HIBBING — I hope everybody enjoyed their holiday season. Let’s hope 2021 is better than 2020.
It’s already starting that way as high school sports will begin practicing Monday. They were given clearance to start playing games on Thursday, Jan. 14.
That’s progress, isn’t it?
Very much so, but all athletes will have to compete in facemasks, which is a small price to pay to get things going again.
It may take some time to get used to them, but if they wear them in practice, that problem should go away quickly.
It’s going to be weird taking pictures of them, no doubt about that, but it will be nice getting back in the arenas and gyms watching these young athletes compete.
All we had to do was be patient and follow the guidelines. It looks like we’ve done that, but now is no time to let up. If you want your children to play, continue to mask up and social distance. It doesn’t seem like it at times, but things will get better.
It also looks like the Minnesota State High School League wants to host state tournaments again, which is another positive sign.
At least they will have something to play for this season.
Good luck to Scott Perunovich as he begins training camp with the St. Louis Blues.
I don’t know what his chances are of making the team out of training camp, but I do know that he’s one heck of a hockey player. I’m thankful that I got to witness that first hand when he played for the Bluejackets.
If Perunovich makes the big club, he’ll join a select group of former Iron Range hockey players to play in the NHL.
He would be the 11th player from Hibbing to have that chance. Preceding him in the NHL were Adam Johnson, Joe Bretto, Milt Brink, Bob Collyard, Mike Polich, John Polich, Joe Micheletti, Pat Micheletti, Gary Gambucci and Scott Sandelin.
Other Iron Range players to make their mark in the NHL were Matt Niskanen, Mark Pavelich, Alex Goligoski, Rudy Ahlin, Mike Antonovich, Bill Baker, Jack Carlson, Steve Carlson, Jon Casey, Jake Bischoff, Matt Cullen (I know he moved to Moorhead, but he was born in Virginia), Kelly Fairchild, Ken Gernander, Adam Hauser, Mike Karakas, Scott Kleinendorst, Pete LoPresti, Sam LoPresti, Chris Marinucci, John Mariucci, Jeff Nielsen, Kirk Nielsen, Aldo Palazzari, John Gruden, Doug Palazzari, Joe Papike, Mike Peluso, Todd Rohloff, Al Soumi, Frank Brimsek and Steve Wagner. (If I forgot someone, I apologize, but in doing some research on this, this is what I found on the internet. The internet doesn’t lie, does it?)
I will say that that’s quite a contingent of players. There’s a lot of talented players there.
I also want to wish good luck to Johnson.
Johnson had been with the Pittsburgh Penguins the last two seasons. He became a free agent after last season, but with everything up in the air, he decided to move to Sweden to get some games in. That’s a big leap, but he was willing to take it.
Johnson should get back to the NHL for the 2021-22 season.
Speaking of the NHL, that season begins on Jan. 13.
I’m looking forward to seeing the Minnesota Wild play, and hopefully, Perunovich.