From: Dick Gallien
It is good to hear that hockey boards are finally back by the Lake Lodge. Before TV, outdoor ice from Canada to Northern Minnesota and even Winona (down here in the “banana belt”) was where the action was for many. Those on the East and West ends figure skated — they had no choice — but “Lake Siders” returning from WW2 made their own hockey rink adjoining the Lake Lodge skating rink, putting up their own boards and lights, shoveling the snow, flooding the rink with lake water. It had the best teams in Southern Minnesota; some games were even broadcast on KWNO. We kids played shinny and watched our heroes until the Park and Recreation Department took over and moved the hockey rink to the West End by the shive stacks, thus breaking the lake’s hockey cycle. In 1947, I gave athletic director Vic Gislason a list of those of us who wanted a hockey team. In 1948 we had intramural hockey and in 1949, our first game against Stillwater, which we lost 3-1 with Ken Meinke assisting me. In 1952, the WSHS team (comprised of mostly Lake Siders, with no indoor ice) went to the State Tournament and lost both games by only one goal. Rog Benson went from that team to four years at the “U,” coached in Alaska, and is now back to his original home on Mill Street. You can’t miss Rog’s car with Alaska plates and his hockey history in the back window. At 81, Rog still plays hockey, where as most never play their school sport or blow a note on their school band instrument after graduation; but it does keep them off the streets during their school years, after which the minority of participants join their former classmates as fans in the stadiums or on the couch consuming, while feathering the team owners and a few stars nests. And for you graduates, how about a little ice climbing?