letter from Jack Connolly to Minnesota Hockey

Older Topics, Not the current discussion

Moderators: Mitch Hawker, east hockey, karl(east)

elliott70
Posts: 13056
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 3:47 pm
Location: Bemidji

letter from Jack Connolly to Minnesota Hockey

Post by elliott70 » Fri May 11, 2012 2:18 pm

May 7, 2012:

Dear Minnesota Hockey:

I recently had the honor and privilege of being named the 2012 Hobey Baker Award Recipient as the top men’s college hockey player. Wow! Just typing that sentence and reading it over and over causes all kinds of wonderful emotions and thoughts in my head. But more so than anything, it makes me realize how fortunate I am to be from Minnesota, especially Duluth.

I put my skates on for the first time in the warming house at the Duluth Heights outdoor rink when I was four. And some of the other four year old kids that were putting their skates on for the first time next to me in the warming house that winter are still some of my best friends today, 18 years later. We grew up on the outdoor ice rinks and then eventually the indoor ice rinks in the Duluth area. My friends and I are extremely lucky to have been coached by so many wonderful people who instilled into all of us a passion and respect for the game. I was fortunate enough to play in the state high school hockey tournament and eventually play for my hometown Bulldogs, being part of a memorable team that won the school’s first National Championship. But it all started with the foundation that was built for me by the community hockey system that Minnesota has.

In recent years, I’ve been able to play on teams with players from all over North America. After talking about our childhood hockey experiences, I quickly realized that hockey elsewhere is not quite like hockey in Minnesota. As a mite and squirt playing for Duluth Heights, all I wanted to do was beat the other Duluth neighborhood teams including Piedmont Heights, Glen Avon, Portman, Congdon Park, Woodland, etc. Then at the PeeWee and Bantam level I played for Duluth East, which increased my list of rivals to places such as Cloquet, Grand Rapids, and Hibbing. Then came high school hockey at Duluth Marshall and games against Hermantown. The only thing better than a high school game against Hermantown was a win against Hermantown! All of this was done with my friends. All of this was done while living in the same house where I’d fall asleep as a four year old dreaming about hockey. All of this was done while continuing to play soccer at a high level throughout high school. No, I didn’t join an all-star team of 10-year old kids in the winter and go to tournaments in Quebec City or Buffalo. I played with kids from across the alley and down the street and went to a big road trip was a tournament in Coleraine. I didn’t move away at age 14 to pursue my hockey dreams. Instead I stayed home to play the game I love with my friends, and had a blast doing it!

I did develop. I developed as a hockey player and as a person. And for that I want to thank everyone who is involved in hockey in Minnesota. The coaches at Duluth Heights that picked me up when I fell as a four year old. The people connected with Minnesota Hockey that oversee all of the community associations in the state. I truly appreciate all that you have done for me and for other young hockey players in Minnesota. I encourage you to keep doing it because hockey in Minnesota works and is indeed special. From the bottom of my brand new Hobey Baker award, thank you!!

With Thanks,

Jack Connolly

cigar
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:01 pm

Post by cigar » Fri May 11, 2012 3:53 pm

classy

defense
Posts: 1263
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: right here

Post by defense » Fri May 11, 2012 8:19 pm

All of Minnesota hockey should read this very carefully then take some time to think about it.
nice work.

O-townClown
Posts: 3622
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 12:22 pm
Location: Typical homeboy from the O-Town

Post by O-townClown » Fri May 11, 2012 8:32 pm

Well, I'm glad the first two responses to this post are positive. So much of the discussion from some on this board seems to be focused on erosion of the community-based hockey model he praises.
Be kind. Rewind.

stpaul
Posts: 1074
Joined: Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:26 am

Jack Connolly

Post by stpaul » Sat May 12, 2012 12:34 am

Absolutely wonderful heartfelt letter. Couldn't help but notice his great community hockey experience playing with his friends included going to a private high school.

The Insider
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:49 pm

Post by The Insider » Sat May 12, 2012 12:04 pm

What a total class act. Minnesota should thank him. Well done sir

EREmpireStrikesBack
Posts: 5140
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 3:28 am
Location: Minnesota

Post by EREmpireStrikesBack » Sat May 12, 2012 10:38 pm

Great post E70 and even better letter Jack.

:idea:
Elk River AA State Champions- 2001 Boys & 2004 Girls

woodley
Posts: 162
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 8:14 am

Post by woodley » Sun May 13, 2012 8:23 am

From the Hobey Baker website:

Hobey Baker Award Criteria


1. Candidates must exhibit strength of character both on and off the ice.

2. Candidates must contribute to the integrity of the team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game.

3. Consideration should be given to scholastic achievement and sportmanship.

4. Candidates must comply with all NCAA rules: be full time students in an accredited NCAA college or university; and complete 50% or more of the season.

I love that strength of character is #1! After reading this letter, any questions about why this young man won the award? I have none. Thanks, Jack, for being such a shining example of character and integrity in this game we love so much!!

greybeard58
Posts: 1965
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:40 pm

Post by greybeard58 » Sun May 13, 2012 10:50 pm

Great letter should be placed in every arena in the state!

stopper1
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:08 am

Post by stopper1 » Mon May 14, 2012 7:54 am

Great letter!! Every kid thinking about leaving high school early to play in the USHL, NAHL, Etc should read this letter. Players can and will develop playing high school hockey. Plus it would be nice to have all of our eligiable players players this great game at the high school level and put some pride back into what school your playing for and not who your playing for or with.

old goalie85
Posts: 3696
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:37 pm

Post by old goalie85 » Mon May 14, 2012 1:03 pm

Outstanding.

Mailman
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:08 pm

Post by Mailman » Mon May 14, 2012 1:15 pm

stopper1 wrote:Great letter!! Every PARENT thinking about HAVING THEIR KID leave high school early to play in the USHL, NAHL, Etc should read this letter. Players can and will develop playing high school hockey. Plus it would be nice to have all of our eligiable players players this great game at the high school level and put some pride back into what school your playing for and not who your playing for or with.
Changed it for you :wink:

luckyEPDad
Posts: 416
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:31 pm

Post by luckyEPDad » Mon May 14, 2012 2:51 pm

Mailman wrote:
stopper1 wrote:Great letter!! Every PARENT thinking about HAVING THEIR KID leave high school early to play in the USHL, NAHL, Etc should read this letter. Players can and will develop playing high school hockey. Plus it would be nice to have all of our eligiable players players this great game at the high school level and put some pride back into what school your playing for and not who your playing for or with.
Changed it for you :wink:
Wrong audience. I doubt the parents to whom you refer spend much time thinking how great it would be for their kid to receive the Hobey Baker award. Jack signed to play in the Swedish Elite league. Other recent recipients are in the AHL. Few recent Hobey Baker recipients are having any impact on the NHL.

Why not leave it at at "Congratulations Jack". I can't imagine making a Div 1 hockey team let alone being chosen over 1000+ players for this award. But don't take the award as proof of anything that it isn't. Perhaps his star would rise even higher if he had left Minnesota HS hockey behind. This is his accomplishment, not ours.
Last edited by luckyEPDad on Mon May 14, 2012 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rainier
Posts: 1586
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:30 pm
Location: Earth

Post by rainier » Mon May 14, 2012 3:07 pm

luckyEPDad wrote:
Mailman wrote:
stopper1 wrote:Great letter!! Every PARENT thinking about HAVING THEIR KID leave high school early to play in the USHL, NAHL, Etc should read this letter. Players can and will develop playing high school hockey. Plus it would be nice to have all of our eligiable players players this great game at the high school level and put some pride back into what school your playing for and not who your playing for or with.
Changed it for you :wink:
Wrong audience. I doubt the parents to whom you refer spend much time thinking how great it would be for their kid to receive the Hobey Baker award. Jack signed to play in the Swedish Elite league. Other recent recipients are in the AHL. Few recent Hobey Baker recipients are having any impact on the NHL.

Why not leave it at at "Congratulations Jack". I can't imagine making a Div 1 hockey team let alone being chosen over 1000+ players for this award. But don't take the award as proof of anything. Perhaps his star would rise even higher if he had left Minnesota HS hockey behind. This is his accomplishment, not ours.
Or perhaps his star would have flamed out and crashed to earth, in addition to not being able to play in his hometown with his friends in high school.

Hockey North
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 2:23 pm

Post by Hockey North » Mon May 14, 2012 3:12 pm

luckyEPDad wrote: Why not leave it at at "Congratulations Jack".
Yeah, why dont you just leave it at that instead of being a douchebag with the rest of your comments.

Napalm187
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:13 am

Post by Napalm187 » Mon May 14, 2012 3:41 pm

This is a great letter and congratulations to Jack for all his accomplishments. I enjoyed watching him play at UMD. He has been one of the best college players for the last 2-3 years.

If he played Duluth East as a Pee wee and Bantam...how is that not being a "traitor" as so many of the association pride people on here would have you believe? I could care less what any kid wants to do with his hs, college,junior or pro career. That is why this is America, a free country. But do you really think all of his "neighborhood buddies" came with him to Marshall? How do you think Mike Randolph feels about this? If Connolly had been at East in high school he probably would've been the player to put them over the hump and win the state title. During those years East was always at State and always played teams hard...but were always missing a little star power and scoring. Don't you think Connolly coulda been that guy? I'm sure some of his buddies went to East and they could've used him. That is my point. That is his hometown association.

How is this any different from Besse leaving Wayzata to play for BSM? Don't you think they could've used him there the last couple of years and maybe put them over the hump in the Lucia/Camarensi year two years ago?

luckyEPDad
Posts: 416
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:31 pm

Post by luckyEPDad » Mon May 14, 2012 4:03 pm

Hockey North wrote:
luckyEPDad wrote: Why not leave it at at "Congratulations Jack".
Yeah, why dont you just leave it at that instead of being a douchebag with the rest of your comments.
I'm not the one riding his coat tails and claiming his accomplishments are due to our great hockey model instead of his own abilities and hard work.

luckyEPDad
Posts: 416
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:31 pm

Post by luckyEPDad » Mon May 14, 2012 4:36 pm

I like hockey, and I like hockey in Minnesota, but the completely twisted concept of community hockey loyalty is a poison. We take something that worked great for small town Minnesota and try to scale it to rediculous levels. How many boys play mite hockey in Edina? How many will play for Edina HS? Where is Edina's loyalty to those players? Yet if you are a top player in Edina it is treason to play for a private or for a development league. Loyalty that goes only one way is servitude.

Sats81
Posts: 2733
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:29 am

Post by Sats81 » Mon May 14, 2012 5:15 pm

luckyEPDad wrote:I like hockey, and I like hockey in Minnesota, but the completely twisted concept of community hockey loyalty is a poison. We take something that worked great for small town Minnesota and try to scale it to rediculous levels. How many boys play mite hockey in Edina? How many will play for Edina HS? Where is Edina's loyalty to those players? Yet if you are a top player in Edina it is treason to play for a private or for a development league. Loyalty that goes only one way is servitude.
Sure I'll get flamed for this, but VERY good post. Have to agree w/luckyEPDad here. Jack Connolly is clearly a class act, was a tremendous hockey player at the HS and College level, and will hopefully have a nice career at the next level,but at the end of the day, the answer for a lot of elite, young players isn't MN HS hockey. I could go on all day here with a list of GREAT hockey players who played in the youth programs in MN, MN HS hockey and went on to successful college or pro careers, but for the vast majority of kids these days they need that exposure at a higher level w/more games/better competition.

Jack Connolly probably would have ended up being an elite div 1 college hockey player regardless of whether or not he stayed in HS, went to the USHL, Ann Arbor, etc. For most kids this isn't the case.

Mailman
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:08 pm

Post by Mailman » Mon May 14, 2012 6:28 pm

luckyEPDad wrote:
Mailman wrote:
stopper1 wrote:Great letter!! Every PARENT thinking about HAVING THEIR KID leave high school early to play in the USHL, NAHL, Etc should read this letter. Players can and will develop playing high school hockey. Plus it would be nice to have all of our eligiable players players this great game at the high school level and put some pride back into what school your playing for and not who your playing for or with.
Changed it for you :wink:
Wrong audience. I doubt the parents to whom you refer spend much time thinking how great it would be for their kid to receive the Hobey Baker award. Jack signed to play in the Swedish Elite league. Other recent recipients are in the AHL. Few recent Hobey Baker recipients are having any impact on the NHL.

Why not leave it at at "Congratulations Jack". I can't imagine making a Div 1 hockey team let alone being chosen over 1000+ players for this award. But don't take the award as proof of anything that it isn't. Perhaps his star would rise even higher if he had left Minnesota HS hockey behind. This is his accomplishment, not ours.
Thanks for the unnecessary lecture. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with my post.

luckyEPDad
Posts: 416
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:31 pm

Post by luckyEPDad » Mon May 14, 2012 7:21 pm

Mailman wrote:
luckyEPDad wrote:
Mailman wrote:
stopper1 wrote:Great letter!! Every PARENT thinking about HAVING THEIR KID leave high school early to play in the USHL, NAHL, Etc should read this letter. Players can and will develop playing high school hockey. Plus it would be nice to have all of our eligiable players players this great game at the high school level and put some pride back into what school your playing for and not who your playing for or with.
Changed it for you :wink:
Wrong audience. I doubt the parents to whom you refer spend much time thinking how great it would be for their kid to receive the Hobey Baker award. Jack signed to play in the Swedish Elite league. Other recent recipients are in the AHL. Few recent Hobey Baker recipients are having any impact on the NHL.

Why not leave it at at "Congratulations Jack". I can't imagine making a Div 1 hockey team let alone being chosen over 1000+ players for this award. But don't take the award as proof of anything that it isn't. Perhaps his star would rise even higher if he had left Minnesota HS hockey behind. This is his accomplishment, not ours.
Thanks for the unnecessary lecture. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with my post.
Oh, so you weren't implying that it is hockey parents pushing their kids out of the state?

Mailman
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:08 pm

Post by Mailman » Mon May 14, 2012 7:46 pm

luckyEPDad wrote:
Mailman wrote:
luckyEPDad wrote:
Mailman wrote:
stopper1 wrote:Great letter!! Every PARENT thinking about HAVING THEIR KID leave high school early to play in the USHL, NAHL, Etc should read this letter. Players can and will develop playing high school hockey. Plus it would be nice to have all of our eligiable players players this great game at the high school level and put some pride back into what school your playing for and not who your playing for or with.
Changed it for you :wink:
Wrong audience. I doubt the parents to whom you refer spend much time thinking how great it would be for their kid to receive the Hobey Baker award. Jack signed to play in the Swedish Elite league. Other recent recipients are in the AHL. Few recent Hobey Baker recipients are having any impact on the NHL.

Why not leave it at at "Congratulations Jack". I can't imagine making a Div 1 hockey team let alone being chosen over 1000+ players for this award. But don't take the award as proof of anything that it isn't. Perhaps his star would rise even higher if he had left Minnesota HS hockey behind. This is his accomplishment, not ours.
Thanks for the unnecessary lecture. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with my post.
Oh, so you weren't implying that it is hockey parents pushing their kids out of the state?
Note the "leave high school" part. Out of state, in state, whatever, more often than not, it's the parent's doing the pushing.

Seeing as how the player of this thread was long past those days, I'll repeat; your reply had nothing to do with my post.

Surely someone with your expertise already knows this though, eh ?

(I can be arrogant and condescending too......)

luckyEPDad
Posts: 416
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:31 pm

Post by luckyEPDad » Mon May 14, 2012 8:22 pm

Mailman wrote:Note the "leave high school" part. Out of state, in state, whatever, more often than not, it's the parent's doing the pushing.

Seeing as how the player of this thread was long past those days, I'll repeat; your reply had nothing to do with my post.

Surely someone with your expertise already knows this though, eh ?

(I can be arrogant and condescending too......)
You think parents who push their kids out of highschool hockey for development are going to care much about the Hobey Baker or their child's fond memories of youth hockey? If anything they'll use Jack Connolly as an example of how association hockey doesn't work and playing Div 1 hockey is an uncertain path at best if your goal is to play in the NHL.

On a tiny bit of a tangent. Why wasn't this kid drafted? What the heck does he have to do to get some attention?

Mailman
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:08 pm

Post by Mailman » Mon May 14, 2012 8:33 pm

luckyEPDad wrote:
Mailman wrote:Note the "leave high school" part. Out of state, in state, whatever, more often than not, it's the parent's doing the pushing.

Seeing as how the player of this thread was long past those days, I'll repeat; your reply had nothing to do with my post.

Surely someone with your expertise already knows this though, eh ?

(I can be arrogant and condescending too......)
You think parents who push their kids out of highschool hockey for development are going to care much about the Hobey Baker or their child's fond memories of youth hockey? If anything they'll use Jack Connolly as an example of how association hockey doesn't work and playing Div 1 hockey is an uncertain path at best if your goal is to play in the NHL.

On a tiny bit of a tangent. Why wasn't this kid drafted? What the heck does he have to do to get some attention?
Lol, whatever.

I'm trying to figure out where I mentioned anything about the Hobey Baker, Connolly, etc., etc.

karl(east)
Posts: 6083
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:03 pm
Contact:

Post by karl(east) » Tue May 15, 2012 1:39 am

Napalm187 wrote:This is a great letter and congratulations to Jack for all his accomplishments. I enjoyed watching him play at UMD. He has been one of the best college players for the last 2-3 years.

If he played Duluth East as a Pee wee and Bantam...how is that not being a "traitor" as so many of the association pride people on here would have you believe? I could care less what any kid wants to do with his hs, college,junior or pro career. That is why this is America, a free country. But do you really think all of his "neighborhood buddies" came with him to Marshall? How do you think Mike Randolph feels about this? If Connolly had been at East in high school he probably would've been the player to put them over the hump and win the state title. During those years East was always at State and always played teams hard...but were always missing a little star power and scoring. Don't you think Connolly coulda been that guy? I'm sure some of his buddies went to East and they could've used him. That is my point. That is his hometown association.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but seeing as Connolly played for Duluth Heights, I believe he would have been in the Duluth Central attendance area. Hard to blame him for wanting to get out of that situation.

Also, a minor point, but Duluth East did not make the tournament in what would have been Connolly's junior or senior years.

As for why he has not been drafted, his size and raw athleticism--two things that wouldn't have changed whichever development path he took--have always been strikes against him.

In the end, so much of one's hockey success comes down to 1) genetics and 2) hard work. It's hard to succeed without both. There are plenty of examples of flame-outs who lacked one or both of those traits, no matter which path they took.

I will take up the question on community-based hockey sometime when it is not 2 AM. In the meantime, I certainly hope Jack continues to prove his doubters wrong and catches on somewhere bigger than Sweden. And whatever our thoughts on development models, I hope we can all appreciate his willingness to thank those who helped make him the hockey player he is.

Post Reply