UMD players at NHL camps; Langenbrunner, Goligoski on NHLPA committee; Stalock gets qualifying offer; Garrison is coveted

Minnesota Duluth-connected players expected to attend NHL prospects-rookie camps: Kenny Reiter, N.Y. Islanders; Dan DeLisle, Chicago; Drew Olson, Columbus; Max Tardy, St. Louis; Caleb Herbert, Washington; Chris Casto, Boston; Andy Welinski, Anaheim; Tony Cameranesi and Dom Toninato, Toronto; and Joe Basaraba, Florida.

Mick Hatten of the St. Cloud Times reports that Drew LeBlanc of the Huskies will attend a Minnesota Wild camp here.

With the NHL collective bargaining agreement due to expire Sept. 15, and a work stoppage looming, the NHL Players Associaition has selected a negotiating committee. Included are Minnesotans Jamie Langenbrunner and David Backes of St. Louis, and Alex Goligoski. The committee list is here.

There is talk that if the league and players continue to negotiate beyond the Sept. 15 deadline, the 2012-13 season could still start on time even without a deal in place. An Associated Press story is here.

And with NHL free agency opening at noon Sunday, the Toronto Globe and Mail is listing top available players. On a list of unrestricted free agent defensemen is Jason Garrison of Florida. That story is here.

Kevin Allen of USA today has a list of top free agents here.

The San Jose Sharks have tendered a qualifying offer to goalie Alex Stalock. News on San Jose negotiations from the San Jose Mercury News is here.

Jack Connolly nominated for 2012 ESPY

Former Minnesota Duluth center Jack Connolly of Duluth has been nominated for a 2012 ESPY, the ESPN version of the Academy Awards, in the category of Best Male Collegiate Athlete.

Also nominated are Anthony Davis, basketball, Kentucky; Robert Griffin III, football, Baylor; Andrew Luck, football, Stanford; and Mike Zunino, baseball, Florida.

Connolly, a Duluth Marshall graduate, won the 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top player in Division I and was second in national scoring with 20 goals and 40 assists for 60 points in 41 games. He was the Western Collegiate Hockey Association player of the year and was a three-time All-American.

Votes at the ESPY web site are taken through July 9 at 10:59 p.m. CDT. The awards show is July 11 at 7 p.m.

Voting at the ESPN web site, look for the drop down category listing for Best Male Collegiate Athlete, is here.

UPDATED: Bruce Olson, former Minnesota Duluth player

Bruce Olson of Warroad, Minn., a skilled player on one of Minnesota Duluth’s better men’s hockey teams in 1978-79, who went on to a coaching career spanning more than two decades, died Tuesday after a three-week battle with cancer. He was 55.

Olson was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic and colon cancer on June 7 and remained hospitalized in Rochester, Minn.

He grew up in Salol, Minn., 10 miles from Roseau, attended Roseau High School and was at UMD for four years, 1975-79. He was part of the first freshman class for head coach

Gus Hendrickson and assistant Mike Sertich, who took over UMD’s program in 1975-76. He later coached at Minot (N.D.) State and Roseau, winning the 1999 Minnesota Class AA title, and coached the Bemidji State women’s program.

“Bruce was a typical Roseau rink rat, a very skillful player and a pivotal part of our teams. He understood the game so well and played with finesse,” Sertich said Tuesday from his home in Duluth. “He also had a gift to give as a coach and loved the game.

“I have been following the news of his health the last few weeks and it has been overwhelming. It is the first time losing a former player, and I feel such sympathy for his family.”

Olson, a left winger, was a senior on UMD’s 1978-79 team which went 22-14-4 and had an all-star lineup including Curt Giles, Mark Pavelich, John Rothstein, John Harrington, Keith Hendrickson and Glenn Kulyk. That season, Olson had 10 goals and 18 assists for his most-productive year in a 137-game career.

He was head boys hockey coach Minot (N.D.) High School, earning North Dakota runner up tournament finishes in 1985 and 1987, and was named state coach of the year in 1987, and was head coach at Roseau High School in 1991-99 and 2000-02, and was Minnesota coach of the year in 1999.

Former Roseau school star Aaron Broten, Olson’s cousin and a U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member, told the Grand Forks Herald of Olson:

“He had good teams and good players and that’s always a good start. He worked the players hard, he was honest with them and he expected them to work hard and be accountable. He had some talent to work with and he always got his players to play to their potential. Those parts mesh well together.

“He was a good person, a good hockey player and a good coach. It’s a tough situation. He will be missed by the community,” Broten said. “He’s a good guy, a good happy-going guy and he will be sadly missed.”

Olson was Bemidji State women’s coach from 2002 to December of 2005, leading the program to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association post-season in 2003 and 2005. He later was co-head boys coach at Warroad High School through 2005 and has since been a Warroad assistant.

Former Mountain Iron-Buhl athlete Steve Haataja, current Warroad boys hockey coach, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune of Olson:

“(He) left a lasting mark (in Roseau and Warroad). (He) wasn’t feeling good throughout the year last year but he always came to the rink with energy. He had that zest for coming to the rink and helping out the kids.”

While earning a master’s degree at the University of North Dakota in 1999-2000, Olson coached the North Dakota women’s club team in preparation for attaining varsity status in 2002-03.

“We are all tremendously saddened by the loss of coach Olson,” WCHA associate commissioner Sara Martin said in a statement. “He was a great coach, teacher and leader of student-athletes and he will always be an important part of the legacy of women’s hockey at the collegiate level. We send our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to his entire family at this most difficult time.”

A celebration of Olson’s life is scheduled for noon Saturday at the Roseau High School gymnasium.

Former UMD hockey player Bruce Olson dies at 55

Former Minnesota Duluth hockey player Bruce Olson passed away early Tuesday morning in Rochester, Minn., at age 55 following a battle with cancer, according to his CaringBridge site.

He was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic and colon cancer on June 7.

Bruce Olson, from Salol, Minn., 10 miles from Roseau, was a winger at UMD from 1975-79, playing in 137 games. He was head boys hockey coach Minot (N.D.) High School, and named state coach of the year in 1987, and at Roseau (Minn.) High School from 1991-99 and 200-02, and was Minnesota coach of the year in 1999 when Roseau won the Class AA state title.

Olson was Bemidji State women’s coach from 2002 to December of 2005. He later was a co-head boys coach and then an assistant at Warroad (Minn.) High School.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has an update here.

A link to his CaringBridge site is here and the most recent entry is below:

Team Olson’s Game Over.  At 12:33 a.m  Coach Olson took his last breath surrounded by family.  He lost the game to cancer, the hardest game of his life. There will never be another Coach, Father, Brother, Husband, Son, Dad, Grandfather, Uncle, teacher and friend like him.  His 55 years touched so many lives, in so many ways and it was obvious on this site by the many wonderful stories and memories shared.  As a family we were touched beyond words at the outpouring of love and support!  We ask that you continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as they will be needed in the minutes, days and weeks ahead!  When the gates of heaven open and Bruce is welcomed in, his Dad and brother will be standing there waiting with arms wide open.

Dick Beardsley sings; US of Hockey draft recap; UMD’s Bruce Olson; Northeastern’s Fernie Flaman

Minnesota native Dick Beardsley of Austin, Texas, can write songs and sing, almost as well as he runs. The Grandma’s Marathon course record holder entertained fans June 15 at his guest speaker presentation at the DECC by playing two self-penned songs.

Beardsley, 56, in channeling Arlo Guthrie, dedicated a song to Grandma’s Marathon here, and then sings about a pig he raised as a youngster while in 4H here.

Following the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey looks back at how Americans fared, with 55 being selected, in posts here and here.

Minnesota Hockey Hub has an update on how Minnesotans fared in the draft here.

Also former Minnesota Duluth winger (1975-79) Bruce Olson, a former Bemidji State women’s coach, is facing a battle with cancer. An update on Bruce through Caring Bridge is here.

Last Friday, the hockey world lost former NHL player and former Northeastern University coach Fernie Flaman at age 85. The Boston Herald has a story here.

Duluth’s Dom Toninato draft update

Dom Toninato, his dad, Jim, and his grandfather, Richard of Bemidji, Minn., took a chance on the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and flew to Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Friday, they watched the first-round selections at the Consol Energy Center, and returned Saturday for the final six rounds. The trip was rated a success as Dom Toninato, a center and recent Duluth East graduate, was picked in the fifth round by Toronto.

“We had an idea I’d get picked, and to get picked anywhere in the draft is great. I was very excited to hear my name called,” Toninato said by phone from Pittsburgh. “I had a couple of pre-draft meetings with Toronto and was able to meet their entire staff (Saturday), including (president) Brian Burke. I’m very honored to be part of their organization.”

Toninato, 18, a Minnesota Duluth recruit, was the first Minnesota high school player taken during the two days, 126th overall among 211 selections. In the seventh round, Grand Rapids defenseman Jake Bischoff, a Minnesota recruit, was taken 185th by the New York Islanders; and Duluth Marshall forward Judd Peterson, a St. Cloud State recruit, 204th by Buffalo.

All were members of the 2012 News Tribune All-Area boys hockey first team. Toninato was second in East scoring with 33 goals and 40 assists for 73 points in 31 games, as the Greyhounds won the Minnesota Class AA consolation title and finished 29-2. Peterson, a center, led Marshall’s scoring with 47 goals and 36 assists for 83 points in 30 games, as the Hilltoppers advanced to the Class A state tournament and finished 21-9. Bischoff recorded 11 goals and 29 assists for 40 points in 25 games.

Toninato and Peterson were 2012 Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalists. All will play in the U.S. Hockey League in 2012-13 — Toninato in Fargo, N.D.; Peterson with Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Bischoff with Omaha. Toninato will join the Bulldogs in 2013 or 2014. His dad was a UMD forward from 1982-86.

Peterson, 6-foot-0 and 185 pounds, had an inkling which NHL team was most interested, telling the St. Cloud Times this week: “Buffalo is saying they really like me and the way I handle the puck.”

Buffalo’s Kevin Devine, director of amateur scouting, said in a statement: “Peterson is another result of our combine, which he looked good at. We’ve got a scout right in his hometown who speaks very highly of him. He put up big numbers, now he’s got three or four years to develop at St. Cloud.”

Bischoff, 5-11 and 178 pounds, was among six defensemen taken by the Islanders on the second day of the draft

The Toninatos were at PNC Park on Thursday night, as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Minnesota Twins 9-1, and were able to soak up some of the city’s atmosphere for three days. They return to Minnesota today.

“I’ve received so many phone calls (Saturday) from friends and family, and I am so thankful for all of the support I’ve had while playing hockey,” said Dom Toninato, who is 6-1½ and 170 pounds.

He expects to be at Toronto’s rookie camp, which opens July 2.

Duluth East’s Toninato first Minnesota prep taken in NHL Entry Draft

Former Duluth East center Dom Toninato was taken in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft on Saturday, by Toronto, the 126th player overall. The Minnesota Duluth recruit was the first Minnesota high school player chosen. He will play for Fargo (N.D.) in the U.S. Hockey League in 2012-13.

In the seventh, and final, round taken were Grand Rapids defenseman Jake Bischoff, a Minnesota recruit, 185th by the New York Islanders; and Duluth Marshall forward Judd Peterson, a St. Cloud State recruit, 204th by Buffalo.

The News Tribune’s story from January when Toninato made a UMD commitment:

Dom Toninato’s father, Jim, played on some of the best Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey teams in school history in the mid-1980s, but the Duluth East senior forward said family tradition didn’t play into his decision to commit to the Bulldogs.

Toninato gave UMD an oral commitment Monday night, becoming the second member of the Greyhounds’ top line to commit to a Division I college that day.

“UMD’s always been on the top of my list; ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to be a Bulldog,” the 17-year-old Toninato said Tuesday night after the top-ranked Greyhounds’ 9-0 victory at Forest Lake. “But as far as my dad playing there, it definitely didn’t play a role in my decision.

“I just went with my heart. I like the city of Duluth and (UMD) has great coaches and great new facilities. And I know I have a lot of support here with family in Duluth.”

Jim Toninato , originally from Bemidji, Minn., had 54 points in 155 games as a forward from 1982-86.

“We talked about it as a whole family,” the younger Toninato said, “but they left the decision up to me and didn’t try to persuade me to go to any particular college.”

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Toninato is East’s second-leading scorer with 21 goals and 28 assists for 49 points in 19 games. The Greyhounds are 18-1.

“UMD was always on the top of Dom ’s list, but he also had some other options and had some other schools interested, and he also had to look at those,” Jim Toninato said Tuesday.

Dom Toninato said he had scholarship offers from two other schools but preferred not to reveal which schools. He is expected to play for Fargo (N.D.) in the United States Hockey League in 2012-13 and come to UMD in 2013-14 or 2014-15.

Minnesota Duluth’s 2012-13 freshman class complete

Minnesota Duluth completed its freshman class for 2012-13 by adding Hill-Murray High School center Charlie Sampair of White Bear Lake, Minn., last month. The Bulldogs will have nine players joining the program this fall.

An update on Sampair in Saturday’s News Tribune is here.

Minnesota Hockey Hub has a story here.

Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald has a story on NHL Entry Draft first-round pick Jordan Schmaltz, a defenseman headed to North Dakota, here.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has an NHL draft story here and the St. Paul Pioneer Press here.

Michael Russo of the Star Tribune earlier profiled first-round pick Brady Skjei of Lakeville, Minn., a Minnesota recruit, in a story here.

2012 NHL Entry Draft arrives

The 2012 NHL Entry Draft opens Friday in Pittsburgh, right near the home of Kenny Reiter.

Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey looks at the top Americans in the draft (just one from the state of Minnesota) here and here.

And Peters looks at the top 30 picks overall here.

U.S. College Hockey Online has a projection of how the first round will play out here.

Kevin Allen of USA Today also has first-round predictions here.

Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald looks at incoming defenseman recruit Jordan Schmaltz and how high he may be selected, first or second round, here.

Minnesota Duluth recruits and their draft ranking, all forwards, are: Adam Johnson (82), Austin Farley (112), Alex Iafallo (133) and Dom Toninato (149). Forward Jake Bischoff of Grand Rapids, a Minnesota recruit, is ranked 147.

More Faulk; NHL draft; Connecticut to Hockey East; Don Adam feature

Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk was named Wednesday to the NHL’s 2012 All-Rookie team. Updates from the Charlotte News-Observer here and the Hurricanes here.

In advance of Friday’s 2012 NHL Entry Draft, a preview of collegians who may be picked from Inside College Hockey here and U.S. College Hockey Online here.

The word is Connecticut has been accepted to Hockey East and will join the conference, along with Notre Dame. Stories from College Hockey News here and U.S. College Hockey Online here.

Mike Chambers of the Denver Post has a feature on referee Don Adam right here.