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Sportsline: Northern Michigan says no to WCHA

Northern Michigan has turned down an invitation to join the WCHA preferring to stay in the more geographically compact CCHA in years to come.

Northern and Nebraska Omaha were reportedly the two schools being pursued by the WCHA should it expand to 12 teams in the future. Bemidji would become the 11th.

Northern once played in the WCHA from 1986 to 1997 but returned to the CCHA the following year.

Increased travel costs for the far flung WCHA and lost school time were cited as the major reasons to decline the bid.


Derek Hanson, who earned All American honors in Division III hockey play, announced last week, is the son of Gregg and Debbie Hanson, owners of the Bemidji Transfer/United Van Lines.

He was wrongly associated to a different Gregg Hanson family in last week's Sportsline.

Player of the Year

Grand Rapids' basketball star Brynn Joki has been named the Hibbing Tribune's Player of the Year for the Range.

Joki,, a 6-1 forward, is the daughter of Beth Joki, the long-time Grand Rapids cage coach who still serves as assistant to Dave LaCoe.

The honor was won in 2006 by her older sister Erin, now playing volleyball for UND. Brynn will go to NDSU next winter on a volleyball scholarship.

Her fellow part player for the Hawks, Jessie Cagle, will go to Minnesota on a track scholarship after winning the state discus title last spring.

Plys to Olympics

Duluth curler Chris Plys has been added to the U.S. Olympic rink as an alternate.

He will join fellow Duluthian John Shuster's rink at Vancouver next winter for the Winter Games.

Plys won five straight U.S. Junior titles and one World Championship before moving into the adult ranks.

Shuster once curled lead on Bemidji's Pete Fenson national champion and Olympic medal winning rink.

USA wins Silver

The Paul Pustovar rink of Hibbing captured the Silver medal at the World Senior Championships in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Canada scored once in the eighth and final end to shade the Americans 4-3 in the title match.

It marked the sixth world title for Canada and the fifth time USA has gained the Silver. It was the second straight Siler for Pustovar.

The US won the inaugural senior crown in 2002.

Fun of the Game

Charlie Brown is not on the mound., Lucy VanPelt does not play right field nor Snoopy patrol shortstop.

Yet the Foley Outlaws of the Victory League much resemble the famed Peanuts baseball nine.

When the team fell to Pierz Bulldogs 11-4 last week it dropped to a record of 0-80 in its six years of league play. Thirteen walks proved its downfall against Pierz.

The 16 players, however, say they get sheer enjoyment out of just playing the game each Sunday and care little or nothing about the results.

HOF tickets

The 9th annual Bemidji High School Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet will be held May 18 at the Commons.

Five new members will be inducted, four players and one coach

Also to be named is the Lumberjack Award winner which goes each year to a long time supporter of BHS sports.

Tickets for the event are $12 and on sale at the activities office at the high school during school hours.

Also to be announced that night are the male and female Athletes of the Year along with the annual sports scholarship winners.

Team captains and senior lettermen will also be recognized.

Cass Lake softball

The annual Leech Lake/Pepsi slowpitch softball classic will be staged May 23-24 at the Veterans Memorial Grounds in Cass Lake,

The entry is $120 for both men's and women's divisions. Entries should be mailed to Henry Harper, Box 295 Cass Lake 56633.

Track & Field Day

The elementary Track & Field Day with the Bemidji High school coaches and athletes will be held May 21 at 4 p.m. at the high school track.

The young athletes will receive instruction in proper stretching and warm-ups and competitive tips for their special events.

It will prepare the runners for the city elementary track meet May 27. The registration fee of $25 will include a Bemidji track shirt along with food and beverages following the clinic.

The registration cutoff is May 14, For further information contact coaches Chris Lehman ad 368-2108 or Ryan Aylesworth at 766-1085.

Walker complex

The WHA school hosted the grand opening Friday of its new softball diamond.

 The baseball-softball complex has been growing since 2001 as funds became available. The first field, a softball diamond, is now completed and was inaugurated with a twin bill against Kelliher-Northome following the ceremony.

Kelliher programs

Kelliher will sponsor a baseball/softball/T-ball program this summer for boys and girls starting with 4-6 year old T Ball.

T-Ball and Midgets (7-9) will play Monday and Wednesday night. The Little League (10-12) program will run Tuesdays and Thursdays with softball times to be determined by the signup. Registrations should be returned to the Kelliher school office by May 18. First practices will be June 8 and the first games June 15. Call Diane Jones at 647-8914.

Baseball ratings

Maple Grove, Luverne and New Ulm Cathedral top this week's state baseball rankings in Class 3A, 2A and A.,

Brainerd is 13 in Class 3A. St Cloud Cathedral is seventh and Rocori ninth in 2A while Red Lake County is seventh Chisholm eighth and Deer River 11 in Class A with Fosston 15 and Remer 20.