Gary Bettman has taken plenty of heat for his part as National Hockey League bench boss for trying to squeeze blood from a stone. Or, more correctly, by making the NHL a winsome property to national sponsors by overseeing the placement of franchises in Sun Belt cities.
An excersice in futility, some would say. Or insanity, in the view of others.
Perhaps, and that would be a discussion for another day.
That’s not to say that hockey in the tropics (relative to the Frozen North, that is) has been a total wash out. Take the Dallas Stars for instance.
If there had been no Stars in Big D (other than on a football helmet), then all those new rinks — The Dr. Pepper StarCenters — that have mushroomed around the Metroplex would never have been built.
Without those rinks, Lindsey Minton wouldn’t be tending goal for UNH. In fact, she couldn’t have taken to hockey in the first place, and what a loss that would be.
Now, you might get an argument from Niagara University shooters, who failed to put a puck behind her in two games last weekend.
Still, she, and her UNH mates, can thank their (we won’t say lucky) Stars for the boost.
“I’d definitely say so,” said Minton, a junior business major. “When I was nine, I was playing for the Stars youth team. I think that’s where everyone starts out in Dallas. Somehow affiliated with the Dallas Stars.
“I remember the first rink I ever played at was a Dallas (Stars) rink. They started popping up all over.”
Minton first popped into one as a four-year-old in the company of her two brothers, one of them older, one of them her twin.
While her sibs got to chase pucks around with the other little guys, Minton gave figure skating a whirl.It wasn’t much to her liking.
“I wasn’t really into ballet or figure skating,” she said. “I decided I wanted to start playing hockey, (instead) because of them. They’re pretty much the reason that I started.”
Once she did, she embraced the game in a big way, working her way through boys teams before she hooked up with her first girls team, the Colorado Select, regularly making the 1,800 mile commute.
“Boys hockey is a lot bigger in Texas now,” Minton said, “but girls hockey is pretty miniscule.”
That would be a more appropriate way to describe her goals against average, unless you prefer to call a 0.98 GAA teensy instead.
Either way, she’s keeping the puck out of the net, and helping to keep the Wildcats (7-2, 1-0) purring in a season in which many thought they might take a step backward.
“I think we are under appreciated,” she said. “All of our top scorers (from last year) are gone. But our freshman class is really stepping up. You couldn’t ask for better kids to come in and fill those roles.
“I think we’re going to get better as we go on, and get used to each other.”
Minton is unsure of what the future holds, and at this point, says she isn’t too concerned about it.
After all, there are still plenty of games to be played and pucks to stop.
If her business acumen is as sharp as her eyesight, she’ll likely have no trouble snatching a career opportunity out of midair.
“I’m still thinking about hockey,” Minton said, “and trying to graduate. I’m not thinking about what’s going to happen.”
NOTES: While Yale hockey player Mandi Schwartz continues to fight the good fight in her two-year battle with leukemia, her fellow Bulldogs continue to lend a large hand.
Saturday, prior to the Quinnipiac/Yale mens contest, fundraising events will be held to help defray the considerable costs associated with Schwartz’s treatment.
At the forefront is “Mandi’s March,” which begins between 10 and 11 a.m. at the trailhead opposite the entry drive to Quinnipiac’s TD Bank Sports Center on Sherman Ave. in Hamden, Conn. Supporters will travel by the human-powered conveyance of their choice down the Farmington Rails-to-Trail Linear Park, a 7.5-mile trek between the two schools’ rinks.
Entry will be by donation, with prizes for each 10th finisher and a special event T-shirt for each participant. A minimum donation of $15 is suggested.
Then, the Annual Yale Club hockey dinner will be held at Sage-Bowers Hall (across from Ingalls Rink) at 5:30 p.m., with proceeds being presented to the Schwartz family.
Anyone interested can find more information here: http://yalebulldogs.com/information/alumni/associations/REVISED_FINAL_Yale-Quinnipiac_Flyer_-1-.pdf