneers, ranked No. 1 in Division I. DU beat the Gophers 3-0, 3-0 on Oct. 23-24 at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers-Pioneers play in Denver Feb. 12-13.

     "Now we are down three forwards, who were probably in our top nine or 10 forwards when you look at the way the year began," Lucia said. "Somebody else is going to have to step up. The good thing is guys aren’t going to have to step up for 10 games. They got to step up for four.

     "We are not going to have him and he is not going to be playing the next two weeks and we know that. Somebody else gets to play and we have to have other people contribute just like last weekend. We scored eight goals and seven different guys scored. That has to be our team. Somebody has to come through this weekend that maybe didn’t score the previous couple of weeks."