Wednesday, April 19,  2017


It has been a busy week for the spring sports teams getting their first two weeks of games, meets, etc in and the weather hasn't been terrible, but it hasn't been great.  Tis the season for spring sports.
The Crookston School District just had a referendum vote on Tuesday night and it was overwhelmingly shot down.  It wasn't a surprise, because I a large portion of the cost would have fallen on the farmers shoulders, which isn't fair.  I talked with several farmers and asked them how it would affect them and it would have hurt if all three passed.  You can't blame one farmer for voting no and in Crookston if the farmers are doing well, we all do well.  If the farmers aren't doing well most people aren't doing well.   Crookston is an Agriculture town and that is the way it is. 
There were over 2,000 voters in the election and that was GREAT to see the interest in our school district.  I hope ALL 2,000-plus voters (YES and NO votes) keep the interest in the school district and we all work together to make it the best in the state.  It might be a pipe dream, but if we all work together for the common goal of making the district better we could see some great things happen!!!  I think the school board and the district have an opportunity to reach out to the No voters and the Yes voters and get valuable input to make Crookston School District 593 the best in the northwest!  We shall see.

Speaking of working together....This is the time for the Crookston School District, City of Crookston and the University of Minnesota (Crookston) to work together and try to get a regional sports complex (football/soccer/track) like Marshall did on the Southwest Minnesota State campus.  The facility was 16 million dollars and 11 million was paid for by the state as part of a bonding bill!!!!  They had to raise $5 million and they have a state of the art facility that hosts section tournaments and brings people to town for soccer, football, softball and many other events they host there.  Crookston's doesn't have to be that nice, but if you could tie a grandstand/locker room facility for softball and baseball you have one of the nicest facilities in Minnesota and you are brining people from all over to stay in town year round!!!!

Now is the time to get it down.....the lost election result might have been a blessing in disguise for the football field/track portion of the referendum.  It can/should/and will be done if all three entities work together and it fits perfectly into the Crookston Sports Tourism plan!!

Stay tuned....

One highlight of my Easter weekend was Blake Fee getting a little cocky after starting the tennis season going 3-0.  He was bragging to his sister (who was on a state runner-up tennis team two years ago) so he asked me to play tennis and I was ready for my first outing of the year.  It didn't look good at the start as the old guy was a little rusty and with my $5 dollar garage sale racket I was down 3-1.  I caught fire and was playing Andre Agassi or Pete Samprass like while Blake had a John Mcenroe like meltdown and I won 6-3.  So BOOM...the old guy still has it.  Blake had to eat a little humble pie and it will keep him working hard for a team that has a pretty good chance of going to state.
The other highlight was hosting Easter dinner.  All I did was clean the garage and cars for about 5 hours on Saturday (by the way nobody really saw the garage, but my lovely wife made a great Easter dinner and we enjoyed time together in our house.  It was a special day for several reasons, but time with family never gets old!!!

I was able to catch up with Mark Bitter in sunny Florida and had him answer a few questions about his pro hockey experience so far, UND Men's Hockey makes money, it doesn't look good for UND Women's hockey on ever coming back, TRF's Mike Biermaier is a finalist for an A.D. job in Detroit Lakes, two big time high school winter sport coaches are leaving their top notch programs, we have a bunch of camp information and a lot more in this weeks feever....


I had a chance to catch up with one of our favorite professional hockey players, Mark Bittner, and asked him a few questions.  Mark is playing for the Pensacola (Florida) Ice Flyers of the Southern Professional Hockey League.  They are in the SPHL playoff semi-finals and two wins away for a trip to the championship!!!
It is hard to believe about 10 years ago or so, Mark, Ryan and Paul were all water boys on the sidelines of Pirate Football games.  It was always fun watching the three beat up on each other when they would "play" football on the sidelines.  Later Mark was a tremendous football player and one of the better quarterbacks to put on a Pirate uniform and he was a pretty good trackster and a very good hockey player.  It has been fun seeing him grow up and now he is married and playing pro hockey!  He has always been a class act and was a natural leader and all around great kid. 

My question and answer with Mark is below -

1. You went right from the National tournament to signing a professional hockey contract.  Can you guide us through the process of your season/college career ending to playing professional hockey?
First off, what a world wind experience this has been. Here is how the process went for me through my ending of my senior year and on to professional hockey. 
It was another normal week of a college athlete of hard practice at 6:00am to weights, and then to class. We were preparing to play Adrian College in the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament. We made the NCAA tournament for the fourth year in a row, which alone was remarkable and a complete honor to be a part of that. We had all intent to beat Adrian College to go to our fourth frozen four tournament, but we came up just short. The following day (Sunday morning) I texted my coach and asked him if there was any opportunity out there for me to play professional hockey. He texted me 2 hours later saying I would be receiving a phone call. Later that day coach Rod Adolff the head coach for the Pensacola Ice Flyers called me to off a contract to play in the Southern Professional Hockey League. But there was a slight problem, i was and still am a full-time student at UW- Stevens Point, and of course it had to be spring break. So i told him i would have to check with my teachers to see if it was even possible to do this. So for the next two days i emailed my teachers and meet with all of them to make sure i was able to do this, and i also needed the approval of my wife Nikki Bittner. Without her support i would have never done this. Thank God they were all supportive of me doing this new and great adventure. So that Wednesday night I called and signed my first professional contract, which felt absolutely amazing. The following Tuesday I flew down to Pensacola to meet up with the team and had my first practice on Wednesday, and had my first games that Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

2. You are playing for Pensacola. I am sure your enjoying living in Florida and playing hockey in March/April, what has it been like and where are you living?
Playing in Pensacola is an absolute dream! The coaching staff is amazing, the players are very tight group and welcomed me in right away. It has been awesome down here since the first day I got here. We play in front of about 5-7 thousand fans every night and the atmosphere is great. We have probably the best houses in the SPHL. We live on Pensacola beach. If you look up pictures you’ll see a beach ball water tower where Pensacola beach is I am a 15 minute walk down the beach from there, talk about surreal.

3. Getting paid to play hockey has been a dream since you were little, how has it been so far?
Getting that first paycheck was pretty cool to say the least. Growing up and skating in our backyard ice rink, I would dream about playing professional hockey. Now that it is a reality, it is incredible. My experience is overwhelming incredible.

4. What is the biggest change/difference from college to the pros?
There are a few big changes from college hockey to professionals. One being you’re a professional and you better act and play like it. If you screw up, oh boy you hear about it. This is in both practice, games, and off the ice as well. The second thing is the style of hockey. In college you go up and down the ice and people constantly in your face and going really hard. In professional we are still going as hard but the game is more of a chess match, there is a lot more east-west movement and college hockey. A lot more d-to-d and controlled breakouts from behind the net, also people are a lot bigger and more skilled here, so one small mistake you could get away with in college hockey will be in the back of your net in professional hockey.

5. The past year-plus has been a pretty great year for you and the Bittner family.  You and Ryan were teammates on the National Championship Pointer Hockey team last year, you got married, Paul played his first pro hockey game for the Cleveland Monsters, you and Ryan played in the National tournament and now you are playing professional hockey for Pensacola.  How special has the last year-plus been for you and your family?
Looking back now at this past year, I don’t think you could have come up with a better story. Ryan and I were a part of something only a small select few can say that I won a National Championship with my brother, talk about COOL! Also, Paul won with the Lake Erie Monster (now Cleveland Monsters) in the AHL. Then I got to be able to put the second ring and most important one on my finger and marry my love of my life Nikki Bittner just a few months later, what a surreal day that was and how fast time fly’s. Then being able to play with Ryan in my senior year in almost every game and watch him grow as a person and hockey player, and go to my fourth and his second NCAA tournament together. Just wow, I wouldn’t trade that for the world. Then signing my first professional contract and the second in the Bittner family. This year has flown by like a whirl wind, but I would trade anything for the world, and now sitting here thinking how lucky I am to be able to keep playing the game I love with all the love and support from my family is just amazing. I think my parents are the ones who get the most joy in it all. Watching Ryan, Paul, and I grow up before their eyes and become the right kids they raised us to be. I can’t thank them enough.

6. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, I would like to thank you Chris, and KROX for everything you guys do. Following all the sports throughout Northwest Minnesota not just Crookston. Thank you for all that you do there. Second I want to thank my family my brothers Ryan, and Paul and my mom and dad. Who have all pushed me and helped me come this far in my hockey career, I wouldn’t be here without them. I also want to thank my wife Nikki, who has always supported me throughout my many adventures with hockey from Fresno, California to Stevens Point, and now Pensacola. She is simply amazing and she deserves way more credit than she gets for always standing by my side and supporting my dreams in hockey. Lastly, I want to thank all my past coaches, teachers, and the entire town of Crookston, who have all supported not only me, but also everyone who plays this great game we all love (hockey). Neither I, nor anyone else would be able to say there are Crookston Pirate hockey player without all great support we get from our wonderful town. Crookston has always been very near and dear to my heart and I just want to say Thank you Crookston for allowing athletes like myself to have the opportunity to play the sport they love with an entire town supporting them, so thank you Crookston.
Thank you, again and we are in the semifinal round of playoffs, so hopefully we can go and win it all this year.

Thank you, Chris
Mark Bittner


In last weeks column, I had information from the Fargo Forum saying that according to the University reports, UND Men's hockey and NDSU Football didn't make money.  Well I should have gone right to the man in the know and asked if it was true.  Brad Elliot Schlossman, the best college hockey beat writers in the country and one of the best beat writers of any sport in the country, just wrote on his blog that UND Men's hockey does make money.  I have included his post (with his permission) in the column.   I also asked him what the chances of women's hockey being reinstated and he said he is working on a story and it is in the Grand Forks Herald today, but the just of the story was the chances of women's hockey coming back at UND are slim to none and slim just left the building.  As Paul Harvey would say.....Here's the rest of the UND Men's Hockey money making story -

By Brad Schlossman-

Another piece of mis-information going around is that the UND men’s team loses money.

If you look at the balance sheet, yes, that’s how it reads. But it’s also misleading. The biggest source of revenue for men’s hockey is ticket sales. It lists $3.76 million in ticket revenue.

However, that’s not close to what UND really makes in tickets.

Season tickets cost $420 no matter where you are sitting in The Ralph. But in order to get them, you have to pay a fee to the Champions Club. If you want to sit in the lower bowl, that fee is at least $800 per year. For a couple of sections, it is at least $3,350 a year. The better the seat, the higher the price to the Champions Club. The more you donate, the more seats you are allowed to purchase, but the increase works out to roughly half of the money going to the $420 payment, half going to the Champions Club (unless you are in the upper corners).

However, the Champions Club donations are not counted under men’s hockey. That money is slated as “non-sport specific.”

Doing it this way probably benefits UND since its agreement with Ralph Engelstad Arena is based on ticket sales. The Ralph’s take is a percentage of ticket sales. But the Champions Club memberships are not part of that.

So, a huge chunk of the money generated by ticket sales is not filed under the men’s hockey program’s revenue. That’s why, if you take the numbers straight up, it appears that men’s hockey is losing money. But the reality is that it is a big revenue generator. And that doesn’t even include things like licensing and merch sales.

When I did this study in 2011, UND did compile some donation money as sport specific — presumably some of the Champions Club memberships for ticket revenue. And at that time, it listed men’s hockey profits at roughly $1.7 million in 2008-09, $1.9 million in 2009-10 and $1.65 million in 2010-11.


The Crookston 5th grade and 7th grade girls basketball teams will both be playing in the Pacesetter State tournament in June. 

The Crookston fifth graders played in the region 8 tournament earlier this month and beat Bemidji 13-2 and Deer River 12-2 in the pool play.  They received the bye in the first round of bracket play and beat Cass Lake-Bena 16-8 in the semi-finals and lost to Grand Rapids 30-25 in the championship.  Crookston will advance to the Pacesetter Minnesota Youth Basketball State Championships in Maple Grove on June 18. 

Back Row:  Emma Gunderson, Elsa Dingmann, Calleigh Fanfulik, Brooke Simpkins, Coach Kalie Normandin
Middle:  Isabelle Smith, Halle Winjum
Front Row:  Katelyn Christensen, Amelia Cordova, Miracle Bernia, Grace Meiners, Keona Arnold



The Crookston seventh graders played in the region 5 tournament last weekend in finished runner up after losing to Esko in the championship.  Esko won two region tournaments and will also be playing at the state tournament.

Back row: Amanda Schultz, Bailey Cameron, Ellie Nesseth, Jenna Coautte, Hayden Winjum
Front row: Emma Osborn, Madison Hoiland, Hannah Loraas


The Crookston Pirate Boys Tennis team will have five matches in two days this weekend with a triangular at New London on Friday and they will take on New London-Spicer and Minnewaska Area.  On Saturday, they will have the Alexandria Quad at 10:00 AM, where they will play Becker, Alexandria and end the day with Litchfield.

10:00 AM:    First Round
Alexandria vs Litchfield        
Crookston vs Becker

Second Round
Alexandria vs Crookston
Becker vs Litchfield

Third Round
Alexandria vs Becker
Crookston vs Litchfield

All teams report to Alexandria Area High School courts.
All teams should bring a full JV lineup. 
All Varsity matches will be played at Alexandria Area High School courts. 
JV matches will be played at Discovery Middle School courts  
They will play no-add scoring with a third set 12 point tie-breaker if split sets.
Players should bring a sack lunch as they will have continuous play. 


The Pirate Boys Golf team will have two teams going to separate invitationals this weekend.  They will send six boys to Pequot Lakes to play the beautiful Legacy Golf Course.  It will be made up of six boys trying to make a case to get in the top six to make the tournament team.  The current top six golfers along with the Pirate Girls Golf team will be making the trip to the Jordan Invitational to play the Ridges at Sand Creek golf course, home of the State Class AA Boys and girls golf tournament.  It is a big weekend for the Pirates to play the state course in a competitive setting.


The Crookston Pirate Softball team also has a busy weekend with a game at Park Rapids on Friday afternoon and they will stay overnight to play three games at the Park Rapids tournament on Saturday.  Crookston will play Pelican Rapids in the first round and either Park Rapids or Mahnomen/Waubun in the second round.


The Minnesota State High School League Region 8A elected the following officers last week

Sub-29  -  AD  -  Ryan Grow  -  Blackduck
Sub-30  -  Board of Education  -  
Blair Stoltman  (Ada-Borup)
Sub-31  -  Superintendent  -
 Lon Jorgensen (Warren-Alvarado-Oslo)
Sub-32  -  Principal  -  
Dave Reaves  (Roseau)
Speech/OAP  -  
Stewart Wilson  (Walker-Hackensack-Akeley)
Boys Sports Representative  -  Wayne Folkers  (Crookston)

What exactly does the appointment mean for Wayne Folkers?
He will serve a 4-year term and the committee meets six times per year.  He will be asked to vote and act on issues for all 28 activities run by Region 8A. He not only represents the Boys Sports, but he represents all 44 schools in Region 8A.



The University of Minnesota Crookston softball program announced the signing of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to begin playing for the Golden Eagles during the 2017-18 athletic season. The Golden Eagles have signed Taylor Allen (C, 5-5, Neepawa, Manitoba/Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute), Jordan Peterson (C/UT, 5-7, Lakeville/Lakeville North H.S.), Haley Strachan (OF, 5-2, Phoenix, Ariz./Paradise Valley C.C.) and Amanda Trandem (C/3B, 5-7, Crookston/Crookston H.S.).  “Versatility is the key to this year’s recruiting class,” said Head Coach Don Stopa. “These four players, and the others I am working with right now, add depth everywhere for the program. In most cases, they play multiple positions and play them well.”  The four signees are the first for the Golden Eagles for the 2017 signing class.

Amanda Trandem/C/3B/5-7/Crookston, Minn./Crookston H.S.
As a junior, Trandem hit .449 with nine doubles and 31 hits for the softball team. Trandem (pictured right with her dad at her signing) has primarily been a catcher for the Pirates. She also played volleyball where she was coached by Don Stopa’s wife Ashley Stopa. Trandem played outside hitter for the volleyball team. She has been awarded a Merit Scholarship by UMC.
She is the daughter of Cathy and Scott Trandem. Trandem was born Jan. 27, 1999. She plans to major in biology. “Amanda is a local kid with a lot of upside,” Stop said. “She is a big, strong kid who will do what it takes to get better. I’ve had glimpses of a college hitter at times and if we can polish her up a little, I think she has got a chance to help us. Being from Crookston, I have had a chance to watch her play for three years now, and I look forward to seeing her play in the maroon and gold.”

Taylor Allen/C/5-5/Neepawa, Manitoba/Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute
Allen comes to Minnesota Crookston from Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute. She helped lead her team to the 2016 Western Canadian Championship where they won a silver medal. During the championship, Allen was selected as the Championship MVP. She was a two-time High School Provincial Game Star in 2016. In 2015, she was also named a High School Provincial Game Star. In 2014, Allen was selected to the High School Provincial All-Star Team. She led her high school squad to the provincial championship in 2014 and the provincial “b” championship in 2013.
She is the daughter of Shelley and Curt Allen. Allen was born Nov. 28, 1999. She plans to major in criminal justice.
“Taylor is a great athlete,” Stopa said. “I really like her as a receiver behind the dish, and she is good enough athletically to help us in the outfield too. This summer she will play for Smitty’s Terminators which is one of the best club programs in Canada. The strong summer schedule will get her ready to compete at the college level next year.”

Jordan Peterson/C/UT/5-7/Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North H.S.
Peterson is serving as team captain during her senior season for Lakeville North High School. She is the daughter of Tina and Brett Peterson. She plans to major in exercise science and wellness. Her father Brett Peterson played football at North Dakota State.

Haley Strachan/OF/5-2/Phoenix, Ariz./Paradise Valley C.C.
Strachan played community college softball at Paradise Valley Community College. She is a left-handed hitter. She is hitting .314 with four RBI’s and four runs scored as a sophomore. Strachan has tallied nine stolen bases for Paradise Valley Community College. As a freshman, she hit .308 with four RBI’s and eight runs scored. Strachan notched seven stolen bases as a freshman. She attended Pinnacle High School as a prep.
She is the daughter of Bob and Gayle Strachan. She plans to major in exercise science and wellness. She has been a scholar-athlete at her junior college and she received a Presidential Honor’s Scholarship to junior college. Her father Bob Strachan played baseball at Phoenix College and the University of Arizona. Her uncle Eric Strachan ran track and cross county at Arizona State University.
“Haley’s speed will be an asset on the bases and in the outfield next year,” Stopa said. “As a true slapper, she can really mix things up at the plate with different looks. She plays in the best JUCO conference in America where she is doing a great job at the plate and on the bases. As a transfer, she will be ready to compete right away as the ACCAC is a high level NJCAA conference.”


The Detroit Lakes Activities Director job has been narrowed down from 52 applicants to six finalists, including Thief River Falls’ Mike Biermaier.  Mike informed Frank and I last week that he was a finalist and we wish him the best of luck in the interview this week.  The six finalists are Kevin Brent, current activities director at Dawson/Boyd High School; Jonathan Ruoff, activities director at Melrose High School; Ben Kvidt, activities director at Milaca High School; Mike Biermaier, activities director at Thief River Falls High School; Terry Eiter, high school teacher/former coach and official at Detroit Lakes High School; and Rob Nielsen, coach at Detroit Lakes High School.


Speaking of searches, there are a couple high profile coaching openings after a retirement and a change. 

The first opening is at Hermantown Boys Hockey after Coach Bruce Plante announced his retirement (on Thursday) after 28 seasons.  Plante led Hermantown to 13 state tournament berths, three titles and 547 victories. He gathered his players in a classroom after school and delivered the news.  One would think it won’t be tough for Hermantown to get some top-notch coaching candidates to apply and they might even have their next head coach on staff.  We will see.

The other opening is at De La Salle Boys Basketball after Dave Thorson took an assistant coaching job at Drake after coaching the last 23 years for the Islanders.  You can insert your recruiting jokes hear, as De La Salle has been able to get quality talent from all over the metro area.  A quality education and great athletics is part of that reason.   Thorson compiled a record of 527-136 with15 state tournaments, winning nine titles (the last six years and in 1998, 1999 and 2006). He has won more state championships than any boys or girls coach in state history.
Thorson will work under new Drake head coach Niko Medved, who is a St. Paul native and former Gophers assistant coach and Macalester associate head coach.


The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced today that the University of Minnesota will host four collegiate championship events within the 2018-2022 championship bid cycle. 

In the next five years, the University of Minnesota, Sports Minneapolis and Visit St. Paul will partner with U.S. Bank Stadium, Target Center and Xcel Energy Center to hold nine NCAA championships in the Twin Cities. In addition to the four bids awarded today, Minnesota is also hosting the 2018 men’s and women’s Frozen Four, a 2018 women’s gymnastics regional, and 2018 men’s swimming & diving NCAA Championships. The Gophers will also serve as the host institution for the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four for the fifth time in school history and the first since 2001.

“The University of Minnesota and the Twin Cities have successfully partnered to host NCAA Championships for decades and we’re excited with today’s news that we will be hosting many more in the years to come,” said Mark Coyle, University of Minnesota athletics director. “I believe the same things about this community that help attract amazing students to Minnesota stand out to the NCAA when it places its championships as well: a diverse, world-class city full of great food and entertainment options, state of the art competition venues, a thriving business community, easy access from anywhere in the world and, of course, an outstanding Big Ten institution in the heart of it all. We’re looking forward to showcasing our University and our metro area once again by hosting these upcoming championships.”

Target Center will feature NCAA events for men’s basketball and volleyball during this span. A Minneapolis men’s basketball regional will be held in 2021. The regional marks the 13th NCAA men’s basketball event in school history, and the fifth time the Gophers will be hosting Sweet 16 and Elite Eight competition. The Division I volleyball championships will come to Minneapolis in 2018, the first time the event has ever come to Target Center and just the second time it’s been held in the Twin Cities. Minnesota hosted the 1988 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships at Williams Arena. 

U.S. Bank Stadium will become the largest venue to ever host NCAA wrestling when the event comes to Minnesota in 2020. U.S. Bank Stadium will also be the first non-arena venue to host the national wrestling tournament. The first and only other time Minnesota hosted the NCAA wrestling championship came back in 1996 at Target Center. 

The men’s gymnastics championship was also awarded to Minnesota in 2021. This will be the third time in school history Minnesota hosts the men’s gymnastics championship, the first since 2009.

University of Minnesota NCAA Championship Events
2018 – Men’s Swimming and Diving, Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center (March)
2018 – Women’s Ice Hockey Frozen Four, Ridder Arena (March)
2018 – Men’s Ice Hockey Frozen Four, Xcel Energy Center (April)
2018 – Women’s Gymnastics Regional, Sports Pavilion (April)
2018 – Women’s Volleyball Championship, Target Center ^ (December)
2019 – Men’s Basketball Final Four, U.S. Bank Stadium (April)

2020 – Wrestling Championship, U.S. Bank Stadium ^ (March)
2021 – Men’s Basketball Regional, Target Center ^ (March)
2021 – Men’s Gymnastics Championship, Sports Pavilion ^ (April)


The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced today that it has selected the University of North Dakota to host the 2018 NCAA Men’s Hockey West Regional Championship at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., and the 2019 NCAA West Regional at SCHEELS Arena in Fargo, N.D.

The sites were selected by the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee, which is made up of coaches and administrators from NCAA member schools and conferences, and approved by the appropriate divisional championships cabinets/committees.

“The University of North Dakota is extremely excited to be awarded these upcoming NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey regionals,” said UND Athletics Director Brian Faison. “It is an honor to be entrusted by the NCAA to host these championships and put on a great experience for student-athletes, coaches and fans. 

"The 2018 regional is in a new location at Sioux Falls in the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center," continued Faison. "Based on the successes of the 2015 and 2017 regionals in Fargo, we look to continuing the tradition of hosting outstanding regionals working with the staff at the SCHEELS Arena. We have the best fans in college hockey and this announcement gives them two more opportunities to potentially see our team play in the NCAA Tournament within driving distance.”

UND has previously hosted the NCAA DI Men’s Hockey West Regional at SCHEELS Arena in Fargo in both 2015 and 2017, playing to a sold-out venue to all six games over those two tournaments.

“SCHEELS Arena is honored to get the opportunity to partner with UND Athletics in hosting the 2019 NCAA West Regional Championship. This will be our third time as a host site for the event, which gives us the experience to make it an outstanding event for the athletes, coaches and fans,” said SCHEELS Arena General Manager Jon Kram.

The 2018 regional will mark UND Athletics’ first partnership with the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, which seats 10,678 for hockey.

“I had the pleasure of working alongside the University of North Dakota’s Department of Athletics for 14 years prior to relocating to Sioux Falls,” said Denny Sanford PREMIER Center Assistant General Manager Chris Semrau. “I know firsthand how big of a deal the NCAA DI Men’s Ice Hockey West Regional is and look forward to partnering with UND and the Sioux Falls Sports Authority in hosting this amazing event in an outstanding hockey facility, the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.”

Added Sioux Falls Sports Authority Executive Director Bryan Miller: “The Sioux Falls Sports Authority is beyond excited for the opportunity to partner with the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center and the University of North Dakota for the 2018 NCAA DI Men’s Ice Hockey West Regional. We look forward to building a relationship with the University and the DI Men’s Ice Hockey committee. Sioux Falls will once again be able to showcase the amazing hospitality that makes it an ideal location for NCAA championships.”

Ticket information, including on-sale dates and pricing, will be announced at a later date.


The Minnesota State High School League State Speech Tournament is scheduled for April 21-22 at Apple Valley High School. Here is a look at the tournament:

Class AA (April 21) and A (April 22) will follow the same schedule:

9:45 a.m.             Draws for Round 1
10:15 a.m.           Round 1 for All Events
11:15 a.m.           Draws for Round 2
11:45 a.m.           Round 2 for All Events
12:45 p.m.          Draws for Round 3
1:15 p.m.             Round 3 for All Events
3:00 p.m.             Draws for Final Round
3:30 p.m.             Championship Round for All Events         
5:30 p.m.             Awards Ceremony 

Tickets: The tournament is free and open to the public.  


Class A: The Class A field features six returning gold medalists from 2016 and all six return in the same categories. Grant Schlichting of Cannon Falls returns in Extemporaneous Speaking and Grace Kubista of Jordan is looking for her second gold medal in Storytelling. If Schlichting wins, it would also be his third medal overall.
Knute Oldre of Luverne is seeking his second consecutive crown in Discussion and Coleman Klimek of Staples Motley returns to defend his title in Duo Interpretation. Oldre is in the hunt for his fourth medal overall and Klimek is looking for his third. Klimek won with Lucas Jimenez in 2016 and will partner with Elijah Sams this year. Sams claimed top honors in Creative Expression in 2015.
Awazi Jaafaru of Twin Cities Academy of St. Paul is looking for her second consecutive title in Serious Interpretation of Drama and Elise Anderson of Warroad returns in Serious Interpretation of Prose. Anderson is also seeking her third medal overall.
Matthew Koring of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley is hoping to become only the third person in tournament history to win five medals overall. He will compete in Humorous Interpretation for a fifth consecutive year. Ben Senger of Sacred Heart of East Grand Forks became the first to claim this honor; he won between 1992 and 1996. Kaitlyn Berry, also of Walker-Hackensack-Berry, won five titles between 2004 and 2008.
In addition to Oldre, two other competitors are in the hunt for their fourth medals: Molly Tengwall of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa and Kate Folkman of Morris Area.  Tengwall placed second in Storytelling in 2016 and will compete in the same event this year. Folkman placed sixth in Duo Interpretation with Alyna Kleinwolterink last year and will compete in Humorous Interpretation this year.
In addition to Schlichting, Klimek, and Anderson, 12 qualifiers are looking for their third medals this year: Miranda Felton of Cannon Falls; Aidan Beckman of Cotter of Winona; Maggie Schmaltz of Eden Valley-Watkins; Andraya Parenteau of Hawley; Dylan Thorson of Luverne; Samantha Ykema of Luverne; Madison Malzahn of Park Rapids Area; Marshall Muehbauer of St. Cloud Cathedral; Tom Hawkins of St. Cloud Cathedral; Connor Prafke of St. Peter; Noah Tiegs of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton; and Carter Peterson of Underwood. 
Cannon Falls leads the Class A field by qualifying 16 competitors. Jordan qualified 13 competitors and Mankato Loyola qualified 11.

Class AA: The Class AA field also features six gold medalists from the 2016 field. All but one will compete in the same category again this year. Sarah Grambo of Apple Valley is looking for her second consecutive title in Informative Speaking and Quintin Walker of East Ridge of Woodbury is in search of his second gold medal in Creative Expression. Dylan Clausen of Elk River is in the hunt for his second championship in Discussion and Devon Solwold and Izzy Larson of Moorhead are looking to defend their title in Duo Interpretation. All five of these competitors are also hoping to win their third medal overall.
Tre Edgerton of East Ridge is the final defending champion. He won in Serious Interpretation of Poetry last year and will compete in Humorous Interpretation this year.
Five additional qualifiers are attempting to win third medals this year: Kevin Bi of East Ridge; Ashley Lau of Lakeville North; Jessica Anderson of Moorhead; McKensie Bedore of Moorhead; and Maia Peterson of Roseville Area.
None of the Class AA participants are qualified to win a fourth medal this year.
Lakeville North and Moorhead qualified 28 individuals apiece. Apple Valley and Eagan have 22 qualifiers each.


Class A: Cannon Falls won the inaugural team championship with 43 points and Anagha Komaragiri of Fairmont became only the sixth person in Class A history to win her third consecutive gold medal. She won all three of her medals in Informative Speaking. Jennifer Portis of Mounds Park Academy of St. Paul was the only other competitor to successfully defend her 2015 title; she won her second consecutive title in Original Oratory.
In other highlights, three competitors earned their fourth medals overall: Allison Leopold of Mounds Park Academy, Nick Reed of Jackson County Central, and Matthew Koring of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley. Six participants won their third medals. They were: Molly Tengwall of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Matt Breuer of Cannon Falls, Knute Oldre of Luverne, Kate Folkman of Morris Area, Riley Lannon of Mounds Park Academy, and Masen Virginia of Wrenshall.

Class AA: In Class AA, Chanhassen’s Micah Spieldenner and Apple Valley’s Stephanie Kahle captured their third medals. Spieldenner was also the only champion from 2015 to successfully defend his championship. It was his second consecutive in Humorous Interpretation. No one won a coveted fourth medal in Class AA in 2016.
Eagan and Moorhead tied for the first team championship. Each team finished with 66 points.


The University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagle Athletic Department and baseball program are looking to raise some money to help finish off the press box/players locker room building project.  The UMC Golden Eagle Baseball team has A LOT of local talent with Aaron Hollcraft and Brandon Kresl of Crookston, Reed Hjelle and Ethan Mushitz of East Grand Forks, Justin Yutrzenka of Argyle.

Construction of a press box for the University of Minnesota Crookston Baseball program is underway. The project is on track to be completed this spring and in order to reach the final goal, we need your help to raise the remaining $8,000.

Please support these amazing athletes. A gift at any level will make an impact. To give online, click the link below. For details or additional ways to give, call 218-281-8434. 

Initial support of this project came from UMC Campus, KROX Radio, Crookston Baseball Association, Bill Kresl, and BSN Sports.

Thank you in advance for your gift. Go Golden Eagles!
Steve Gust, Head Baseball Coach
Stephanie Helgeson, Director of Athletics
Brandy Chaffee, Chief Development Officer


Pirate Hoops Skills Academy 2017

For Pirate Basketball players (girls and boys) grades 4-12(next years grade)

Where: CHS gym
When:  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
Time:   7:30-9:00am
Cost $40   Family maximum=$80

Attend all or as many as you are able to.
Cost:    $40   (Make checks to Pirate Basketball)

Send to:          
Pirate  Hoops
Crookston High School   Attn: Greg Garmen
402 Fisher Ave.
Crookston, MN 56716


Keep top portion



Grade just completed_________________________________________________

School attended_________________________________________________

I understand that Crookston High School and the Summer Basketball Academy staff will not be held responsible for injuries of loss of personal property while the above athlete is attending the academy.  I authorize the directors to secure any emergency treatment deemed necessary.  The staff will not be held responsible for payment for this emergency treatment.  Any hospital or doctor fees that are a result of injury will be the responsibility of the parent or guardian.  I also acknowledge that the above athlete is physically ready for the activity of the basketball academy.

Signature of parent/guardian_________________________________________


Grand Forks Gladiators USA Wrestling Freestyle and Greco-Roman Open Tournaments

Saturday, April 22, 2017
Central High School Gymnasium (200 block of North 5th Street)

Weigh-Ins: We will be conducting weigh-ins from 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM in the Central wrestling room. The scales will close at 9:30 AM sharp. Marshaling for freestyle will begin at 10:20 AM. Wrestling will begin at 10:30 AM. Wrestlers will be bracketed in 4-man round-robin groups by scratch weight. A rules clinic will be held at 10:00 AM.


Coaches: If your club plans on attending the tournament, please contact us ASAP. This will allow us to plan accordingly for awards.

Age Divisions: Sub Bantam (2011-2012), Bantam (2009-2010), Intermediate (2007-2008), Novice (2005-2006), Schoolboy (2003-2004), Cadet (2001-2002), Junior (9/1/97 & in High School)

***Wresting will run continuously. As the Freestyle tournament is finishing, we will start the Greco tournament.

Brackets: 4-man round robin brackets using scratch weight and USA Wrestling age divisions. Age divisions and weights may be grouped to optimize competition (For example Cadets & Juniors may wrestle together).

Awards: Trophies for top 4 placers in each bracket.

Cost: $10 per wrestler per tournament (i.e. $20 for both tournaments). USA Card is Not Required for this tournament.

Spectators: Adults $5, Under 18 free

Contacts: Jeff Welsh (701) 213-2244 Andrew Kennedy (701) 739-9452


Please place a check in the box for each tournament you enter. __________Freestyle __________Greco-Roman


DATE OF BIRTH___________


    2011-12                2009-10              2007-2008            2005-06           2003-2004         2001-2002   1997 & in HS


CITY/CLUB______________________________ STATE/PROVINCE______________

EMERGENCY PHONE_____________________________

In consideration for the acceptance of wrestling in the Grand Forks Wrestling Tournament, I agree to waive and release the owners of the real estate where the tournament is being held and their agents, representatives, committees, and members from any and all claims or rights to damages, injuries, and / or losses suffered by me, whether competing, watching, or traveling to or from this tournament. I further state that I have adequate health and accident insurance to cover any injuries or sickness during this tournament. I also give permission for tournament officials to provide emergency medical care.

PARENT / GUARDIAN / COACH______________________________________________ DATE___________ (MUST BE SIGNED BEFORE WRESTLING)


Tyus Jones of the Minnesota Timberwolves will be holding a basketball camp June 16 and 17 at Pillager High School at 323 2nd Street East in Pillager.
Develop your game at the Tyus Jones Basketball Camp.  Whether you’re a beginner or a skilled player, there’s always room to improve your game.  Connect with Tyus and his premier coaching staff to hone your skills through competitions and drills used by Tyus himself.

June 16 ($60 per player)
3rd and 4th graders – 8-10AM
5th and 6th graders – 11AM – 1PM
7th and 8th graders – 2PM – 4PM

June 17  ($85 per player)
High School Girls – 9AM – Noon
High School Boys – 1PM – 4PM

Registration opening soon at


The University of Minnesota Crookston Men's Basketball program will be hosting two basketball camps in June.  The information is below -

Junior Eagle Day Camp for Boys and Girls grades 1-6
June 12-15, 2017
9:00 AM to Noon
Each camper will receive a t-shirt, camp ball and a pizza party on the last day.
Cost - $50 per camper

Offensive Skills Day Camp
June 19-22, 2017
9:00 AM to Noon
Each camper will receive a t-shirt, camp ball and a pizza party on the last day.
Cost - $50 per camper

Campers will…                                                       
·         Develop their skills through drill work, contests, & games.                                                                                         
·         Receive a Golden Eagle T-Shirt& Camp Ball                                               
·         Instruction & interaction with UMC Coaching Staff and players                       

**Any Questions Call Blaise Davis at  
(218) 281-8189 or        

**Send Registration Form and Payment to:

UMC Basketball | 142 Sports Center | 2900 University Ave. | Crookston, MN 56716


    Junior Eagle Day Camp      OR        Offensive Skills Day Camp
(Circle One)

Name:                                                                                     Grade (Fall 2017):                        Age:                    

Address:                                                                                                              State:         Zip:                

Contact Information:

Parent Name:                                                                                   




“Live Your Dreams” Camp coming to northwest Minnesota!

Former NDSU Men's Basketball players, Ben Woodside and Luke Moormann are putting on a basketball camp in Stephen on June 13 and 14.

Tuesday, June 13th & Wednesday, June 14th

Location: Stephen-Argyle Central High School, Stephen, MN

3rd-7th Grade Girls                            8th-12th Grade Girls
8:00-9:30 AM                                     10:00-12:30 PM
Price: $60/camper                               $90/camper 

3rd-7th Grade Boys                             8th-12th Grade Boys
1:30-3:00 PM                                      3:30-6:00 PM
$60/camper                                         $90/camper

Camp shirt & water bottle for each participant.


Make plans now to attend the 24th annual “Lace ‘em Up” basketball camp to be held in Red Lake Falls high school at the Robert Matzke Gym from June 5-9, 2017.
The camp is open to any boys or girls who are currently in grades K-11. The camp is set up to run from 8:00 a.m. until 11:30 for grades 6-11 each morning, and from 12:00 noon until 3:30 p.m. for grades K-5. The cost of the camp is $60 with a maximum cost per family of $100. If you register before May 20th, you will also receive a camp T-shirt. After May 25, ALL SINGLE REGISTRATION FEES WILL BE $70 AND THE MAXIMUM COST PER FAMILY WILL BE $120, DUE TO CAMP PREPARATION AND AWARD ORDERS.
NOTE: by request, 6th graders may come in the morning, afternoon, or both for one price.
Cut on the dotted line and return the following to: Steve Philion, 518 Champagne Ave., Red Lake Falls, MN 56750. (218-253-2499). E-mail:
Make checks payable to: Lace ‘em Up basketball camp


Name____________________________________ Grade in 2016-2017________________
(grade just completed)
I was a 6th grader this year and would like to come: (circle one) MORNING   AFTERNOON    BOTH

T-shirt sizes: Please circle one:

Youth sizes: EXTRA    SMALL    SMALL    MEDIUM    LARGE



MALE____________ FEMALE____________

I, the parent of the above student agree to allow my child to participate in the 2017 “Lace ‘em UP basketball camp in Red Lake Falls. I also understand that the camp director, the City of RLF, and the RLF school district are not responsible for any injuries or accidents that my child might occur.

SIGNATURE OF PARENT OR GUARDIAN:_______________________________________


There has been a lot of interest from people after we posted this so we will post it again.  If you have any info on Pirate sports records or want to help tracking them down read below!

Crookston High School, namely Ed Nelson, has been working on getting all the records for the Pirate Sports teams updated and it has been a process.  Ed is looking for any records, stats, state participants, etc from the following sports.

Boys Tennis
Girls Tennis
Girls Soccer

If you have Crookston Times articles with information, yearbooks with team and/or individual records, scrapbooks, or anything with any information that you might think would be of interest to Ed email him at

With that said we have links to the Crookston Pirate records pages for the following sports.  If you see something that is incomplete, or maybe an updated record let Ed know at the above email address.  I have listed the team and click on the team to see their records. 

Here is an update on the various sports covered by the website as of December 1, 2016

Sports that are done and will not change without additional information:

Boys’ Basketball
Girls’ Basketball
Boys’ Golf
Girls’ Golf
Boys’ Soccer (Poor or no records were kept over the years.)
Girls’ Soccer
Boys’ Track & Field
Girls’ Track & Field
Girls’ Hockey will be complete by the end of 2016 and join the above.  I am currently looking for “Team:  Game” and “Player: Game” records for the first 5 years of the program.

Sports being worked on:
Baseball (Justin Johnson is doing the research and has completed the last 16 years)
Boys’ & Girls’ Tennis (Mike Geffre has the information and is scanning everything.  When he is done, the records will be posted.)

Sports not yet started:
Football (I will be starting Football this winter.)
Boys’ Hockey (Frank Fee has agreed to research the records.) 


Fall Sports -
Boys Soccer       Girls Swimming      Girls Soccer      Volleyball

Incomplete records    
Girls Tennis         Football                  

Winter Sports -
Boys Basketball           Girls Basketball          Boys Hockey         Girls Hockey         Wrestling

Spring Sports-
Softball            Boys Track        Girls Track         Boys Golf         Girls Golf      -

Incomplete records 
Boys Tennis         Baseball

Sports that are no longer offered-
Boys Swimming           Girls Cross Country           Boys Cross Country


JOKES (Do you have any good jokes - email them to and I will put them in the feever


A New York attorney representing a wealthy art collector called his client.

"Chuck, I have some good news, and I have some bad news."

The art collector from Crookston replied, "I've had an awful day. Give me the good news first."

The lawyer said, "Well, I met with your wife today, and she informed me that 

she just invested $5,000 in two pictures that she thinks will bring a minimum 

of $15 million to $20 million, and I think she could be right."

Chuck replied enthusiastically, "Well done! My wife is a brilliant businesswoman! You've 

just made my day. Now I know I can handle the bad news. What is it?"

The lawyer replied, "The pictures are of you and your secretary."


Every day, a male employee walks up very close to a female co-worker at  the  coffee machine.  He stops, inhales quite deeply and says that her hair smells nice.

After a week of this, the woman can't stand it anymore.  She takes her  issue  to a supervisor in Human Resources and asks to file a sexual  harassment  grievance against the guy. 
The supervisor is puzzled and asks, "What's threatening about a co-worker  telling you your hair smells nice?" 
"It's Frank.  The midget."


Some days................

A customer asked, "In what aisle can I find the Polish sausage?"

The clerk asks, "Are you Polish?"

The guy, clearly offended, says, "Yes I am. But let me ask you something.

If I had asked for Italian sausage, would you ask me if I was Italian?

Or if I had asked for German Bratwurst, would you ask me if I was German?

Or if I asked for a kosher hot dog would you ask me if I was Jewish?

Or if I had asked for a Taco, would you ask if I was Mexican?

Or if I asked for some Irish whiskey, would you ask if I was Irish?"

The clerk says, "No, I probably wouldn't."

The guy says, "Well then, because I asked for Polish sausage, why did you ask me if I'm Polish?"

The clerk replied, "Because you're in Hardware Hank."


How are former Crookston Pirates athletes doing in college or elsewhere?

Joe Koenig is playing baseball at Northland Technical and Community College.  The Pioneers went 0-4 last week and will host Central Lakes Community College for a double header today (Wednesday) and take on the UMC Golden Eagle J.V. team on Saturday.  They will travel to Fergus Falls on Sunday and host Ridgewater on Tuesday.

Aaron Hollcraft is playing baseball for the University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles.   Aaron pitched 1.1 innings in an 8-6 victory over Upper Iowa on Saturday.  He had one strike out and didn't give up a hit or a run and dropped his ERA to 5.91.  UMC hosts St. Cloud State for a double header today and will host Minnesota Duluth on Saturday and Sunday.

Brandon Kresl is playing baseball for the University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles.  Brandon was 1-1 with an rbi in a victory in the first game vs Upper Iowa on Saturday and in game two he was 0-1 and is now batting .385.  UMC hosts St. Cloud State for a double header today and will host Minnesota Duluth on Saturday and Sunday.

Paul Bittner is playing hockey for the defending AHL Calder Cup champion Cleveland Monsters and affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Paul didn't play in a 5-4 victory over Manitoba on Thursday and didn't play in a 1-0 loss to Manitoba on Friday.  Cleveland just missed the playoffs and their season is complete.

Mark Bittner has signed a contract to continue to play hockey for the Pensacola Ice Flyers in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL).  Pensacola beat Fayetteville 3-1 and 2-1 to sweep the first round SPHL playoff series and advances to the semi-finals where they host Macon tonight (Wednesday) and travel to Macon on Friday and if necessary they play at Macon on Saturday.

Doug Larson plays hockey for the Brookings Blizzard in the NAHL junior hockey league.  Doug had three shots on goal in a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Wilderness on Friday in the first round of the NAHL playoffs and had an assist in a 4-3 victory on Saturday to tie the series at 1-1.  The series will resume on Friday and Saturday in Brookings and head back to Minnesota on Monday.

Cody Wardner is playing junior hockey for the Dryden Ice Dogs in the SIJHL.  Dryden beat Fort Frances 4 games to none to win the first round playoff series.  In the second round, Dryden leads English River 3 games to none.  On Saturday, in game two of the series, Cody didn’t score in a 3-1 victory and he didn’t score, but had two penalty minutes in a 8-2 victory on Tuesday.  Dryden will look for a sweep on Thursday in game four.  If Necessary, game five will be in Dryden on Saturday and they will head back to English River for game five on Monday.  If Dryden wins the series they win the SIJHL and the Bill Salonen cup and advance to Trenton, Ontario as one of 18 teams in the CJHL to play for the Dudley-Hewitt Cup

Bobby Tiedemann is playing tennis at St. Mary's University in Winona.  St. Mary's has been off for a week and will wrap up the regular season when they host Northwestern tonight and travel to St. Johns on Saturday. 

Lilli Denison is playing tennis at Hamline.  Hamline was off last week and will host Wisconsin-River Falls today (Wednesday), host Macalester on Saturday and Wisconsin-Stout on Sunday.

Patrick Deng is a freshman running track for Augsberg.  They will be participating in the Concordia-St. Paul invite on Saturday.

Marietta Geist is a freshman running track for Carleton College.  Marietta finished 16th in the 1500 with a time of 5:00.35 at the Hamline meet on Thursday.  Carleton will host the Carleton Relays on Saturday.

Alec Boike is a senior captain on the Concordia College Men's Track team.  The Cobbers were off the past week and will compete at NDSU on Friday and Saturday.

Wyatt Hanson is a senior and playing golf at St. Cloud State.  St. Cloud State finished second place at the NSIC tournament and Wyatt finished tied for 34th individually with a three round total of 239.

Isaac Westlake is a freshman playing golf at Winona State.  Isaac didn't compete at the NSIC Championships where Winona State finished in fourth place.

Erica Samuelson is a member of the University of Wisconsin Pep Band and Marching Band.
Matt Harris, is an Assistant Athletic Director and assistant basketball coach at Arizona Christian University in Phoenix, Arizona.

Marty Bratrud is the Activities Director at Valley City High School.
Gordie Haug is an assistant football coach at the University of Wyoming
Mike Hastings is the Minnesota State Mankato Men's head Hockey coach
Mike Biermaier is the Athletic Director at Thief River Falls High School
Stephanie (Lindsay) Perreault works with the North Dakota State stats crew for Bison football and volleyball and basketball in the winter. Stephanie’s husband, Ryan, is the assistant director for the Bison media relations 
Jason Bushie is the hockey athletic trainer at Colorado College
Chris Myrold is a Tennis Pro on Nevis Island in the West Indies
Kyle Buchmeier
 is a Tennis Pro at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis
Erika Wheelhouse
 is serving in the Peace Corp in the Philippines.
Jarrett Butenhoff is serving our country with the U.S. Navy
Joshua Butenhoff is serving our country on a Submarine with the Pacific Fleet with the US Navy.
Alan Mart, 2009 Crookston High School graduate, is currently serving his country for the US Army as a Cavalry Scout in Afghanistan.
Peter Cournia is a 2002 Crookston High School Graduate and also a grad of West Point and is currently is serving in the U.S. Army.
Erik Ellingson is serving our country with the U.S. Air Force Iraq
Philip Kujawa class of 2004 from Crookston Central is stationed at Hohnfels in Germany for the next 2 or 3 years.
Scott Riopelle is head of Crookston Parks and Recreation
Rob Sobolik is the General Manager of the Fargodome



That’s it for this week.  Thanks for the comments and if you have anything to add or share, please e-mail or call.  Thanks for reading and listening to KROX RADIO and


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