Try Out Camp 2003
by Mardi Anderson
“Do you have someone trying out?”
“A son, grandson,
“No, I’m just a fan.”
“You came all the way from Kearney just to watch the tryouts!?”
“Yes, I like hockey.”
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.
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
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
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.