The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports Columns

July 22, 2013

Hockey alums return to Mankato

David Backes was named to the roster of the U.S. National Team orientation camp on Monday. The camp, which takes place next month in Arlington, Va., will help determine the group of National Hockey League players who will compete in next winter's Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Backes, the former Minnesota State star, 2010 Olympian and current St. Louis Blues standout, has even had his name tossed out as a potential candidate for captain of Team USA.

Backes wasn't the only MSU alum to have a good day on Monday.

In Mankato, several former players, including a pair of NHLers, spent a perfect summer day at their old stomping grounds, participating in the Dan Meyer Blue Line Club Golf Classic at the Mankato Golf Club.

Ryan Carter of the New Jersey Devils and Tim Jackman of the Calgary Flames make a point of returning to their college town when they can, even if each spent just a pair of seasons as a Maverick before turning pro.

"I did what I had to do, but college in Mankato was the time of my life," said Carter, the only MSU alum with his name on the Stanley Cup. "It was awfully fun. I don't know if I was ready to leave personally, especially when I look at the guys who stayed for four years. But it was the right thing professionally."

Carter, 29, has a year remaining on his contract with the Devils, while Jackman, 31, has a year left with the Flames. It will be Jackman's 12th professional season.

"My college experience was second to none," Jackman said. "Nothing has matched it. It's fun to come back and see the town. There are some great memories here."

Carter and Jackman played in a group with former teamamte Aaron Forsythe, who is now a high school hockey coach at Forest Lake. One of Forsythe's former players, C.J. Franklin, is an MSU recruit and will suit up for the Mavericks starting in the fall of 2014.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports Columns
  • Thoma column: Bartlett's failure no surprise — except to the Twins The Jason Bartlett Experiment ended last week with its inevitable failure; the former shortstop aborted his rehab assignment in Fort Myers and retired. The idea that Bartlett would be a ideal bench component was always illogical. That Ron Gardenhire

    April 21, 2014

  • Courrier: There are no winners in MSU football saga Where to start? In 28 years in the business, there has never been a more odd, twisted, rollercoaster story than the Todd Hoffner saga. And that was before he came back to the Minnesota State campus this week, when strange became tragic and the chance

    April 17, 2014

  • Thoma column: Twins are scoring lot of runs; can this continue? The Minnesota Twins entered Sunday's play with the American League's second-highest number of runs scored. And, they haven't had the advantage of hitting off their own pitching staff. OK, it's dreadfully early in the season, far too early to draw co

    April 14, 2014

  • Courrier: Masters is first sign that winter has been conquered Don't know if anybody noticed but it's been a tough winter, with brutal cold and piles of snow that are now just disappearing. If not for an exciting season of local basketball and hockey, it would have an unbearable four months. Minnesota State had

    April 10, 2014

  • Thoma column: We all know the Ryan Braun saga: Winner of the National League MVP award, flunked a drug test, convinced the arbitrator to toss his suspension on the basis that his sample was mishandled, was snagged anyway in the Biogenesis investigation, suspended

    April 7, 2014

  • Focus will be on Mavericks' QBs this spring The Minnesota State football team began its spring practice period this week, 14 workouts in 27 days, trying to see who has been working hard to maintain a starting position and which backups might be ready to get more playing time in the fall. The b

    April 4, 2014

  • Thoma column: For the remade Twins, 2014 looks like more losing The start of the baseball season is supposed to be about fresh beginnings, wide open promises and the hope that springs eternal in the human breast. I'm here to quash that kind of optimism among the followers of the Minnesota Twins. (I strive to be a

    April 1, 2014

  • Shot clock isn't answer for high-school basketball A few weeks back, the state's basketball fans were all riled up that during a state-tournament game, the Hopkins boys spent much of the four overtimes holding the basketball, preferring not to shoot until the final seconds of each extra period in the

    March 28, 2014

  • Thoma column: Projected lineup is Mauer, Arcia and a bunch of outs The Minnesota Twins begin play in earnest in less than a week -- weather permitting -- and wow, do they have lineup issues. They scored 614 runs last season, 13th in the 15-team American League and almost 100 under the league average (702). Justin Mo

    March 26, 2014

  • Thoma column: Perkins extension may not be such a relief over time In the abstract, long-term contracts for relief pitchers are bad bets for teams. Nobody seems to be too concerned about that rule of thumb when it comes to Glen Perkins' new deal with the Twins. The contract, worth more than $21 million in guaranteed

    March 17, 2014

Free Press news updates
Seasonal Content
Featured Ads
AP Video