This week's cover: April 14, 2016

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Hockey community rallies for Matt Olson


Several fundraising efforts have raised over $370,000 to support Matt Olson, the Isanti, Minn., native who sustained a severe spinal cord injury on Feb. 21, playing junior hockey for the Chicago Cougars.

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Passing the torch in South Africa

1984 U.S. Olympian Mark Kumpel is helping to grow hockey as head coach of the South African National Team


By John Hamre
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

The 1984 U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team was coached by Lou Vairo. On his staff for the 1984 Winter Olympics, held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, were Dave Peterson, Doug Woog, Tim Taylor and Bob O’Connor. These were legendary coaches within USA Hockey, and each in the midst of their own highly successful coaching careers. Each had some direct or indirect tie to the Upper Midwest and Minnesota, and each are recognized for deep contributions made in developing hockey in the U.S. and beyond.

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U.S. women bring home another gold medal

Team USA proves that creative offense and solid defense are not mutually exclusive


By Jack Blatherwick
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

The U.S. Women’s National Team has now won seven of the last nine IIHF Women’s World Championships, so one might think it’s easy to predict the winner. You’d be wrong. Canada won the first eight championships once the tournament began in 1990; and in the Olympics, after USA won the first gold medal in 1998, Canada won the next four.

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Year-end thoughts


By Kevin Hartzell
Let’s Play Hockey Columnist

• This was my first year ever working with girls. I cannot thank the White Bear Lake High School girls enough for allowing me to be a part of their journey. As a group, they were thoughtful, coachable and extremely smart. I am expecting big things from them in the nearer future, like a state tournament appearance. Our group of senior girls were among the best and most natural leaders I have been around. I had gone into the season wondering how the “non-college hockey- bound” girls would dedicate themselves to the mission. Some of our better and most dedicated players on our team were those girls not planning on playing college hockey.  I learned more than a few things from these young women.

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