[00:00:00] Lance: Hi everyone. And welcome back to the hockey journey podcast. Episode number 44, the Larry Olimb hockey journey presented to you by online hockey training.com. I'm your host coach Lance pitlick. If you're new here, please make sure you subscribe. So you won't miss out on any future episodes. Before we drop a line in the water and start the conversation. If you wanna learn more about me, my hockey experiences, what I know, and most importantly, how I've been helping hockey players get really good with a stick and puck. Just head on over to online hockey training.com and gain instant access to my 10 part video series, where I'll show you everything.
[00:00:46] Lance: Consider it my gift to you. Super excited to have my next guest Larry Olimb on the show. As we were former teammates at the university of Minnesota, where I was privileged to see this guy operate on a daily basis and witness greatness in the. This guy made hockey look effortless, a war road, Minnesota native.
[00:01:04] Lance: Mr. Olimb made a name for himself as he climbed the youth hockey ladder. As someone that can control a game and seemingly score at will. By the time he graduated from this small high school in Northern Minnesota, he would lead the warriors to two state tournament appearances and was awarded Mr. Hockey his senior year, which goes to the top male high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota.
[00:01:25] Lance: In 1987, he was drafted by the hometown Minnesota north stars in the 10th round 193rd. Overall in 1988, Larry would move down to the twin cities and begin his college career at the university of Minnesota, where he continued to show his dominance putting up 24 goals, 56 assists for 80 points in his final college season.
[00:01:47] Lance: When his four years at the U came to an end, he ended up becoming the gopher's all time assist leader surpassing the legendary John Maich. Mr Olimb had a professional career that lasted three years before retiring from the sport. He's married a father of three in the real estate game. And most recently was announced as the new coach for the Orono high school girls hockey team, shout out to the Spartan girls.
[00:02:11] Lance: So we have a lot to chat about ladies and gentlemen, please help me in welcoming Larry Olimb to the show. Big O welcome to the hockey journey podcast. . Thank you, Lance. I'm excited to be here. This is awesome. I know you've had a busy week with your new coaching assignment that you've accepted over at Orono and I'm sure that you've been having to deal with.
[00:02:34] Lance: I heard you on a pod youth hockey hubs podcast the other day, and I'm sure you had some other interviews, but congratulations on that. Before we get rocking, how's Carlin the kids, Nathan Jackson biz, all doing good.
[00:02:48] Larry: they are all doing good. . Thanks for asking they they're excited for me and for this opportunity with the Orono girls and , enjoying the summer and it's been a good one.
[00:03:00] Lance: You going anywhere for the fourth?
[00:03:01] Larry: We are not, we're gonna stick around town here and enjoy all the local festivities that we can and get some ice cream and watch some fireworks. All right. That sounds like a pretty solid weekend. So like I do with all former players big O I wanna take a few steps backwards.
[00:03:18] Lance: Actually a lot of steps backwards. We're not young spring chickens anymore. But let's go back in time and tell the listeners what your childhood was like where you grew up your introduction to hockey and other sports, your parents, brothers, sisters, brothers, I guess give us a snapshot of what it was like growing up. Larry Olimb.
[00:03:37] Larry: I was fortunate to grow up in Warroad. Two older brothers and an older sister. They're all quite a bit older than me. My sister was five and a half years older. My brother's eight and nine. As a young kid, I spent a lot of time with my buddies and friends and , from a hockey perspective.
[00:03:57] Larry: , I was a block away from Cal Marvin and and Cal's 12 kids.
[00:04:03] Lance: Okay. Hold on. Marvin's that? That's a pretty big name up there. Just give a quick little snapshot of, background on them, how important they are to that community up there. And then continue, please go on.
[00:04:16] Larry: The Marvins are world exists for the Mar because of the Marvin family and their business, the windows.
[00:04:23] Larry: Business that has been around for generations and is still around. And so they've been so good to the community. So that's really one side of it. Lance is the the window company that keeps world rocking and rolling. And then the other big part of it is specifically Cal Marvin.
[00:04:40] Larry: So one of the, I guess it'd be that Cal would be second generation, I believe. He and his brothers and sisters, but Cal really never got into the window business Cal was into the hockey business and ran a resort and guide service in the summer and ran the Warroad Lakers for 50 years. And just a little history before that in the fifties, Cal and a couple buddies started the hockey program at the university of North Dakota.
[00:05:07] Larry: So there is a long tradition of hockey and Warroad. So Cal and. Bill and Roger Christian are a couple big names that people know from the 1960 Olympics. And several other. Dan McKinnon played in 56 and Gordy Christian played in 56. So they're, and a lot of the local people really got Warroad into hockey, in the fifties and sixties.
[00:05:30] Larry: And obviously still is today. So I was really fortunate to grow up in Warroad and a block from Cal and Cal, like I said, had 12 kids and the youngest was in my grade, Randy and a great ahead of us was her brother Izzy, Marvin. So Izzy and I grew up, I learned to play hockey on his outdoor rink with him and a few other friends and literally one block away.
[00:05:52] Larry: And we had the alley still to this day is a gravel alley. And I would put my skates on at home. Skate down the alley, hop on the rink hop on the outdoor rink and just play for hours, and that was where we learned and how I learned and young, 5, 6, 7 years old, that's where we spent our time.
[00:06:14] Larry: And then when I got into squirts and peewees, the truth is we talk about, the old days and outdoor ranks and which is a lot of truth to that. And a lot of people, our age had to do a lot of that, but in Warroad, by the time I was a Peewee, we got a second indoor ice sheet, thanks to the, all the local people that are just passionate about the sport.
[00:06:40] Larry: Oh and this was before girls hockey. We had a senior team, we had varsity JB, bantams, peewees and squirts, and mites on the weekends. And we had two indoor ice sheets.
[00:06:50] Lance: Let me just interrupt you too. You unbelievable. You got two indoor ice sheets, but just tell everyone what the population of Warroad
[00:06:59] Larry: , no good point. Good question. Because , it doesn't mean a lot when until I tell you that Warroad has 1700 people so , I had, I graduated with 60 kids in my class and Warroad has grown a little bit, but I think there's still, around 90 maybe in a graduating class today, but all, at that time in 1988, when I graduated high school, Warroad was getting bigger if you will.
[00:07:26] Larry: And that means we had 60 kids. So 30, approximately 30 boys, in each grade. And we had we had two rinks, so there was a lot of opportunity to skate. And of course at that time as we didn't, when we were young, we didn't skate year round. It was just in the winter.
[00:07:41] Larry: But from, October until the end of March into April, we had a lot ice, we skated, every day and had the opportunity to be inside every day. And so I learned hockey and from, with my friends and with all the people and, it was back, and I think it's still this way today.
[00:08:00] Larry: I look forward to getting back with the girls in high school hockey, because as squirts. Every one of us, we looked up to the high school kids, I know we can watch TV and see college and NHL, but it's fun to, it's still fun to the for the younger kids to go watch the high school kids.
[00:08:18] Larry: And we all grew up in our communities hoping someday and dreaming and about being on the high school team and ultimately playing in a state tournament. But so , I grew up with a small group of good athletes. So I was fortunate to be a multi-sport guy. I know you were too, and I know people still are, but it's harder today, but , at that time it was and it was necessary, right.
[00:08:40] Larry: To have multiple sports. We with 60 kids in my class. We couldn't have many sports if you didn't play multiple. So I would say everyone played. two for sure. And most of us played three, was football, hockey, and baseball. We had a couple good golfers and so we, and it was the same guys and that was that's.
[00:09:01] Larry: That was the beauty of Warroad. And for me, growing up in the small town is, as you grew up with the same guys, you played the same, pretty much the same guys, squirts Peewees Bantams high school. It expanded a little bit because you had more than just two years, but , so we had in Warroad, the one thing I love Lance and for a lot of the years and my coaches were the same guys coaching at the squirt Peewee Bantam level.
[00:09:31] Larry: With, without kids like Ron Tru Ron tweet was my squirt coach. A Warroad grew up in Warroad and gave back to the community for years and years, a school teacher and coached the squirt team. And like I said, without a kid on the team and PeeWee's was mentioned the Marvins there's a lot of them, Mike Marvin was our Peewee coach.
[00:09:50] Larry: Mike's you'd know, Mike, a lot of people know Mike is Gigi is Mike's daughter. . Who is obviously an Olympian and gopher and his son. . Yep. His son was a good player and played at St. Cloud. But Mike coached the peewees for years and years. And then Billy Christian was our Bantam coach.
[00:10:10] Larry: And bill was mentioned the 1960 Olympic gold medalist so it was like, I tell people. Not that I should be, I, I shouldn't be, but it's impossible to be cocky growing up in Warroad and thinking you're something special because here's my ban I'm coach at the time. Still to this day, right?
[00:10:30] Larry: The gold, the us has won a gold medal twice 60 and 80. And it's changed now with the NHL players, but I know we're still searching for that, that the third gold medal, but it's a cool story to think about Warroad and the fact that, we've won the Olympics twice the men.
[00:10:49] Larry: There's approximately 40 men that have won a gold medal. And three of 'em are from Warroad, Minnesota population, 1700 that is this.
[00:10:59] Lance: That is crazy. I wanna move up to Warroad right now. . . It's a special place. I love growing up there and it's a lot of people don't realize how far it is from Minneapolis.
[00:11:13] Larry: It's funny and you, you come down and I've been here long enough now that I say Minneapolis or St. Paul or Bloomington, or, but for the first 20 years of my life, it was the twin cities it was all the same. It didn't matter if you were from, if you were from Anka or Burnsville or Minneapolis, you were from the twin cities as far as a person from Warroad.
[00:11:34] Larry: And what I learned coming down here is, when people think up north and a lot of them think Brainard, or . Detroit lakes or Duluth and, Grand Rapids. And it's they are up north. Warroad is a long, still got a long way to go. You get to Grand Rapids, we'd stop at Grand Rapids you're halfway there.
[00:11:54] Larry: Oh . So those people who've went to Grand Rapids. It's a special place, but it takes a while to get there and but it's, it was fun and so bill as my Bantamm coach and not many kids, I was a forward in squirts and peewees and bill thought we don't have that many kids, but if you play defense, you could play even more.
[00:12:13] Larry: You're on the ice even more. So I think you sh you're a defenseman so that's where I started playing defense when I was a Bantam and really stuck there Bantam through high school and, till I got to the U and, we, can we talk about that too, but that was, that's how I became a defenseman and although I do like to take Danny Hendrickson, Darby's little brother he loves to ask me what position I played because I obviously scored points, a lot of points in high school. And I used to, I would tell him, I'd said I play Rover so I line up at defense, but ultimately the goal is two twofold. You wanna prevent the other team, but just as much I wanted to score
[00:12:55] Larry: I think I was pretty involved. I think you had the mentality that I'll give up a couple, I know I'm gonna get three or four
[00:13:03] Larry: . We weren't trying to win two you're right. We weren't trying to win two to one. . It was eight to six was just fine.
[00:13:10] Lance: Let Me ask you this. Because I had a 17 year coaching career at the youth level Why is that a youth hockey? And then I helped out down at Chaska with snuggy for a few years when my son went there through the years, like their early years, if we would play war road, Grand Rapids, like you mentioned, Hermantown Roseau, all these different places up there because you have relationship with guys and you're like, bring a team up.
[00:13:33] Lance: We'll come down next year. Like that. I always thought when I coached one of those games that we were at a disadvantage right out of the gate, because I always thought that the Northern teams cared about the games against city teams, more than the city kids cared about playing the Northern kids.
[00:13:52] Larry: I think that's a fair assessment. And I, , if it's probably still that way today. But , I. I would agree. And for us, it probably didn't happen that often. And it, when Wayzata or Edina or, burnstein, whoever would come up to wareoad, it certainly wasn't rivalry to go play a Northern team.
[00:14:10] Larry: But I think the Northern teams, we all had the same mentality that, we wanna show these, like I said, it's twin cities, right? It didn't matter which suburb you were from. You were all, you were a city team. And we wanted to prove that, that we could play hockey as well or better than the kids from the city.
[00:14:26] Larry: And, as the years have gone it's become harder and harder just from a numbers standpoint. And but you're, I think you're right. I think we did have that mentality that we wanted to show the city team that, that we were better than they are.
[00:14:41] Lance: And there were out. There's always, there might be a couple dips, but like when you, you came through when nest came through, you can just go back in time.
[00:14:51] Lance: There's always that special group that might have got beat up early, but by the time they get to high school they're at the state tournament and they're beaten. I always loved at the state tournament. I don't want to talk about that right now, but I always loved at the state tournament, the high school state tournament, when a Northern team would come down and just win the thing it was awesome.
[00:15:11] Lance: So one thing that I want to touch on before we I ask you, next question is I, like I said, I had relationships with a lot of different coaches that were coaching at squirts and peewees and bantams and we would arrange weekends and stuff. And the one thing that is consistent with. Warroad and Roseau and Grand Rapids, which I think are the big three that people go up to is that when I, if you take the time to go up there and play any of you guys, the hospitality is incredible.
[00:15:43] Lance: We'll have fierce competition, but then after you'll go over and all the war road families would put together a, a potluck dinner and all the city kids and parents can go and have a beer and have some food. That's pretty special. And I'll always remember that about those places up there, especially Warroad and Rosso.
[00:16:06] Larry: I, that, that is special. And I think what happens is, the people in Warroad and Roseau, and they appreciate the fact that you came up because, like you said, most of those years you were coaching in Wayzata. you certainly didn't have to make the trip to Warroad. You got plenty of games in the cities, or wherever, you didn't have to travel to Warroad. So I think Warroad and Roseau are special in that way. And the others would do the same thing too, but it's just an appreciation that you took the time and made the effort to come up and play there. Obviously they're doing it often, coming down to the cities and they so they appreciate that. And they're it's just, it's such part of the culture in those towns. It still is. It has been forever, but hockey is part of the culture of the city. And you'll go to those high school hockey games and the people living in town have been going for years and it's not their kids are playing right.
[00:16:59] Larry: It's just they love hockey and they love high school hockey. And so , I think it's an appreciation for the teams to make that trip up there. One funny story about traveling. When, as you've been up there, it's a drive. So all of our games are tr we play Roseo, that's a 20 minute 20 mile drive and that's the closest game.
[00:17:20] Larry: And then you could go over to Bob that was 36 miles and thie river falls was 80 miles. And that was, those were the close games. So everything else was further away. So there's a lot of travel and funny thing when I first started coaching high school down here, every game was 15 to 30 minutes away.
[00:17:40] Larry: And it was just crazy and the best part. And you'll appreciate this growing up where you did you had the same thing. But at when I started with Wayzata. Armstrong and Wayzata shared the same rink, Plymouth ice center. So our girls in 2000 we played a home and away with with Armstrong and it was in the same building.
[00:18:00] Lance: it's different jerseys. it was different jerseys. You had done that with Cooper and Armstrong, at new hope ice rank,
[00:18:07] Lance: right? , absolutely. That's hilarious. . I, did you ever coach with Chad Nelson because there's a Roseau story. What's the bar that Roseau the Legion
[00:18:19] Larry: or what's the, it's the , it's the VFW across, across the street from the rink.
[00:18:23] Larry: . Just to give,
[00:18:24] Lance: People that aren't from our listeners that aren't from Minnesota. Talk about the hospitality. So a mutual friend of ours, Chad Nelson is up there with the team. I'm not with him, but he told me he. It we're at the VFW in Roseau and it's two 30 in the morning and we can't drive.
[00:18:43] Lance: So we asked for a cab and they're like there's no cabs. This, the bartender, she said I'll get someone to drive you home. Tells Chad and whoever was with him, said your ride's here, it's out front, goes in there and gets in the car. And there , there's a it's it seems like a pretty young kid.
[00:19:01] Lance: So Chad he goes, how old are you? He goes, I'm 14. He said, do you have a license? He goes, I got a tractor license. he? He says, I can get you guys home safe. And he took him home but that's the hospitality of those Northern towns and the great stories. . . So when I know you were a multi-sport athlete and I think when you grew up there that you play other sports, just because to kill time until hockey season starts again. But when did you have that ignition moment when you decided you wanted to be a hockey player and see how good you could become?
[00:19:38] Larry: That's a good question. I think it's one that it really didn't happen for me until I was quite a bit older. And at the time, we just didn't have, we didn't have the the opportunities and the, and that they have today. When I was a, when I was 14, 15 years old , in Warroad, I suppose you might have had it here in the cities, but it wasn't like I could play in a hockey league in the fall or in the spring. So my focus still at that time was well football in the fall and baseball in the spring and but we played so much hockey that, you didn't have to do. I I was, I think I was, I think I was 15 years old the first time I skated in the summer really? Uh Yep. I got invited to a camp out in Colorado and I thought I better get ready for it.
[00:20:30] Larry: So I went to Bemidji to Bob Peter's famous hockey camp and , wasn't Murray went there for a
[00:20:37] Lance: few days. Wasn't Murray Williamson, part of that as well.
[00:20:40] Larry: I didn't know it at the time, but I think you're right. I think Dino's dad Murray was part of that. , probably started it with Bob and. So I did that once that summer, and then went out to Colorado. And but after that then we started to skate a little bit more in the summer, but, we had, I was tell saying before at in high school we had the Lakers. So we, I skated every day. We had practice every day after high school. And even in the fall we started skating, in football season a little bit. And then we'd have practice every day. And then in high school in the evening, we, you go home, you have dinner uh, some people would do homework. Others of us would probably flip the TV on for a couple hours.
[00:21:19] Larry: And then we'd go back to the rink at nine o'clock and skate with the Lakers. And their practice was just a scrimmage was just shin pick up hockey. It was lights versus dark up to five, as many games as you'd wanna. Switch ends and you get to five. And a lot of times there's no goalie, so you're hitting the posts, but those games were as intense as any other games we played.
[00:21:43] Larry: I It wasn't big hitting, but if your team was at four or the other team was at four, you were doing everything in your power to to prevent them from getting them stiff. So we had, so we just skated a lot. We just, we got to play a lot. And that's where the passion for the game came from.
[00:21:58] Larry: And it was just fun. And you're playing with older guys and younger guys and you're just having a good time.
[00:22:05] Lance: I'd appreciate it. If you met my mom punky and she doesn't know anything about the Warroad Lakers. So can you give her an idea, the importance and what that team means to that community back then, especially?
[00:22:21] Lance: Yep. Yep. , they're not around anymore, but they if so Cal, as I mentioned earlier, Cal Marvin would've started the world Lakers. I don't know the date. I know they went 50 years. Wow. And that ended in in the early two thousands. So it was a, it's called senior hockey.
[00:22:36] Lance: It would be like town baseball, right? It's the local guys who are all working for a living, working in the factory or school teachers or, any of the local jobs and maybe some local, some guys from, local areas close by. But , they would. They had a senior team. And for most, I think in the real early years, it might, they played some Deep River Falls and Rozo and the Minnesota teams, but for the, my life growing up in the seventies and eighties, nineties, the Lakers were always in a league with teams from Canada.
[00:23:10] Lance: And it was really typical hockey in the seventies and eighties and nineties, whereas, fighting was part of the game. . . And the difference was these guys weren't getting paid and, or weren't even getting an opportunity to go to the next level. It was like, they're just playing they love the game.
[00:23:28] Lance: . So that it was senior hockey and you're it's not minor pro it's not it's senior hockey. You're. you're just playing because you love the game and Cal loved the game and he'd get, he'd bring in some guys from out of town to, to fill the roster and be competitive.
[00:23:43] Lance: But, I mentioned my Bantam coach, Billy Christian 60 Olympics. So when he came home and was done playing hockey to what, six NHL teams, so guys Americans weren't going on to play much, much pro hockey at that time. So he came back and started with his brother. And brother-in-law a stick company, Christian brothers for all those years.
[00:24:03] Lance: But bill probably played 15 to 20 years of Laker hockey. Wow. Go to work every day and go play in the evening. And I remember it, he played until he was the 40. And the reason I remember that 40 ish, because he played here's another thing for your mom, that it would be hard to believe for a lot of the people.
[00:24:25] Lance: The world Lakers back in the day had a game every four years with the us Olympic team. No way national team. No way. . . So in 1980 I got to watch, so I was 11 years old in January of 1980. I watched the Warroad Lakers with bill Christian and all the local people that I know played against David Christian and Neil Brouton and no way.
[00:24:56] Lance: , there was a joke at the time or the next year or two that Mike Uzi in January, was on the bubble. Maybe he wasn't gonna make, they got to cut two guys right at the end. And he had a big game against the world Lakers . And so they say that kept him on the team and and by 1980, the Lakers weren't competitive.
[00:25:17] Lance: With the Olympic team, but Cal I think ran was the general manager of the, maybe the 56 Olympic team. So he was very involved with USA hockey and back in those days, and like the 60, there weren't many teams to play. So I think Cal did the them a favor and said come and play the Lakers.
[00:25:33] Lance: So every four years they played. And so I got to watch that team that became the miracle on ice up close and personal in our little, rink of that would probably hold 1500 people. We probably got 2,500 in it that day. Wow. But , so we got to watch the Olympics and then in 19, my senior year of high school was was snuggy and Tom Choskey and the 88 team was up in Warroad.
[00:25:57] Lance: Oh, wow. , I sat in the penalty box and Which in the Warroad gardens at the time, the penalty box, there was one penalty box between the two benches between the home and visitor. And so how does that make sense from
[00:26:10] Lance: a hockey community up in Northern Minnesota to have one penalty box? Was that intentional?
[00:26:16] Larry: that's a good question because, and that would go back, I, when the building was, I think built and, must have been built in the fifties. I don't know what I, . Even, there for the young kids, it was no big deal other than, you're probably mad at someone on the other community have to go sit next to 'em, but, even the Warroad Lakers had, like I told you earlier, they were fighting.
[00:26:37] Larry: . So you break up the fight and they would put, they put the guy, the one guy would go in the visitor would go in first. And for the Lakers you had, there was a man in the penalty box, right? It wasn't some high school kid. . So the visiting team would go in first and go behind the guy, the guy Manning the box and then the home side would come in and that guy would sit between him unless they got kicked out of the game.
[00:27:02] Larry: No, I remember being in that box, watching snuggy and, Chorsky and let's see, who was their coach was oh, from Minneapolis, Dave Peterson. Peterson. . . And you'll remember this from going up there with all your Wayzata teams. I'm sure you had the same thing. It was always it, we, you'd run into the Warroad officials, or the Roseau officials might have a little bias toward the home teams, maybe a snitch. . And not it certainly didn't matter against the Olympic team and but it was funny at first time I'd heard this , it was the story brothers in Warroad or refreeing the game. And it must have been a few minutes into the game and tripping or whatever.
[00:27:40] Larry: Someone called a penalty on the Olympic team and Dave Peterson's yelling, they're not here to watch you stripes. they're not here to watch you. Oh. And but that was awesome. And, I think Jack Blatherwick was with the team too. So Jack and snuggy, got out of their way to say, Hey we'll see you next fall.
[00:27:56] Larry: So for a kid in high school to watch a couple Olympians play and think you're gonna be on the same team with them next year, that was surreal, and , but it was part of growing up in, in Warroad. We, as small as the town was, it was there were just a ton Warroad and Roseau, both.
[00:28:16] Larry: There were Olympians left and right. Even before the Broons and Christians and in all those sixties and seventies, and there were just so many good hockey players from those little towns. And but it was still special to to see that Olympic team come up there and play and they really ran outta gas by I think the or just didn't make sense for the Olympians to go up to world anymore.
[00:28:38] Larry: I think the last Olympic team was when Gigi was on the Olympic team in maybe 06 or 04. That time. So the girls, the women's team went up and played the Warroad high school. So it changed a little bit, but , Warroad's always had that good connection with the USA hockey,
[00:28:58] Lance: you mentioned how special it is up there when that was going on. One thing that is also special regarding Minnesota hockey is the high school state tournament held down at the Excel energy center. Home of the Minnesota wild, but prior to that when you and I were trying to get there, the tournament was held at the St.
[00:29:16] Lance: Paul civic center. Did you ever go down there and watch the tournament as a kid? I know war road, wasn't there for they had a bit of a drought, but . Did you ever go down there and experience it and say, one day I want to be here?
[00:29:28] Larry: We went down my sophomore year. So as a young kid, no, I never did.
[00:29:33] Larry: And our sophomore year we had a really good team. Had a lot of success. We were actually the number one seed, although that was just a little bit of a horseshoe beating George Pula in the Bemidji lumber lumberjacks that year in the regular season. So they were big and tough and we, but we managed to beat them in the regular season.
[00:29:54] Larry: So we got the number one seed. But we weren't quite ready to be the number one seed. We got knocked off in the quarters. The first game Morehead took us out. But that was , 85 and 86 was the year I'm talking about my sophomore year. Bemidji, George Palua went down. And so we went down that year.
[00:30:12] Larry: Some of the dad's Izzy's dad, Cal, and a few others took a bunch of us down and, that was probably a good thing for us to see and experience and think, what, how fun would this be? This is unbelievable. Maybe it'd come down to a north star game once or twice as a kid or up to a Winnipeg jets game, which was a lot closer to Warroad.
[00:30:31] Larry: . To get that, but uh, . As you mentioned, the civic center and still today, the Xcel energy center sold out for a high school hockey game. It's just, it's still, it's why we can call ourselves the state of hockey, amongst a lot of other reasons. But so that, that was a little bit of fuel to say, , let's let's work hard.
[00:30:49] Larry: Let's try to get back here and actually play in this game and was fortunate enough to do that the next year, my junior year. And we had a big senior class. And so , that, I think in 87, that might have been the first time since Henry's Henry Bush's team down in 69 70, they came in 70, 70.
[00:31:09] Larry: Did they come in 70 too? Okay. So probably had Allen, Hank Slavin and Mike Mar Allen Hank Slavin was a start North Dakota played in the NHL. Back in the day. And so 70. . So 70 to 87 was the drought you're talking about. So that was a big deal for our community and for our team and , that was fun. fortunately won the first game and but ran into the Braves. Actually, it was a year after bloomer. Scott bloom won the tournament a couple years in a row, but the next year, 87 with warn and those guys, we lost to them and the semis and that would've been the year Kennedy, Jason Miller and Joe Decker and boys won it in 87.
[00:31:48] Larry: And so I wasn't really expecting to come down the next year just we had a big senior class. But we were fortunate. We had a great goalie in Chad Erickson, my senior year and several other Dan, Marvin and Joe Beyondi and several other guys. We all stepped up and we were able to make it back my senior year.
[00:32:09] Larry: So I got two runs at it. Unfortunately the same outcome won the first game and the second year, and the fun thing about that my senior year was the game was against Edina. So semifinals last game of the day, the Friday session. And as you can imagine, other than the people that were from Edina, there was no one else in the rink or probably the state of Minnesota, hoping that Edina would win that game. so we, we had a big cheering section and that was fun. And it was a really good game and, double overtime loss a heartbreaker and. So that game got over at midnight, I think. And you're devastated. And so trying to play the next day for third place, wasn't wasn't easy. And so we ended up losing the third place game both years. But memories of a lifetime and, one thing I remember my, we came in 87, it had been 17 years small town, right? So you probably hear the same name, same names in all my stories, but it was Carol Christian who came and talked to us before the game. Our first game in 87 and this is David's mom. And so in 87, David Christian would, he'd won the gold medal in 80 and he's on his seventh year in the NHL. And so he's, someone, all of us idolized and Carol came down and said, just wanna say, good luck to you guys. And David sends his best and wishes you all good luck.
[00:33:36] Larry: And he told me to tell you that the one thing he wishes that he would've done and he never was able to do was play in the state tournament. And, we're all looking around. It's he's got a gold medal and scoring goals in the NHL. I'll trade places with him right now. But we appreciated that and we really knew how special it was for someone of that stature to say, Hey, the high school, Minnesota state high school hockey, tournament's a big deal.
[00:34:03] Larry: So I try to, you try to tell that to the kids still today. And they all appreciate it a little bit. And you like, we all do you appreciate it more after it's over and you grow up.
[00:34:13] Lance: And, the, I wa I remember being here in Wayzata and they hadn't been to the state tournament ever.
[00:34:21] Lance: and I'm on the coach's committee and development committee. And a question just reoccurring would come up is, how do we get a tradition, like a war road, a rose soy died at Minnetonka. And a lot of people in the room were like, you gotta get to the big dance at the high school level because that's what fuels all the kids below, they go to that game, they experience that and they want to be there.
[00:34:47] Lance: So I know that, you get in there two times even though you didn't win it, that's fueling the next generation of kids to, to, have that as a dream, to, to try to
[00:34:57] Larry: accomplish. Yep. And , you're absolutely right. And for every program, like you said, Wayzata or any of 'em, you know, like we know growing up right as a squirt and a PE it's like that's a big deal to watch those high school kids.
[00:35:10] Larry: . If they can make it to the state tournament and even the section playoffs are fun. The section final games are always a blast. So it's, but it does make for a tradition and a culture once you can get there. And and I think there's something to it that you don't go every year as well.
[00:35:28] Larry: And, there's a little like not many teams go every year. Some go more than others, but, just to get a taste of it, and now we have get the opportunity with two classes that we didn't have on our day. So there's more kids to get that opportunity, but, I think it's fun to see those smaller schools and those outstate schools that, some didn't even have a hockey program 30 years ago and now are making it to the state tournament.
[00:35:52] Larry: Big and small school. So it is a big boost for your hockey community to get your team to the state tournament. . Just,
[00:35:58] Lance: Then they know it's possible. And if it, if he can do it, why can't I I just, I love that. So before we move on, I got a couple more questions from your high school years, but there's one that I read from your coach.
[00:36:13] Lance: It's an article that references your former war world coach Tom king, who said your plan, Detroit lakes, whatever year it was in high school. And you guys, you have six forwards and like 3d, that, that's what we haven't mentioned is that the lineups for these teams were very small.
[00:36:32] Lance: You're playing against teams that have six D two goalies and three lines of forwards at the youth level. And you guys were always coming in with with short lineups. But and I remember you never coming off the ice, watching you in the state tournament, but this story is your plan against the Detroit lakes team.
[00:36:51] Lance: Your team's struggling. You take a penalty in the first period after it's over you come back to the bench you're swearing coach king benches you for the first period, the rest of the first period, put you back out there, starting in the second period. And I've never heard this ever. I did some research online.
[00:37:09] Lance: It's never happened in the NHL, but you went on to score three, you got a natural hat trick and all the goals were shorthanded. Never heard that before. Do you remember that game?
[00:37:23] Larry: You know what I do remember about that game and kind of the neat thing. I don't remember scoring three shorthanded goals but the beauty.
[00:37:32] Larry: You know what I'm gonna, I'm gonna say it happened because there's no video evidence from 1987 or 88 to prove it otherwise. You are the only one. . . I'm the only one. I do remember that game being one of those games where we've all had 'em right. You go in there and you're the better team.
[00:37:50] Larry: You're how do you get yourself motivated and fired up? And as a coach, how do you get your team ready for a game that you're supposed to win? And so we were, it wasn't going well, we weren't playing well. And I remember it was coach Comstock with who was our JV coach and our defensive coach and a 76 Olympian and goalie from Rozo and Bemidji state.
[00:38:12] Larry: And, but he's running he's running the D and. what did he say? So we, , I either got a penalty or we had a bad shift and he's upset at everybody and he's basically just yelling at the team. Let's go, get it going here, come on, fellas. This is, you guys are not playing well and whatever he's saying.
[00:38:33] Larry: And I, in, in defense of myself and the whole team just shot back and just whatever, it must have mixed in a swear word or two and said, fuck you. It's not that bad. . , I wouldn't have said that. I would definitely would not have said that to the coach, but I pro I would've said, you know what fucking doing the best we can, or, it's something.
[00:38:52] Larry: And he got everybody, he got my attention and everyone else, when he said sit down on the bench and, he was a hundred percent right. You don't talk to the coach like that. And . So the rest of the first period, which it might have been four minutes, it probably wasn't a long period of time, but like you said, I played quite a bit.
[00:39:09] Larry: So if there was a four minute stretch where I wasn't on the ice and my leg wasn't broken it was unusual. But , I got upset. The whole team was upset and we took it out on Detroit lakes the rest of that game. And so , I, things did turn around for us and, but I, that was the one and only time .
[00:39:26] Larry: That I would've talked back to the coach king and coach Comstock and they remember that story as do I, and , it was it all turned out. We could all smile on the bus ride home, but it was, , it was one of those games was just frustrating. It was hard to get going and but once we did everything was good.
[00:39:44] Larry: I do re remember my mom after the game though. kinda thing. Did you get hurt? what happened? So I had to fess up to my mom that no I said something the coaches shouldn't have said, and he put me in my place.
[00:40:01] Lance: . And that's where, you guys had so much experience at the coaching level. I know you mentioned that the girls program wasn't rocking yet, but so lucky to have that.
[00:40:11] Lance: And, as a coach, you wanna see that fire in the kid's belly that he cares and that, and, they might have benched it, but they knew that something good was gonna come. Just awesome stories, Larry. Let next question. You win Mr. Hockey, your senior year a nice feather in the cap, what did that mean to you when you won that award and to the railroad community?
[00:40:30] Lance: Because. Did you feel like, okay, all these guys before me that have had success, I haven't played the Olympics, but you know what, this is a great recognition of all the hard work that I put in with the help of my buddies and I'm proud that to bring it back to the community.
[00:40:49] Larry: . I think there, there were definitely was that sense of it was it was nice to, obviously felt really good to get that award, but dis as disappointing as it was, it's the day after the state tournament. So you're still pretty down, to win Mr hockey and to bring it back to Warroad.
[00:41:08] Larry: And because no question for me that had, I grew up, just about anywhere else that went to happen. So it really was a. An individual award that was an award. I think that, the whole community was responsible for. So it, it was nice. It was special. And , I was really happy and our goalie, Chad Erickson was one of the finalists as well.
[00:41:30] Larry: So for the two of us to be nominated was a really nice deal. And it was a nice, special award that I was, , definitely glad to bring back to Warroad. And it, that was definitely a good time. And we enjoyed it and the community really embraced us when we came home from that the state tournament, both years, you were, we had a whole community to welcome us, home, win or lose.
[00:41:52] Larry: And that is really special and definitely won't ever forget those days. That's awesome.
[00:41:58] Lance: So you're a small town kid You moved down to the big city were go to go play at the university of Minnesota. Did you have an adjustment? Cause I I know my freshman year Blaine rude, who was from Fergus falls.
[00:42:13] Lance: He had a tough adjustment, moving from a small town to the university of Minnesota. Did that have any effect on you?
[00:42:21] Larry: It was definitely an adjustment. What helped me the most you one good teammate of yours and mine. Kenny Gander was a year ahead of me. But another small town kid from Cola rain and just I guess enjoyed the dorm life enough after his freshman year to, to stay there for year two.
[00:42:39] Larry: So I was fortunate to have him as a roommate. Wow. and and we were big time too, he was a second year. So we got a suite in pioneer hall we had our own room we were we were big time and no. So Kenny made the adjustment for me, another small town, Northern kid who I had met before and knew coming in.
[00:43:02] Larry: So he made it the adjustment much, much better. And then just for me, just starting, and getting in with the hockey team and our obviously as our college life revolved around hockey from the day I think hockey started about the same time school started in late September for us, so that he made the adjustment living in, in a dorm and being in the big city a little bit easier.
[00:43:26] Larry: But I will tell you one funny, fun story and about the small town kid in the big. So he was a sophomore and he had, he didn't have it all year, but for the first few weeks of school, he had a car. And, and all the kids at the U today still know what a pain it is to find a spot to park. So he only had it for a couple weeks, but we're running around the first week of school and he has to go to the bookstore and get a book.
[00:43:52] Larry: And of course there's nowhere to park. So it's just all drop all drive, drop him off. And did I lose you there, Lance? Nope, I'm here. Okay. Sorry about that. So we gotta go get a book, but there's no place to park. So we're in his car and he stops in front of the bookstore. He says, you just drive around the block and I'm gonna run in and get my book and we'll be back out.
[00:44:17] Larry: I said, okay, no problem. I can do that. It's not like driving around the block in Warroad. We had one stoplight in the world. So I'm literally dropping, going around the block in dinky town and I take a left and first I kid you not first time I'd ever been on a one way street first there's and I'm going the wrong way.
[00:44:38] Larry: everybody's honking as you can imagine. I'm like what I was like, oh my gosh, it's a one way I had never been on a one way street so , I was a little outta my element at times. And fortunately was able to get his car turned around and back to the bookstore and pick him up and was happy to get out of the driver's seat.
[00:44:57] Larry: But , so there were Def, there were definitely some adjustments. And fortunately he was there to help me. help me with all that. Kenny Gander. . Saved me in a lot of ways and was able to make it, make me feel at home and not quite like a small town punk, like I was, and we managed to get through together.
[00:45:15] Lance: And what we forget is that there were no cell phones back then. There was no map quest ,
[00:45:21] Larry: It was exactly right. Throwing you out to the wolves. . I'm gonna, I'll go around, go around the block. You go left left. And it's oh, I can't go left here. How now?
[00:45:31] Larry: Where do I go?
[00:45:34] Lance: . Brilliant. So your first year at the university of Minnesota, we were teammates and it was the best and probably worst year I ever had, as we lost to Harvard in the national championship game and overtime pretty impressive season for you because I think you were brought in to, to play defense, but because of the necessity or just wanting to get you in the lineup you ended up playing forward.
[00:45:57] Lance: What do you remember about that first season with the gophers?
[00:46:02] Larry: , I re I remember the first series, which was in Madison. So that was quite the, quite the welcome to college hockey. And I did play defense that first weekend. And I you'll remember you, you may not remember you remember the if you listen to the other podcast, you will remember Randy, Scarda scoring all those goals as a sophomore and we'll bringing in, Tommy Peterson and Larry Olimb, and let's get them back both on defense and we'll move, start up to score, 40 goals on forward.
[00:46:32] Larry: So the first weekend I played defense in Madison and I remember coming home on Sunday, feeling like I'd played a football weekend. I got, I'd never been hit so much in a hockey game. All of a sudden everyone's bigger and faster and stronger, so it's not so easy to duck around to check.
[00:46:47] Larry: So I do remember that, and I remember the building being filled with students for the warmups, which was awesome. And that was, so that was the the start of it. And then, , it made sense to get Randy back on, on defense and we had such a good team, like you said and such a good year that went all the way to the final game in St.
[00:47:06] Larry: Paul. But you know what, I look back and I appreciate that Doug got me in the lineup every night. And I think for him, he was probably looking, more to the future than than that first year, as much as I got to play and be part of the team, it was for me it was a learning experience and a growing experience.
[00:47:23] Larry: And fortunately to play with So many juniors and seniors, it was it was easy just to fill in. And I certainly wasn't the star of the team and didn't need to be, and what couldn't have been but got to play with so many good players and such a good team. And , unfortunately the finish wasn't what we wanted, but it was such a learning experience for me.
[00:47:45] Larry: And the other thing I know too, Jack blather coaching, I had never we talked about growing up in the small town and all the advantages of, of Warroad in the ice time, but the one thing I didn't have was skating instructions. And Jack, would've been the first person to really break it down and really, as .
[00:48:03] Larry: In, in eighties it was let's do Herby. You'll learn how to skate, go to the other end and back as fast as you can. do it again. . Do it again. No, so Jack was instrumental in my hockey ability. I that first year was tough, just the pace of the game.
[00:48:19] Larry: And I improved my skating, improved so much with Jack and what he did off ice and, but more with just all the edge work he had done and it was all new to me and something, from a coaching standpoint that I still do today because I know how it just made as the game's a lot funner when you can skate faster and oh . Not get knocked over. And , so Jack and Doug and bill butters and all good coaching. And so my game really improved and so that was the biggest thing of that first year. And of course the heartbreak of losing.
[00:48:53] Larry: And , fast forward for me, Lance. And did you, I don't know where you would've been at the time, fast forward for me 10 years later, or more than that, actually in 2002, I'm watching the gophers go to overtime was at with Maine. I think I in St. Paul and I'm watching the game and it's tied and it's going to overtime and I'm thinking, oh, no.
[00:49:15] Larry: It's if these guys losing overtime, they're gonna be just another team. . Like us, no one, no, one's gonna remember you. And I was so happy for them and for the program when they pulled that off. . And the following year as well. But , that, that first year was a big adjustment and playing forward wasn't too bad.
[00:49:32] Larry: Like I said, I had played Rover. So much as a youth hockey player and. so I, I certainly was able to make that adjustment and with all the good players around me, it was it wasn't that hard to do.
[00:49:46] Lance: We had that experience, you think that okay. Getting to the NCAA tournament or the final four is easy.
[00:49:53] Lance: You were part of every year, you made it to the NCAA tournament. You continued to just evolve and compound and by the end of your college career you're the all time assist leader passing legendary, John Maich. When you, when that happened, when it was all said and done, did it really hit you or did it take a few years to really it, to settle in to what you really accomplished there?
[00:50:21] Lance: How spectacular it was.
[00:50:25] Larry: , I would say it took, definitely took some time because I think, it's, the world has changed so much because I'll be honest. Like when that, when I got to that point and it happened I didn't, there was no build up. They're like, Hey you're 10 points assists away or five assists away.
[00:50:41] Larry: There, it, that never happened. It was just all of a sudden I remember when it happened, it's the, it was the first weekend of the w C a playoffs against North Dakota at home. And that was the weekend it happened and it happened one night and they announced that the next night.
[00:50:56] Larry: And I really don't, there was we're in the playoffs. So there really, we didn't, you didn't stop the game. It was like, that was something to be celebrated, I guess later. But , to answer your question it didn't sink in didn't mean as much at that time. As it does today.
[00:51:11] Larry: And but it's an assist. So where I, part of the thing, there's a couple things that happened that I like to remind people is one, I played four years in, in college hockey because I couldn't go to the next level. There were guys that played a year or two that probably would've had more points, more assists, but the other thing was I couldn't score goals.
[00:51:32] Larry: What do you do if you can't score, you gotta pass the puck. And fortunately I played with a lot of good players that could score. So it was it's almost like a team award to be honest. But it's something I do look on now and appreciate. And , I just, again, this goes back to loving the game, loving my teammates and it was fun to play and.
[00:51:51] Larry: And it's always fun to score. And whether it's a goal or assist or your teammate it's still fun to, it's still fun to play the game and see goals scored. And it was, that was what I could do, to be honest, is I could make plays and I could give a guy a pass when maybe he, clatter was expecting it, but no one else was thinking they were gonna get the puck.
[00:52:11] Larry: And those are the best schools when you can give a guy a tap in and to play with the players that I played with Kenny and Jan and clatter and Laylan and Darby and . John Anderson and it was, it was special years for me, no question
[00:52:25] Lance: for a teammate of yours for a short time even though you're older, All of us older guys were watching you and trying to learn, because we knew that there, there was something special going on there.
[00:52:37] Lance: Pretty cool stuff. You you turned pro and you know what happened there? Why? You said that you can't score goals, but you're dish and magician. Adam O's dish and magician. What happened? Why couldn't you make that next Le level up at the pro ranks? What happened there?
[00:52:59] Larry: , I think, looking back I don't have any regrets, but I think, the one thing I didn't, because you had asked me a question earlier, you said, when did it sink in, that hockey was, that you were good at it and you could go somewhere with it and it really.
[00:53:13] Larry: For me, it was always a game and I always worked hard and wanted to get better, but it was, I don't think I had the mentality that was needed to make it to the next level. There's so many guys as that are that good? And so I, it just, things didn't pan out and I didn't, I, looking back it's I didn't know what the heck was going on.
[00:53:34] Larry: And I listened to your story about your agent and what the kind of neat story that you had about, how you ended up getting where you got to Ottawa and got the opportunity and at, to grind for a few years and made it. And for me, it was it was San Jose, it was a 10th round draft pick.
[00:53:52] Larry: So it wasn't like anyone looked at me at young and said, he's gonna play in the NHL in the 10th round. But and then of course, when they expanded and moved to San Jose, my rights went out there. So when college was over, I didn't know. I didn't have, there were no agents knocking on my door saying, Hey, I gotta work with you.
[00:54:09] Larry: And I asked Doug, what do I do? And he got me hooked up with someone and it wasn't the right person, he was an established agent and he thought you know what, you're a good hockey player. We're gonna hold out. Let's see what they give you. And so I didn't sign all summer.
[00:54:25] Larry: And what I turned to come to learn in San Jose was Chuck Grillow. And so those guys went and skated and brainer in the summer. And I didn't you know, I hadn't signed a contract, so finally sign in August and it was funny. I go out to San Jose to the training camp and there was actually, I had a meeting with the general manager at the in training camp and he was like, I don't know why you're holding out.
[00:54:54] Larry: He said there was three of. Mark buffet from Northern Michigan and Jeff McClean from North Dakota. And the three of us were all about the same size. And it basically we gave the three of you the same contract. So I don't know what you're holding out for. as I, I don't know I, I don't know anything about this.
[00:55:10] Larry: I just wanna play hockey. But he said you know what he, this was funny too, looking back at the time. It wasn't funny. But he said, you know what? You need to make, you need to be do something to be noticed out there. There's all these guys in camp. There's these guys. I mentioned, you know what you need.
[00:55:27] Larry: I don't care if you're out in the middle of the ice, you drop down your pants and take a piss you need to do something out there to get noticed. And I was realized now that. He was actually serious probably didn't want me to take a piss on the ice but I did need to do something and that, me, that's not my style.
[00:55:45] Larry: It's I just wanna play the game and so I, it didn't, wasn't a good start and I didn't do anything that would be noticeable at an NHL training camp. I, it goes back to, I just, the game was always fun and I loved to play and, but it was for me, it, I didn't have the drive needed, mentally to go through that grind and go down to the minors.
[00:56:04] Larry: And so I, they sent me to Kansas city, so you're playing at the IHL and same thing there. It's you got 30 guys and plenty of guys, and they're like, you know what? You're not gonna get much time in here. Actually. It was Kevin constantly was the coach. He's weekend. He is like, Hey, I really enjoyed wa and I'm thinking, Hey, he's from Minnesota international falls.
[00:56:24] Larry: I got a guy on my side and he's , I really enjoyed watching you, but in college, but you're not strong enough. You know what? So you're not gonna play. I just want you to work. I want you to lift weight. I want you to get bigger and he's, and I really wanna play, but if that's what you want me to do.
[00:56:40] Larry: And a few days in, and I remember doing a workout one morning, going to the gym and you're in the minors, so you're doing it by yourself. But at that time, but then I go to the game that evening thinking I'm not playing well, someone was sick or hurt and it's all. So I just he's you're playing
[00:56:58] Larry: I was like, I thought I wasn't playing. I just did a leg workout. . So that was my mind, and then about a week later the GM in Kansas city calls and says or it probably wasn't a week, I, month or two later, it's you know what we're we want you to get, you need to get more playing time.
[00:57:12] Larry: We're gonna send you to the east coast. And you know what the east coast was like at that time, it's that's not my game. I'm not going to the east coast. . So that didn't work out. And I thought I was done and there, I, Europe might have been a better thought I didn't have many opportunities there, but thought it was over.
[00:57:31] Larry: And the only the one shot I got was thanks to Glenn Sommore, who's done so much for Minnesota kids, and gophers. And when the moose
[00:57:39] Lance: got it to me, one of 'em me, one of 'em, he was the one that got me drafted for the north stars, and I had the same opportunity with the moose as well, but I chose Ottawa.
[00:57:50] Larry: . , after a year off, he said, Hey, come and, come and try out. So I did, and that was a fun experience. Good guys. And I actually had played roller hockey that summer before, and I was in no shape to, to play, but Glen gave me the opportunity and actually another interesting story, Lance, I think no one probably knows this either, but I'm gonna take credit for the guy back in.
[00:58:11] Larry: So in that time, 1994, I signed a 25 game tryout contract with the Mo and um, and made it through the first 25 games and was hoping that, it did well enough that I'd get a contract. And I did well enough to get another 25 game contract. So I got, now I'm on, a 50 game con tryout. And so after 50 games, same thing, it's I'm certainly not tearing it up, but I'm able to play forward.
[00:58:46] Larry: I'm playing defense. I hopefully earned a spot. And so after 50 games to get called back into the office. So Larry we wanna offer you another 25 game contract. 25 game tryout as are you kidding me? So I had a 75 game tryout, I, oh my gosh, 25 game tryout contracts. And I got to the end of the, to 75 games.
[00:59:10] Larry: So now there's five games left in the season. I'm thinking, you know what, again, I didn't tear it up, but it's I'm okay. It's maybe they'll sign me for these last five games and then next year. And Nope we wanna we're, we'll sign you to another 25 game, sign it on a tryout to the end of the year.
[00:59:28] Larry: And I don't I'll take credit for it, but I know it was shortly thereafter that it was no longer. Could you sign guys to multiple 25 game tryout contract? I think it was one and one and done. So I, so my whole season was a tryout. Oh man. And obviously didn't go that well but it was it was a fun group of players and it was a good experience and, but it was, for me it was learning what, a little bit what professional, and it was, that was the IHL.
[00:59:58] Larry: And at the time that league wasn't like the American league, right? Where you would've been and played for a few years and you're playing with a bunch of young guys, I'm playing with snuggy. Who'd been in the NHL for 300 games and Dave Christian who'd played a thousand games and several other guys that are at the end of their contract.
[01:00:15] Larry: They're putting a team together just to win it's not a development team. And , so Glen did a few of us, Minnesota guys a favor. And , that was my last, that last season. And , it just turned out pro well, other thing I learned too at that time is the guys are so good.
[01:00:31] Larry: And even at my best, although it, what I did learn is, when we're done with college at 22 years old, you're certainly not at your peak, right? It's you could get a lot better, you could get a lot. So had I still continued to play and play at a good level and work out and, I could have been, I could have improved, but it, that didn't work out.
[01:00:51] Larry: But but all these what I learned too and, I, wasn't the type of guy I couldn't, I might have been better than some third or fourth line guys in the NHL, but I wasn't better at what they were doing. My game was to be a top line center or a power play defenseman. And those I'll be, , I'm not afraid to tell you and be honest that those I couldn't do that.
[01:01:11] Larry: I couldn't play at that level. And I really respect all of you that did for all those years. And it's it just keeps getting better and better these players and how fast and strong. And and I do enjoy, I enjoy watching it and then the play, the playmaking that's going on today. And it's it's fun.
[01:01:30] Larry: So don't have any regrets. I, you know what I've done to things, couple things differently to, to try to make it pro . But again, I'm pretty satisfied with what happened, how it worked out, how I, met my wife. And like you mentioned at the beginning three wonderful kids and it's all been.
[01:01:48] Larry: It's all been a blessing.
[01:01:49] Lance: I look back on your career and it may not have went as long as you'd hoped, but man, when you rewind the tape and look at what you accomplished, that's something you can hang your head on. So congratulations Larry on an unreal career, I'm just grateful.
[01:02:05] Lance: I was able to play with you for a couple years.
[01:02:09] Larry: . Thank you. It's it's certainly fun to look back and so many great memories and , obviously there was a game or two. We wish we could have won and some things we had done differently, I think as most hockey players.
[01:02:21] Larry: Happy to look back and mostly on all the wonderful people I've met along the way and good teammates. And of course, one or two we wanna forget. Isn't that
[01:02:30] Lance: the truth? Cool. It's been good. . . So you end up walking away from the sport as a player, but got married.
[01:02:37] Lance: Carla started having kids and guess what? Someone gets interested in hockey and you have no choice, but you gotta coach. So you got into coaching, a little youth hockey. So just spend a little time on that because from my perspective, when I retired and got into coaching that was an animal I didn't know existed.
[01:02:56] Lance: You think you play at a high level. It's gonna be pretty easy to teach a four year old, how to skate and handle the puck. But. I was just grateful and lucky that I was mentored by some really cool people early in my coaching career. How did that work for you?
[01:03:10] Larry: . The same way I think Lance, my first I guess mentorship for as someone who brought me in and said, Hey, let's, you're done plan let's you wanna stay in the game?
[01:03:21] Larry: Which of course I did. Come and coach. And that was, one of our coaches that we talked about earlier, Jack blather. So I got, that was my first experience helping him at Mihaw academy back in, I think it was like the 93 94 winter. So that, that was one thing is, now you're dealing with high school kids and coaching and you're part of the game.
[01:03:42] Larry: And, at that time I wasn't that far removed from being a high school kid. So that part was. Was good, but I think, what you're talking about too, is now rewind and go all the way back to helping kids stand up on the ice with the chair or with , just , just getting out there.
[01:03:58] Larry: So that was that's a different animal as and just takes a lot of patience. And I'll be honest. My worst hockey injury happened at at the central middle school arena in Wayzata coaching the mights I, a lot of people will remember that story and I'm actually quite serious.
[01:04:18] Larry: I was fortunate to get through a hockey career with pretty much unscathed coaching mites, five, six year olds. And you can imagine this, they're just learning how to skate. And now now we're gonna try and teach 'em how to. So we're going from the half boards. We're gonna take five or six strides and stop at the cone.
[01:04:36] Larry: So coach me at the time coach goes first demonstrates couple strides, two foot drag in your back foot, stop on your front foot, stick on the ice hockey position, . You remember the basics, right? Oh . The first kid in line, I'm still standing there in the hockey position and wasn't smart enough to know that even though I made it all those years with, without getting hurt maybe I should have had a mask on
[01:05:01] Larry: A little boy comes up and stops right in front of me, but as they often do loses his balance and kept two hands on his stick. And as you can imagine, his feet went up, he's falling backwards, holding onto his stick. I'm standing leaned over in the hockey position. His stick comes right into my eyeball.
[01:05:21] Larry: Oh no. And I'm not kidding. I, it felt like a jello squishing. It was a square. I dropped my gloves, said all the words you could imagine. I would say, which probably shouldn't have been said in front of five year old hockey players, but they were gonna hear it eventually stated off and literally right to the eye doctor.
[01:05:41] Larry: I think Ted Sanders was there who, I think he was the one brought me to the eye doctor and the good news is that my vision, everything came back, but my pupil still doesn't dilate in that one eye. That's, , that was a learning experience. And, it was, it would happen all the time and we actually, too, oftentimes we're getting hurt in those situations, parents where you're.
[01:06:04] Larry: And dads are out coaching and little kids are just learning how to skate and you get hit from behind or what have you. So anyway, that was the kind of the beginning of coaching. My son Jackson, and it wasn't him, but one of the boy and one wasn't his fault but I didn't I didn't get de deterred a couple weeks off and I was back out there with a shield and I probably had a mouth guard in and elbow pads just in case but it was so I really did enjoy it.
[01:06:33] Larry: And growing up, or I should say, being on the ice with my kids as they grew up and got better at hockey and, the game obviously gets more fun as they get better. And I think they enjoy it more. And so it's, it is fun. And it's interesting to go back to those basics.
[01:06:51] Larry: And then you give a lot of thanks. Looking back to those that helped us when we were little right, and right. Pushing around a chair and, it's the same, it's the same today as it was 50 years ago. And the kids that, that love it and just keep working at it are the ones that that keep playing.
[01:07:07] Larry: And a lot of kids just play to have fun. And that's what it's all about too. It was fun coaching, coaching my kids and I helped the couple other U 15 teams over the years. And . And then, back with the high school, the kids, this opportunity with Orono, which , I'm really looking forward to.
[01:07:25] Lance: So the best advice that I got was like almost day two or three of my first experience coaching organized hockey. A guy he didn't even play high school hockey, but he had been coaching at the might level for years. And he says, I can't give you much Lance, but I'm gonna give you this little bit of advice.
[01:07:46] Lance: He says, anytime you're on the ice standing around, make sure your butt's against the board, keep everyone in front of you.
[01:07:54] Larry: that is that is really good advice for uh, . For that age. .
[01:08:00] Lance: so the one thing that you and I have in common from a coaching perspective is that a lot of coaches may just coach the boys may just coach the girls, but you and I have had experience with both.
[01:08:15] Lance: And if you only coach boys and you've never had the opportunity to coach girls, just awesome. I actually the business, the stick hand, and shooting training than I do now it's not even close. I train way more girls than I do boys. Now that my guys are. But you coached the high school team at Wayzata, and you just mentioned that you just took the job for Orono.
[01:08:38] Lance: What's the attachment to the girls side because you coach boys at the beginning, but when did that transition and, you know what I'm talking about? It's cool coaching girls. They're, it's a different experience for sure.
[01:08:49] Larry: It is. . And it I'm really glad to have had the opportunity to coach both.
[01:08:56] Larry: I'll throw a shout out to another teammate of mine and how it got started way back way back when I was helping Dino Williamson coach clinics in the Wayzata area and young boys and girls. And then when I ended up moving to Plymouth In 2000, it was that fall. They needed a high school coach for the girls.
[01:09:15] Larry: So that's, that was really my introduction to Wayzata hockey was Dino. And then when they had that opening , I really enjoyed it. And actually it had been years, probably mid nineties when Dino and I were doing the clinics. And then five, six years later had the opportunity in Wayzata with the girls and .
[01:09:32] Larry: Was really excited about it. And certainly some learning experiences for me, coaching girls at the high school level. But a lot of the game is similar, right. They coaching hockey, boys and girls, obviously there's no checking, but as we know, it's still a physical sport for the girls.
[01:09:50] Larry: And I guess I'll say this to all the Orono girls that I'm about to meet and have met the great thing about coaching girls is they're smarter, right? No they're they are, and they're it depends every group's different. I've heard nothing but good things about this group of Orono high school kids and their youth.
[01:10:06] Larry: And, but they're all committed, whether it's boys or girls I know they're committed to the game and they're they're determined and they're hungry. They wanna do their best. And but they, it's a different emotion, right? They're I think typically the girls are better at controlling their emotion.
[01:10:21] Larry: The they're more apt to come to practice, not thinking they know everything. When they're 16 years old or 14 years old, like a lot of the boys do So they're much more open and, it's like both, I think it's communication, but I think it's probably even more important with the girls, but I just, , I've had a good connection coaching the girls and really enjoy it and enjoy the game.
[01:10:44] Larry: And, I guess there was just say there was a need in Orno with this opening and like I said before, I'm excited for the opportunity and it'll be as good or better for me than it will for the girls having me join their program. I'm excited. I've met a few of the kids.
[01:10:59] Larry: Good, good kids, good families. They've got a good solid senior and junior class, but it, I think they have depth, down through the ranks as well in Orno.
[01:11:08] Lance: It's pretty cool to see. I can't remember. So just so everyone. We had a little technical difficulty when we were doing this interview.
[01:11:17] Lance: So we got about an hour done and then my computer just died. So we're finishing it up here a couple days later. So I can't remember if we talked about this, but I think it's pretty cool. How the stars have aligned for you with this new coaching position? Because on a couple fronts, one is you're from war road, which is a really small town.
[01:11:38] Lance: And now you're in the cities, but you're coaching a small town team. So I think that's pretty cool. That connection. And then the other one, did we talk about how you're taking that team up to railroad this year, and that was already in the schedule before you took the job? How cool is that this winter to be going up there and playing the girls up
[01:11:56] Larry: there?
[01:11:58] Larry: , I would say that's a huge bonus. Like you said it was, their schedule was put together. And, but I think the stars did align and it was it was meant to be, I'm , I'm thrilled that we're going up to Warroad. Our or no girls are going to Warroad in November one of the first early games.
[01:12:14] Larry: Of course I got it circled on my calendar, November 19th. And I've been following obviously the Warroad boys and girls for, forever, but fun. . I'll get to go. Coach against one of my good friends mentioned at the beginning, skating down the alley to Cal Marvins. Izzy was Cal's youngest boy and a grade ahead of me.
[01:12:32] Larry: So we played together and played in the state tournament in 87. And then Izzy's one of his assistant coaches. Derek Comstock was a sophomore in 88, my senior year. So we went to the state tournament together. And of course it's a small town, right? So I'll know a lot of people. Still it's been a lot of years, but there's still a lot of familiar names and , I'm excited that we get to go up there and I'm excited for the Orono girls and families, if they wanna make that trip to go up and see the Warroad rink and meet some of the community.
[01:13:04] Larry: And it's, as I talked to you and I talked a lot about at the beginning it's it was a wonderful place to grow up and, fall in love with the game of hockey. So for this new team that I'm involved with to be going up there, it , I think you're right. The stars were aligned and, and it'll be fun.
[01:13:19] Larry: And. It's not it's not an easy trip to, to bus up there, but it's well worth it. And we'll get we'll get a fun hockey game Saturday afternoon, both the JV and the varsity team. And it'll be actually the it's good that it's early in the season too. It'll be good for me. And the girls just get to know each other.
[01:13:36] Larry: . You'd be on a bus, for six, seven hours up there and on the way, way back. So they'll find out early in the season if they made a mistake or not, when they took me. . .
[01:13:49] Lance: So I, I got one more question. So I've been I do some solo podcasts where we talk about purpose was one, another one was habits how to set and achieve your goals.
[01:13:59] Lance: And the one I've been working on now is on leadership. Your career high school, your C college, you C. What does leadership mean to you? Because, and to, in the sport of hockey, because, you're the, you're gonna now be the commander in chief with the Spartans there and what are you looking outta your lieutenants what's important to you in a leadership role?
[01:14:22] Larry: , that's a good question. And I think those are the podcasts you're doing and those topics are awesome. And they've been a learning experience for me. I continue to learn from you pit. Speaking of captains, you were a good example. And what I saw from you and tried to emulate would be, a doing things the right way.
[01:14:42] Larry: You were always the hardest worker on and off the ice and the, and one of the things that impressed me the most too, was how you included everybody. From day one, it didn't matter if you were the star of the team or, the. Fighting for the spot on the JV team back in the day when we had a JV team at the U of M you treated everybody with respect and you expected everybody to do what you did, which was work hard and be passionate, have fun.
[01:15:09] Larry: So that's what, I think that's what I look for too is one is one thing just, you know, I, as a coach, need to be prepared, come to practice every day with the, with a good plan and make sure I'm giving the girls the opportunities to be their best and helping them achieve their goals and.
[01:15:28] Larry: So from a leadership standpoint, you just look to the girls. And I think everybody on a team, everyone gets that opportunity to be a leader and kind of the cream rises to the top. You always have a captain that the kids or the coaches select, but there's also other leaders that just naturally rise.
[01:15:46] Larry: And they're leaders, not because they have a C, but because they work hard and because they're good people and they support one another. And so those are some of the things I'll be looking for. And I have been able to meet the captains who were named, before, before I got there, but really impressed.
[01:16:03] Larry: I'll just throw a shout out to the there's four of 'em may Grandy, grace, Vic, Celia doll, and Lyman. Just getting to meet those. Young women here this last week or two, and see how they're motivated and just the care they have for the game. And they care for each other. It's exciting.
[01:16:22] Larry: And so as a leader, you wanna, you're driving the bus, like you said, but everyone's pulling the same direction. It's easy to do and I'm excited. I think we got a good group of leaders and the program has been going the right direction. So I'm just gonna try to keep it going the same way and keep having fun and try to learn little things.
[01:16:41] Larry: The leadership things that, the state tournament. You don't win it in March, right? You win it the year before or the summer before. Right now, this is the time of the year where you'll see these kids and come and do lessons with you. There are some that are just motivated and what can I do?
[01:16:58] Larry: What can I do more? Can I do more? And you just see that this time of the year and you always need a break, can't be doing it all the time, but just that passion that kids have, and then to just steer it in the right direction and make sure you're not over training or, make sure you're getting your homework done and doing all the things outside of the game.
[01:17:17] Larry: But. I don't know if I, that wouldn't be a good podcast the way I answered your question, but I'll be listening to , I'll be listening to yours, but it's it's really just getting everyone pulling in the same direction from the coaching staff on down to every player one and I think one of the things you did too, Lance, from a captain standpoint is you let everyone know everyone's important.
[01:17:39] Larry: Even those guys that aren't playing on the weekends, you're still important, helping and practice pushing everyone. If we can all push each other to do our best, it's, that's how we get the best team at the end of the day.
[01:17:52] Lance: . Thank you. For those kind words very nice of you.
[01:17:55] Lance: It's been neat being able to, go back in time and, relive your life lot, so many great messages in there. Larry and. I'm just grateful. Like I said, that I was able to play with you for a couple years, but I know the impact that, that you've made on the hockey community here.
[01:18:12] Lance: Not only in Zeta, but soon to be in Orono, Orono is gonna be a positive one. And the girls are really lucky to have you out there. Larry. So congratulations on an amazing hockey career and just being a servant to others and continuing, trying to grow the game now with the girls and it's it's a good game.
[01:18:31] Lance: So thanks for being a part of it and being a part of
[01:18:33] Larry: this. Thanks for thanks for having me on your podcast. It was, , it's definitely fun to go down memory take a trip down memory lane and then , we'll look forward to the next chapter here with Orono girls and , again, it's it was fun to visit with you and , I look forward to continuing to see you at the rink.
[01:18:51] Larry: Thanks again.
[01:18:52] Lance: Big O. That concludes another episode of the hockey journey podcast. I can't thank you enough for stopping by and listening. I hope you enjoyed Larry Olimb's hockey journey. And if you think there's someone in your circle of family and friends that might like this episode as well, please share it with just one person.
[01:19:08] Lance: It will really help me in growing this hockey community. Again, I appreciate you being here. Don't forget to subscribe, rate or submit a review. I hope to see you back here soon and do me a favor. Make someone close to you. Smile today. All the best. My friends.