John Gilbert


Content By This Contributor:

Fri. Jul. 5th, 2013


John Gilbert

We have hit July, and finally the tumultuous 2013-14 hockey season can be put behind us. Last Sunday’s NHL amateur draft had some surprises and some adjusting by most of the league’

Tue. Jul. 2nd, 2013

Grandma’s, as usual, packed with colorful stories

John Gilbert

Another Grandma’s Marathon has come and gone, and like the first 36 of them, Grandma’s No. 37 produced its own place in history. You can choose whichever dramatic occurrence was t

Fri. Jun. 21st, 2013

Bjorklund, Beardsley records withstand sleek African runners

John Gilbert

Back in the mid-1960s, I had returned from the University of Minnesota’s journalism department to take a job as a sportswriter at the Duluth News-Tribune. It was fun, and a lot of work for not a lot of money, which

Fri. Jun. 14th, 2013

Floodwood, Hermantown carry Northern hopes

John Gilbert

The significance maybe hasn’t fully hit yet, but when the Floodwood baseball team ran out onto the Hermantown field to hold high the Section 7A baseball championship trophy, it was the first time any Floodwood High School sp

Fri. Jun. 7th, 2013

High school playoffs, NHL command attention

John Gilbert

Ah, sectional baseball playoff time. One of the annual highlights to an always-short spring high school sports season, and it will finish Thursday night, with a break from the weather. But there already have been enough bits of drama to entertain anyone.

Fri. May. 31st, 2013

Softball, Cup, Indy all display sports drama

John Gilbert

It doesn’t matter what level you enjoy sports, the suspense, surprise, expectations, apprehension, ecstasy, and disappointment all can vary with the stature of the game, and its outcome. It’s why they

Fri. May. 24th, 2013

A Little Music, a Little Hockey, a Lot of Racing

John Gilbert

As the long, long winter gave way to Monsoon Spring, and a scant few ballgames and track meets have sprouted up here and there, there hasn’t been a lot for Up North sport

Fri. May. 17th, 2013

Wild Gave State’s Hockey Fans a Thrill

John Gilbert

A week ago, the Minnesota Wild was still in the first-round Stanley Cup series against the No. 1 seeded Chicago Blackhawks. The Wild had just finished a fantastic 3-2 victory in Game 3, sending a crowd of 19,238

Fri. May. 10th, 2013

Unpredictable drama big part of Wild playoff magic

John Gilbert

The drama of the Minnesota Wild facing the best team in the NHL in the Chicago Blackhawks has been punctured by some of the most unkind and unfair fluke injuries imaginable. The eighth-seeded Wild needed everything they had to

Fri. May. 3rd, 2013

Wild in playoffs, Trampled by Turtles, and a great burger

John Gilbert

It was close to being the perfect scenario. Or at least turning a difficult decision into a great night out. On Tuesday, we faced the dilemma of desperately wanting to attend the Trampled by Turtles concert at Clyde Iron Work

Fri. Apr. 19th, 2013

Image of Boston Marathon changed forever

John Gilbert

You probably remember where you were, exactly, when the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center took place on 9/11/01. If you’re old enough, you also remember exactly where you were whe

Fri. Apr. 12th, 2013

Huskies, Wild carry late-winter hockey hopes

John Gilbert

The end of March and early April was a lot more exciting a couple of years ago when the UMD Bulldogs stunned the hockey world by getting hot at the perfect time to win the East Regional and then the NCAA tournament’s Frozen Four.    In 2013, however, it s

Fri. Mar. 22nd, 2013


John Gilbert

We will wait until next week, after this weekend’s WCHA Final Five, to pay tribute to the best college hockey tournament in the land. Even if you count the NCAA Frozen Four. This will be the last Final Five -- the final Final Five -- for the WCHA as we know it.

Fri. Mar. 15th, 2013

Focus swings to WCHA playoffs

John Gilbert

If all falls into place, hockey fans throughout the Northland will be able to turn their full attention to the WCHA playoffs, which start this weekend, and then move on to Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul for the final Final Fiv

Sat. Mar. 9th, 2013

Duluth Gets 3-Pronged Try At State Puck Tournaments

John Gilbert

Funny how it never gets old? Just like last year at this time, Duluth will have three schools represented at the Minnesota state high school hockey tournament in Duluth East, Hermantown, and Marshall.     This is the 68th hockey tournament, and Northland hockey fans obviously go into it with h

Thu. Feb. 28th, 2013

UMD Women, 7AA section capture hockey drama

John Gilbert

In the week when all the high school hockey teams play their way to feverish finishes in their sections to qualify for next week’s state tournament, and when the WCHA men’s teams are hurtling toward their final, climactic finish in the league’s final, climactic season as we know and love it, the height of dram

Fri. Feb. 22nd, 2013

St. Scholastica turnabout still turning

John Gilbert

Dramatic turnabouts are the story of college hockey in the Northland this season. And the two most dramatic turnabouts have affected Division III rivals St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior.

Sat. Feb. 16th, 2013

UMD Women Battle, Men Falter In Mankato Challenge

John Gilbert

When Minnesota State Mankato brought both its men’s and women’s hockey teams to AMSOIL Arena last weekend, the UMD men were in the spotlight, as usual, with big crowds, a regional television audience, and the assumption that a victory or two would help the Bulldogs gain home-ice in the WCHA. The UMD women, as usual

Mon. Feb. 11th, 2013

Super Bowl or Not, High School Hockey Prevails

John Gilbert

Now that the Baltimore Colts have outlasted the San Francisco 49ers for a dramatic 34-31 Super Bowl victory, we can focus in on the stretch drive in hockey at the high school and college levels.

Thu. Jan. 31st, 2013

True ‘Super’ Bowl, And Umd Women Test Gophers

John Gilbert

All the NFL teams considered to be the best have fired and fallen back, and the two left standing -- the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers -- will meet in New Orleans Sunday in the Super Bowl. Pardon me if I don’t list the designated Roman Numeral, but it bores me. The Roman Numeral, not the game.

Fri. Jan. 25th, 2013

Northern trio make a show for 7AA hockey

John Gilbert

There were concerns that the three remaining “legitimate” Class AA teams in Section 7 might have trouble holding off the ever-increasing threats to turn 7AA into a Twin Cities Northern Suburb hocke

Sun. Jan. 20th, 2013

NHL’s Settlement Great; Local Hockey Even Better

John Gilbert

While every NHL market suffered by the lengthy lockout, the anticipation of the 2012-13 season -- henceforth known as the “2013 season” -- was most significant for the Minnesota Wild, because of the free-agent signings of Zach Parise, to ignite the offense, and Ryan Suter, to solidify the defense, and the two of them, to rekindle hockey fever among Wild fans.

Fri. Jan. 11th, 2013

Thompson Clan Leads Denfeld Past East

John Gilbert

Duluth East had all the shots, but Denfeld had a whole family of Thompson boys, and all three of them made major contributions as the Hunters stunned East 5-4 Tuesday night at Heritage Center. It was the first time Denfeld had beaten East in 18 years, and in the ensuing two decades East has ridden to the heights of Class AA prominence, while Denfeld

Fri. Jan. 4th, 2013

Hockey Can be Fun -- Even in D-1

John Gilbert

Coach Frank Serratore brought his Air Force Academy hockey team to Minnesota to end 2012 with an appearance at the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis. The Cadets dropped a 4-0 game to Minnesota, before coming back to whip Alabama Huntsville 6-1, while the Golden Gophers chose the perfect time to play their best hockey, and routed No. 1 ranked Bo

Sun. Dec. 30th, 2012

Nielson Off to Face Gophers, Wiese New UMD Coach

John Gilbert

Next fall, when the UMD football team is preparing for a challenging season in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference under new coach Curt Wiese, the new coach at Western Illinois -- Bob Nielson -- will be preparing his new team to fac

Thu. Dec. 13th, 2012

A Great Game Doesn’t Require Any Goals

John Gilbert

Shannon Miller said she has never been involved in a scoreless game before. And I can’t remember the last time I saw one. But beyond that, the best women’s game of the WCHA season might well have been Sunday afternoon’s 0-0 tie between UMD and Boston University.

Fri. Dec. 7th, 2012

Bulldogs face Beavers in WCHA rivalry series

John Gilbert

UMD’s hockey players and fans may not yet take Bemidji State as seriously as, say, North Dakota or Denver or Minnesota. But this weekend, the Bulldogs might be wise to consider the Beavers their biggest challenge of the season when they meet at AMSOIL Arena.

Mon. Nov. 26th, 2012

Vogler, Bulldogs Face Cruel Ending in Playoffs

John Gilbert

On Thanksgiving week, area football fans should be giving thanks to the fact we’ve been able to watch Chase Vogler play quarterback for four years.     When the UMD football team lost an incredible 57-55 game at Missouri Western last Saturday, it was one of the cruelest finishes imaginable. Without ques

Fri. Nov. 16th, 2012

UMD Football, Volleyball May Be Year’s Highlights

John Gilbert

Two of the most successful UMD athletic programs are off to start tournament play this weekend, and it almost seems as though nothing can stop the Bulldogs from extending their remarkable success in Division II football or volleyball. The competition gets better every year, the balance of power in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conf

Fri. Nov. 2nd, 2012

Badgers Sweep UMD; Women face Gophers

John Gilbert

Rebuilding is more than just a word when it comes to WCHA men’s hockey. UMD and Wisconsin collided twice at AMSOIL Arena, and with both teams in different rebuilding stages, the Badgers left after taking three of the fo

Fri. Oct. 26th, 2012

Tigers Face Frisco Magic in World Series

John Gilbert

Amid the peak of pro, college and high school football, and the rocket-like launch of hockey season, the World Series still commands our attention. The other sports can be our favorites, but when the American and National League baseball champions get together in the World Series, it is always a piece of Americana being played out for all the world to watch.

Fri. Oct. 19th, 2012

UMD Hockey Teams Offer Early Surprises

John Gilbert

The UMD men’s and women’s hockey teams got into their new season in earnest last weekend at AMSOIL Arena, both showing the potential to make this another exciting season for Northland fans. While the men had to settle for a distasteful split against Ohio State in their nonconference opening series, the UMD women stunned the women’s hockey universe with a swee

Fri. Oct. 12th, 2012

UMD Hockey Success May Be A Challenge

John Gilbert

We’ve become pretty spoiled as sports fans in the Duluth area over the last decade, watching UMD take on the world in football, or men’s or women’s hockey. You bought your ticket, and you could be pretty sure of cheering on the Bulldogs to a victory. 

Mon. Oct. 8th, 2012

UMD women’s puck team coached by U.S. citizen

John Gilbert

When the UMD women’s hockey team opened the season with a pair of exhibition victories over the Minnesota Whitecaps last weekend, it was the first time in the 13-year history of the program that the UMD women were coached by a United States citizen.

Fri. Sep. 14th, 2012

UMD Football Team Moves Past Winona Threat

John Gilbert

The football season is just beginning, but if the UMD Bulldogs somehow manage to win their fifth consecutive NSIC championship, they will undoubtedly be able to look back at their home-opening victory over Winona State as perhaps the biggest hurdle they had to clear. On the scoresheet, the Bulldogs whipped Winona State 38-16, to

Fri. Sep. 7th, 2012

Alabama Routs Self-Contained Wolverines

John Gilbert

ARLINGTON, TEXAS --- The fellow sitting next to me was one of a plane-load of Michigan fans, routed from Detroit through Minneapolis in Delta’s full-flight strategy, and as the plane touched down last Friday afternoon, I offered my summation of the Michigan-Alabama football game coming up the next day.    The game was the Cowboys Classic, kicking off the college football season by bringing toge

Fri. Aug. 31st, 2012

Twins, among others, falter as season winds down

John Gilbert

It was a beautiful night for a ballgame, on Tuesday, and a lot of the beautiful people of Minneapolis flocked to Target Field to watch the Twins play Seattle. Target Field has numerous clubs arranged around the park, and while the majority of fans were well and truly into the game,

Fri. Aug. 24th, 2012

Football Takes Over Sports Scene

John Gilbert

Pretty much everybody in Northern Minnesota is a Minnesota Vikings fan, but in the days before the Vikings were born, the same fans were ardent backers of the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings earned their dedicated fans, and some of them turned the Packers into a huge rivalry.

Thu. Aug. 16th, 2012

Olympic Torch Burns Itself Out

John Gilbert

It’s sort of a letdown to come home, walk over to the television set and flip it on, and find...there are no more Olympics. No more running, jumping, balancing, cartwheeling, and no more counting medals in the USA tradition of puffing out our chests and patting ourselves on our backs, simultaneously.

Fri. Aug. 3rd, 2012

Maybe Sandusky Should Have Been a Priest

John Gilbert

The aftermath of the Penn State scandal surrounding assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual molestation of at least 10 young boys over a 15-year period, continues. Sandusky is in prison, for life, we assume. Penn State’s president, vice president, and athletic director are dismissed in disgrace for agreeing to suppress the reporting of Sandusky’s hideo

Fri. Jul. 27th, 2012

Penn State Football Disgraced By NCAA

John Gilbert

NCAA president Mark Emmert appeared to be righteous and committed when he stood in front of the television cameras and media throng to announce the punishment that will render Penn State’s proud football team to also-ran status.

Fri. Jul. 20th, 2012

Not Everybody Is Seeking 1st Victory

John Gilbert

If you’ve ever read the Peanuts comic strip, you know that Charlie Brown’s baseball transcends his team’s ability to win. Snoopy isn’t a bad infielder, but Lucy always tries to find rational reasons why she’s not about to catch a fly ball in the outfield. They try, they come close, but they always i

Fri. Jul. 13th, 2012

Parise, Sutor bring star quality to Wild

John Gilbert

SAINT PAUL --- A couple hundred media folks, some of whom may have even been there for a hockey game, crowded into the lobby of Xcel Energy Center on Monday for a true media happening: the introduction of winger Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter, who will make an enormous difference at both ends of the rink for the Minnesota Wild.

Fri. Jul. 6th, 2012

Mauer, Willingham, Plouffe Lead Surging Twins

John Gilbert

It just doesn’t matter whether the Minnesota Twins scratch and claw their way to .500, or even into contention this season, but rarely have the Twins been as interesting to watch as this season.

Fri. Jun. 29th, 2012

Real Drama Puts Sports Drama in its Place

John Gilbert

Those of us who enjoy watching sports events can click through satellite channels and find countless dramas to entertain us. Then along comes a mind-bending occurrence, such as our own “personal-best” record rainstorm, and the whole world recalibrates, as if to cause us to stop and see what is real and what is just fun and games. 

Fri. Jun. 22nd, 2012

Cheer For Kara -- And Abdi -- In London Olympics

John Gilbert

All 36 Grandma’s Marathons have been unique, even though the 26.2-mile run down Hwy. 61 from Two Harbors to Duluth’s Canal Park has taken on an air of similarity in recent years, to the point where cynics say “Which Kenyan will win this year?” Usually a couple of Ethiopian runners challenge the dominant Kenyans, but without question, the East Africans have taken over the race.

Thu. Jun. 14th, 2012

NCHC Picks Target Center, Challenges Big Ten

John Gilbert

MINNEAPOLIS, MN. --- National Collegiate Hockey Conference officials came to Target Center in the Minneapolis Warehouse District Monday to announce jointly with the arena and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak that it would hold its league tournament championships at Target Center for its first five seasons.

Mon. Jun. 11th, 2012

East Ridge 13-year-old Wins Big in 7A Track

John Gilbert

Personal bests and meet record times filled the air at Malosky Stadium last weekend, but in the action-filled afternoon of the Section 7A high school track meet, the most scintillating finish came in the girls 3,200-meter run. That’s two miles -- eight times around the 400-meter track -- which is a long race. And this one boiled down to a two-girl battle, as they ran off away from the field, and as they started the final lap, there was no way the little girl could possibly move up from her distant third.

Fri. Jun. 1st, 2012

Last-Lap Drama Gives Indy To Franchitti

John Gilbert

Once again, the Indianapolis 500 exceeded expectations. For the second year in a row, and under nearly identical circumstances, a finish that might have been the most astounding in the race’s history wound up being crushed by a cruel twist,…

Thu. May. 24th, 2012

Will Chevrolet Blow Away Honda At Indy?

John Gilbert

It’s possible -- in fact, likely -- that Honda’s string of eight straight victories at the Indianapolis 500 will end Sunday when the 96th running of the annual classic unfolds.