The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

January 20, 2014

Radio man Sullivan returns to Mavs' mic

MANKATO — Mike Sullivan returned to his favorite chair on Friday night.

The radio voice of the Minnesota State men's hockey team has been all but silent since October after a cyst was discovered beneath his vocal chords. Sullivan had surgery to remove the cyst in November.

After missing MSU's first 22 games this season, he was back in his spot in the Verizon Wireless Center press box. Next week, he'll be back on the road with the Mavericks.

Like an athlete returning from knee or shoulder surgery, it took some time to get back to full strength.

"They told me it would be a complete recovery," Sullivan said before Saturday's game against Ferris State at the Verizon Wireless Center. "I worked with vocal therapists and did vocal exercises. Now it's a matter of getting it strengthened."

Sullivan has been calling Maverick games for KTOE since 2000. In his absence, Minnesota State's assistant athletic director for communications Paul Allan handled the road games and KTOE anchor John Maiers called the home games.

"A lot of people stepped forward," Sullivan said. "Everybody came through and pitched in and did a great job."

Sullivan's return came at a perfect time, as his experience had to be useful in calling the Mavericks' series sweep of No. 2-ranked Ferris State. Minnesota State won 6-2 and 4-3, with the second game featuring a fight, more than 200 minutes in penalties and six ejections.

"It was a little different," Sullivan said before Saturday's game. "You feel like it's spring baseball when you're throwing a baseball for the first time, and it hurts. You think, 'Can I do this?' 'What's it going to sound like?' It took a little time to get into (Friday's) game. But things went fast. It was a great game to start with."

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