Watkins scores Teddy Bear Toss goal

Former UND alternate captain Matt Watkins became the third former UND player (to my knowledge) to score a Teddy Bear Toss goal.

Watkins scored the first goal of the game for the Hershey Bears, which set off the Teddy Bear Toss — an event where fans throw teddy bears on the ice, which are collected for children of need.

You can watch Watkins, with his usual mustache greatness going on, comment on the goal here.

News organizations say that nearly 13,000 teddy bears were tossed on the ice.

Chay Genoway and Evan Trupp also have scored Teddy Bear Toss goals in their careers.

Random updates

Some UND buzz in the hockey world today…

There’s a feature in the Edmonton Journal about defenseman Dillon Simpson and his buddy Keegan Lowe — yes, the kid who drove approximately 10 hours from Edmonton to Kenmare, N.D., to pick up Simpson and Matt Frattin after Frattin’s car died. Simpson and Lowe are sons of famous Oilers.

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NHL did a feature on Colten St. Clair, who is lauded by scouts as being very hard working. St. Clair also is a great skater and is tenacious, which makes him effective even if he’s not scoring. Read the article here.

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The Voice of the Vees, Ryan Pinder, interviewed former Sioux Evan Trupp (yes, it’s weird calling him a ‘former’ Sioux). Check that interview out here.

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I also chatted with Pinder earlier this week about UND’s incoming freshmen Brendan O’Donnell and Mark MacMillan. Both played in Penticton last year. Pinder gave a little bit of a background on the players, describing how they are different. He said they have one big similarity, though: “They are both great, great kids. There won’t be any issues with their personalities or attitudes there in North Dakota.”

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The MLB draft was held this week and with 50 rounds, there are always some surprising picks. I was wondering if Sioux defenseman Jake Marto could have been one of those shot-in-the-dark picks. Marto was an outstanding player for Grand Forks Central (he made the GF legion team at age 14 and only struck out 3 times that entire season). He was recruited by Purdue, among others, for baseball. Marto was undrafted out of high school, probably in large part because teams knew they couldn’t sign him anyway. With his college hockey career over, that could have opened the door, but he was not picked.

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My story about former Sioux standout Ken Purpur, who passed away this week, has been posted to the Herald site here.

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Another piece of sad news is that Brad Malone’s grandfather, Bill, passed away this week. The obit says that Bill was quite passionate about hockey. He sure passed that down through the generations.

Trupp shows the X his skills

Evan Trupp had nearly all of the 15,008 on their feet, buzzing early in the third period for a play that didn’t even produce a goal.

Trupp picked up a loose puck at his own blue line, put it on the blade of his stick, and carried it in the air for about 100 feet until he got a scoring chance on the other end. At one point during the rush, Trupp was only holding on to his stick with one hand as he was skating it.

Watch the play here.

During the postgame press conferences, Trupp’s teammates and head coach were asked about the play.

Chay Genoway said: “Yeah…. (pauses while shaking his head and laughing) you guys got to see a little bit of what Trupper can do. We get to see that stuff almost on a daily basis. He’s a pretty special player. You just shake your head. He can do that stuff almost regularly. He tries not to show off too often.”

Frattin then chimed in: “I was breaking to the net there and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if I should pull up or what. He’s been doing things like that. . . he did something like that last year at the Final Five, too. He’s got a creative side. ”

Genoway then deadpanned: “Next time he should score.”

The exchange got the room of reporters to laugh a few times. Then, coach Dave Hakstol was asked about it.

He said: “He’s done so many special and creative things that it doesn’t surprise me, but I’ve never seen him do that. That’s one thing I’ve never seen him do. But he made a great play on it. And the great thing with Evan is that he has a great respect for the game. He competes so hard. He’s not doing it to bring a spotlight to him. He’s just a creative hockey player. He’s got great instincts. You’d have to ask him exactly what he was thinking, but he skated over 100 feet with the puck. It put everybody back on their heels a little bit, including our bench. As you heard Matt comment, he didn’t know what to do, either. It all worked out. You see him go from a play like that to the play he made on the winning goal and you understand what type of hockey sense that Evan has. It’s pretty special.”

For those wondering about the play he pulled off at last year’s Final Five, here it is: