When retiring Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi cleaned out his office it must have been a big job. “I threw away more stuff than you can imagine,” he said. “I am a pack saver and I saved everything. If you had sent me an evil note I had it. I don’t know why I did. …”
The Bruce Smith Golf Classic at Faribault Golf Club that Maturi attended Monday is named after the Gophers only Heisman Trophy winner, Bruce Smith. The tournament began in 1975 and benefitted the University of Minnesota’s Williams Fund. Since 1990 event’s proceeds have been given to three Faribault schools.
Smith, who grew up in Faribault and won the Heisman in 1941, is deceased but his son Scott represented his father on Monday. General chair for the tournament is Bruce Krinke and board members include former Gophers wrestler Dave Henry.
Faribault native Seth Helgeson, who will be a senior for the Gophers next season, said junior forward Nick Bjugstad is quiet about whether he will turn pro or return to the team. Bjugstad will be one of college hockey’s premier goal scorers next season if he doesn’t sign with Florida.
Helgeson said teammates communicate with Bjugstad daily. He described Bjugstad as a humble player who “loves” college and his teammates. “You wouldn’t know he’s going through all this stuff right now,” Bjugstad said. “He’s going through a hard time. There’s pressures out there. I think he knows we’re behind him. He knows that we want him back and I think that maybe that’s a little extra motivation for him to come back.”
The Gophers came within one game this year of playing for the national championship. With most of the team returning, ambitions are high. “I think we could do something special,” Helgeson said. “I think we could repeat what we did last year and maybe go beyond. Going to the Frozen Four and losing to Boston College was a little motivation for next year.”
The Wild, with lagging fan interest and a losing team, face a big draft tomorrow. The franchise needs goal scorers and perhaps came close to making a trade in recent weeks for Minnesota’s first round choice, the No. 7 pick in the draft. The Wild also have draft choices in rounds 2-7.
The draft will be at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The first round starts at 6 p.m. Minnesota time on Friday with the remaining rounds on Saturday. The first round will be televised by NBC Sports Network and Saturday’s rounds can be seen on the NHL Network.
Vikings all-pro defensive end Jared Allen is attending the team’s mini-camp practices this week after missing the recent volunteer Organized Training Activities. Fans may remember, though, that Allen chose to miss OTA’s last year and set a franchise record with 22 sacks, nearly besting the NFL’s record of 22.5 by Michael Strahan. Allen said this week he thinks someone can get 25 sacks in one season.
Prep basketball authority Ken Lien emailed that Nebraska coach Tim Miles offered scholarships this week to 2014 high school seniors Tyus Jones (Apple Valley), Rashad Vaughn (Cooper) and Reid Travis (DeLaSalle). Jones has earned a roster spot on theUSA 17 and under national team that will compete this summer in the world tournament, according to Lien.
Frank White told Sports Headliners the “media has blown out of proportion” the subject of his grandson Royce White flying on airplanes. “He’s been flying since he was 10 years old,” Frank said.
Flying isn’t his grandson’s favorite activity but Frank said last summer Royce accompanied his Iowa State teammates on a trip to Italy and routinely flew on airplanes during the Cyclones’ 2011-2012 season. The two Whites went by car to the Iowa State-Kentucky NCAA tournament game in March because Royce wanted to be at his best and had some anxiety about flying.
The flying issue has followed White during tryouts with NBA teams and likely will be part of NBA draft coverage next week when the former Hopkins High School all-state forward is expected to be selected during the first round.
A private memorial service for George Chapple (Dark Star) was held Monday night at Interlachen Country Club with more than 200 friends in attendance including out- of-towners. Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse emceed and several speakers paid tribute to the former WCCO Radio personality. Included among the speakers was Kansas City baseball announcer Ryan Lefebvre who telephoned Chapple after every Royals game, according to a Sports Headliners source.