Minnesota Sports Blog

A short, full life: Jon Beaudry mourned by his family and his basketball players

November 7, 2015 in Minnesota Stories

By Bruce Strand, 2013 Jonathan Beaudry knew he would not have a long life, but that was a secret he guarded fiercely. The former Elk River football and basketball player who died in July at age 37 was always determined to live to the fullest. As a young adult,…

Former Rogers star athlete Brunn dies at age 23

November 7, 2015 in Minnesota Roundups

Joe Brunn, a three-sport standout for the Rogers Royals not long ago, has died at age 23 of drowning. Brunn was a fullback and linebacker on championship…

First reunion for Osseo state champions was a sad one, to mourn a star player Kari Olson

November 7, 2015 in Minnesota Stories

By Bruce Strand, 2004 After they won the state championship in 1989, the Osseo girls basketball team vowed to get together in 2000, at the center jump…

Buhl Bulldogs won 2 state titles, then marched off to World War II

November 7, 2015 in Minnesota Stories

By Bruce Strand, 2003 George "Pecky" Smilanich was a 5-foot-10 guard for the Buhl High School basketball teams that won back-to-back state championships in 1941 and 1942. But in those days, the glory and the games were short-lived. The world was at war. Every…

Art Henngton

Tin Cup Odyssey: Elk River’s Art Hennington completes quest to play all 476 courses in state

November 7, 2015 in Minnesota Stories

By Bruce Strand, 2014 It started as just a pleasant hobby, gradually turned into a lofty ambition, and morphed into a magnificent obsession. Crazy as Art Hennington’s dream seemed, the retired Elk River history teacher made it come true Sept. 25 when he…

Wellstone, the proud wrestling dad

November 6, 2015 in Reflections & Columns

By Bruce Strand, 2002 Paul Wellstone’s enduring image, to me, won’t be the public servant or professor, but rather the passionate father of a wrestler. In 1991, early in Wellstone’s tenure as a senator, his son Mark was one of the stars of the state…

NBA lost its charm for one sports fan

November 6, 2015 in Reflections & Columns

By Bruce Strand, 2002 The NBA doesn’t need any advice from me, I admit that. The NBA’s top stars pocket 10 to 20 million bucks a year and last week’s Nielsen ratings had three Lakers-Kings games in the top eight shows for the week, so the league will…

A fond look back at haybarn basketball

November 6, 2015 in Reflections & Columns

By Bruce Strand, 2014 There’s not a lot of farms in this area, which means very few barns, which means most basketball players around here missed out on haybarn basketball. And that’s too bad. Pickup basketball is especially fun in haybarns two-thirds…

A winning coach couldn’t win over the fans

November 6, 2015 in Reflections & Columns

By Bruce Strand, 2002 Most Viking fans are elated that Dennis Green was ousted Friday, and while you should be careful what you wish for, because it might come true and make things worse, I think the team made the right move. Green was aloof. He was arrogant.…

Cash trumps fairness in section hockey rivalry between Elk River and Duluth East

November 6, 2015 in Reflections & Columns

By Bruce Strand, 2014 Fairness is normally an objective when section tournaments are set up. One exception is Section 7AA boys hockey, where perennial champion Duluth East enjoys a sweetheart deal at the expense of one its top challengers, the Elk River Elks.…