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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

See Yah at The Rink

Former MSU forward Bill Techar and
coach Don Brose on the outdoor rink.
The Minnesota State women's hockey team is scheduled to play the University of Minnesota Jan. 17th in an outdoor game played at TCF Bank Stadium. They won't be the first college team from Mankato to have played some outdoor puck.

The photo to the left looks like it's gone through some sort of Instagram process.   Only it hasn't.  This photo doesn't need any filtering to make it look like something from yesteryear.

Because it is from yesteryear.

The player pictured in the photo, Bill Techar, played hockey for Mankato State for the first four years of varsity hockey from 1969-70 to 1972-73. One of MSU's first "great" players, the Hibbing, Minn., native was team Most Valuable Player, team captain and an All-American as a senior.

On Techar's left is Don Brose, who guided the MSU's men's hockey program in its infancy before it was granted varsity status in 1969-70 until the 1999-2000 season, MSU's first year as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.  Brose coached the Mavericks to a 536-335-79 record in 30 seasons behind the bench.

The picture shows Techar and Brose facing north and in the background is Searing Center which served as a MSU student housing community.  This building is still there, but was converted to an apartment building a decade ago and is now known as Cherry Ridge. Techar is wearing leather gloves and tube skates, while Brose looks dapper in his sport coat and horn-rimmed glasses.

The men's hockey program called the outdoor rink, which was located just off of Glenwood Avenue as it winds its way towards downtown, home for the first four years of club hockey and then from 1969-70 through 1973-74 prior to the opening of Mankato's first indoor rink - the Ice Palace (now called All Seasons Arena). The Mavericks still practice at All Seasons, but play their home games in newly-renovated Verizon Wireless Center.  Verizon seats nearly 5,000 fans and is located adjacent to Riverfront Drive in downtown Mankato.

Don Brose stands where the MSU hockey rink used to sit.
Old Main appears in the background as Brose looks southward.
"When I first came here," said Brose, "there were no outdoor rinks in Mankato and we rented an outdoor rink at Gustavus in St. Peter.  Eventually our first outdoor rink was built on what used to be the MSU football field and this was where we practiced and played for the first few years of varsity hockey."

The flat piece of land that must have been ideal for building a rink, is still there, but sits unused.  Immediately to the north looms Old Main, another remnant of an earlier era, which has been repurposed into a retirement community.

No boards. No lights. No scoreboard or stands.

Just memories from an earlier time.

It's great to be a Maverick.

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