Tri-City Storm Hockey

Today is:

                                     Try Out Camp 2003
                                                                                         by Mardi Anderson

        “Do you have someone trying out?”
        “A son, grandson, nephew?”
        “No, I’m just a fan.”
        “You came all the way from Kearney just to watch the tryouts!?”
        “Yes, I like hockey.”

        That is the way the conversation went several times as we watched the tryout games. The folks I talked to were there to watch a son/grandson/nephew try out. They found it hard to believe that Storm Hockey has such support that fans would go all the way to Blaine, Minnesota, to watch the try outs. But they believe it now.

        It was June 2003 when I watched most of the games through the windows at the end of the rink since long exposure to low temperatures is not a good thing for me. While it was not as good as inside on the bleachers to really watch how each player was displaying his talent, it did provide the opportunity to get acquainted with several parents, some grandparents and even an aunt who we now know will be making a trip or two to Kearney during the coming season.

        As an informal chamber of commerce, I tried to answer questions about Kearney, to give them an idea of the type of community and atmosphere their player would be coming to. You know, schools, host families, part-time jobs, the many autographs to be signed, fan support and attendance at home games, the kids who look up to them as heroes. And, yes, I even warned them about puck bunnies. One player will not be buying a cowboy hat in preparation for coming here. Sam Kilburg, mother of Storm player Brian Kilburg, did her part in helping parents also as she described the motel/restaurant layout and what are the best highways to take from the Minneapolis area to Kearney.

        Watch for the Obermeyers and Liningers, Jake’s parents and grandparents. Warren Lininger says Jake’s mother is his favorite daughter. Then he admitted his other three children are boys. Jake gave his grandpa a Michigan Tech shirt. Of course we know that is where Jake is headed after spending a year or two here in the USHL.

        Little Jacob Dingle, who frequently accompanied Mom and Dad Boguslawski, and sometimes brought his own mom along, to watch David play, is walking (running) now so he gets to start ice skating lessons this winter. Another prospective Storm player in the making.

        The retired Bloomington civil engineer gave me a private lesson, at my request, on the proper pronunciation of the last name of our assistant coach, who happens to be his son. It’s "Rud’-rude" and it is Norweigan. He also said he was the engineer when the Mall of America was built which meant the razing of a hockey arena. Not a popular move, for which he took a lot of flak. But then a new arena was built – where the Wild play – so people are not mad at him any more.

        Although we stayed at the motel where the out of town players stayed, we did not see much of them. They skated, ate and crashed to get as much sleep as they could. Conversations with players were mostly limited to trips from and to the airport. Let me tell you, we have a goalie who is so pumped about coming to play for the Storm, I just hope we can live up to his expectations. He likes the spotlight shining on the opposing goalie when our team scores and really likes the crowd chant after we score.

        What a vacation! How many days until the season starts??


The Rest of the Story as told 13 years later

        The team that Coach Littler assembled that year won the Anderson Cup for earning the most points in the USHL in the 2003-04 season.

        Peter Mannino came from Farmington Hills, MI. He was that goalie who was so excited to play for the Storm. After a successful season, Pete went on to the University of Denver where he was goalie when they won the Frozen Four NCAA championship the following year. After four seasons at Denver, Pete began a seven-year professional hockey career. Most of the time he played for AHL teams and was occasionally called up to the NHL where he played a total of six games for the New York Islanders, Atlanta Thrashers, and Winnipeg Jets. With the beginning of the 2015 season he started his coaching career as assistant coach for the Chicago Steel in the USHL.

        Brian Kilburg came to the Storm from Mendota Heights, MN, and played for three seasons, 2002-2005. Then he went on to the University of Minnesota at Mankato where he majored in economics while playing hockey. After graduating he played for two seasons in the ECHL for the Ontario Reign and the Utah Grizzlies. Since December 2012 Brian has been working in sales in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

        Jake Obermeyer came from Chanhassen, MN. He played for the Storm during the 2003-04 season. After spending a semester at Michigan Tech he returned to Kearney for the remainder of 2004-05 and then stayed for one more season. After spending three years at Robert Morris University, Jake played professionally for six years in the CHL and ECHL. With the beginning of the 2015 season he started his coaching career as assistant coach for the Wenatchee Wolves 18U and Wolverines 14U teams.

        David Boguslawski came from Cottage Grove, MN. He was a member of the Tri-City Storm for three seasons, 2001-2004. Then he went on to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, PA. During his four years there he majored in business management while playing a full schedule of hockey games. After graduating in May 2008 he started working for Aerotek, a staffing and recruiting company in Pittsburg, where he is now a Senior Account Recruiting Manager.

        Tom Rudrud has had a long career as head coach and assistant coach. He had come to the Storm with Coach Bliss Littler in 2003 to be his assistant. They coached together for five years and when Bliss moved on, Rudrud was the Storm head coach for a season before he also moved on. Now he and Littler are together again in Washington as assistant coach and head coach of the Wenatchee Wild in the NAHL.


Revised: 06/17/2016