20th Century, Canada, History, Hockey, omnipresent history, Prayer, sports

Minnesota North Stars First Game

October 11, 1967
The Minnesota North Stars debut as a National Hockey League expansion team. The home of the North Stars, Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington, was built in 12 months (October 3, 1966, groundbreaking to October 25, 1967, first home game).*

Long before the age of modern ice hockey, with its’ leagues and franchises, Europeans enjoyed similar competitive games. Even authoritative Canadian sources, like the 2019 article by author Jean-Patrice Martel on the “Origins of Ice Hockey”, tip their hat to these bridge-building ancestors.
“Hockey developed from stick-and-ball games played in the British Isles, particularly hurling (Ireland), shinty (Scotland) and bandy (England). These games shared a very similar basic structure and have been documented from the 14th century.
But what about hockey itself? Unlike bandy, hurling and shinty, the term “hockey” is relatively recent. Its oldest known use is in the 1773 book Juvenile Sports and Pastimes, written by Richard Johnson. Chapter XI of the book is titled “New Improvements on the Game of Hockey,” which suggests that the name had been in use for some years already. The chapter details the game in over 800 words, using the term “hockey” to designate not the stick, but rather the object with which it is played: a “cork-bung,” or barrel plug.” **

Moving us closer to home, what clues to find to the development of ice hockey as sport in the North Star state during the 19th and early 20th centuries? Author and expert ice hockey historian Rodger A Godin states the following synopsis as Minnesota’s deep rooted attachment to the sport in his stellar book, “Before the Stars” (Minnesota Historical Society Press).
“In the early twentieth century, before the National Hockey League had established a presence in the United States, a team from St. Paul played at the highest levels of hockey in the country. Sports historian Roger A. Godin resurrects the story of the St. Paul Athletic Club team—the AC’s—and argues they were instrumental in turning Minnesota into one of the nation’s first hockey hotbeds and gave birth to what is now known as the “State of Hockey.” ***

Let’s explore the final iterations of farm teams and the foundations of Minnesota’s first professional hockey franchise. Two pivotal local teams caught the eye of Walter Brown, owner of the Boston Bruins; first, the Minneapolis Bruins, and second, the Saint Paul Rangers. This attention, along with the friendship of Minneapolis attorney and hockey booster Walter Bush Jr, cemented the viability of the Twin Cities in the minds of those seeking to expand the NHL brand while increasing TV revenues.

To this end, Bush applied for the expansion, and sought investors that could supply the contractually-necessary 13 thousand seat arena. A St Paul team of investors nearly clinched the deal using the existing Roy Wilkins Arena, but the funds to expand the facility required a public vote which cost too much time. Shortly after this failure, the two factions of owners, (from Minneapolis and St. Paul), decided to to go in together and build a new site for hockey in Bloomington; the Metropolitan Sports Center. This groundbreaking crew October 23, 1966 comprised the new ownership: John Ordway Jr., Walter Bush Jr., Gary Mc Neely Jr., Robert Mc Nulty, John Driscoll, Gordon Ritz, Robert Ritter. These locals paid approximately $2 million to the National Hockey League to add their franchise. *

But where did the first team of North Stars hail from; where did they assemble this first team, seemingly out of thin air? The short answer? They were enlisted from existing NHL teams. See the chart below:

Player Team
Caesar Maniago New York
Dave Balon Montreal
Jean Guy Talbot Montreal
Ray Cullens Detroit
Parker Mac Donald Detroit
Bob Woytowich Boston
Wayne Connelly Boston
Bill Goldsworthy Boston
Andre Boudrias Montreal
Mike Mc Mahon Montreal
Bill Masterton Montreal
Elmer “Moose” Vasko Chicago

“The North Stars played their first game on the road against the St. Louis Blues on October 11, 1967. It ended in a tie. On October 21, the North Stars hosted their first home game against the California/Oakland Seals—which ended with the North Stars’ first win. However, tragedy soon struck the team. Bill Masterson, a center, hit his head in a legal check on January 13, 1968, at the Met Center. His injury was severe, and he died of his injuries two days later in a hospital. His death is the only direct death resulting from gameplay in the NHL. It precipitated regulations for mandatory helmets, though they weren’t required until 1979. Even with this tragedy, the North Stars ended their inaugural season with a trip to the playoffs, losing to St. Louis in the semifinals.”
Now, dear Father, we turn to You to reflect and pray on this history. What will we learn if we remain in Your Presence, and just think about the importance of hockey to Minnesota? How did this beginning of a much-loved sports team change the course of Minnesota? Before that, we remember the Master who created winter, ice, and the people groups who were designed to thrive in the cold. We remember that the Ancient of Days is the author of sport, and its underlying causes: to severely prove one’s ability, to test intensely one’s skills without risk of death, and to learn what Cain and Abel did not. For all these things, we adore You!

One thought that comes to mind is how perfectly hockey is suited to the Northern regions of North America in the last few centuries. We, at least historically, come from tribes and nations that are ready made to thrive in the snow. We remember that You conditioned the first hockey players and fans to play in the snow: Canadians, First Nations (Inuits, Nunavuts, Metis, Algonquians to name a few), and recent American immigrants from mostly Northern European origins: Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, Russians, etc.

Let’s put ourselves in their shoes as hockey leagues grew over 100 years ago, shall we? What kind of entertainment suits our very rugged ancestors who spent all day in a frozen logging camp, mining camp, railroad camp, or just homesteading a new farm in the wilderness? Would they relish tennis racquets, cricket bats, and white pants or a fast-paced, high-attention battle that could change at a moments notice, and wind up with blood on the ice? Lord, I guess I’m just pondering if our ancestors who day in and day out did high risk, cold, and dangerous work influenced them to enjoy the battle on ice which is hockey?

Under Your Authority and with agreement with the Council of Heaven, we remember all these formational years before hockey was a professional sport. We are grateful for those who built North America, in the bone-chilling winter, and did not lose their sense of play, but handed this game down to us and the world. Will You bless those of us in high risk professions to be faithful in our work, and vent our combative urges with the good sportsmanship of hockey?

Let’s add to the list of gratitude these specific things; dear Councilor of Heaven:

We remember to You the excitement created by the Saint Paul Athletic Club team of about 100 years ago!

We thank You for Walter Brown, the Boston Bruins, and the Minnesota Bruins!

We applaud the efforts and significant investment of these early hockey boosters:
John Ordway Jr., Walter Bush Jr., Gary Mc Neely Jr., Robert Mc Nulty, John Driscoll, Gordon Ritz, and Robert Ritter.

We thank You for the risk and enthusiasm of our first players:
Caesar Maniago, Dave Balon, Jean Guy Talbot, Ray Cullens, Parker Mac Donald, Bob Woytowich, Wayne Connelly, Bill Goldsworthy, Andre Boudrias, Mike Mc Mahon, Bill Masterton, and Elmer “Moose” Vasko.

We remember the contributions of the city of Bloomington, and all those who worked on the Metropolitan Sports Center.

Will You bless these names, spoken or unspoken, and their generations who contributed to Minnesota hockey? Will You forgive them their judgments of their detractors in roughly the 1920’s to the 1960’s, and those Minnesotans who judged them and failed to see the promises of professional hockey?

We thank You for at least two generations of young men and women who were inspired by the North Stars? We thank You for the impact these moments, whether playing the sport of hockey or participating as a fan, have strengthened the resolve of Minnesotans! So many of us have seen, at least in part, the lessons of an all-out battle, yet with rules!

We thank for the lessons portrayed in the game of hockey and in the North Stars franchise; it made our state better! We thank You that it taught what our ancestor Cain had not caught; we fight our life’s battle according to the rules of the game, and because our competition is made in G-d’s own image, we do not kill, but walk off the field of battle to shake hands with our brother. Is this not the heart of sportsmanship and brotherly love?

Conversely, forgive us Lord where we have prohibited our men and boys from sporting battles like hockey. How does one learn his limits as a man unless he has faced his own battles? Where will men be affirmed in their strength, valor, and leadership if they do not experience even a controlled danger?

Our current culture, dear Father, struggles to parse the meaning of masculinity. We rightly recognize that men need to temper their testosterone. There is something right when a hard as nails block layer holds his daughter’s hand like a butterfly! There’s something of Your efficiency in the moment an executive clears his schedule to give 100% attention and focussed time to his son!

Yet, we have failed to recognize that within ordinary men there is a hero because Your brave nature is in them! Who will fight those men who fight civilization? Who will oppose evil with good if men aren’t taught to sacrifice their safety for others? What is the lesson that Cain and Abel failed to teach us? Is it that the same wild and explosive masculine powers unleashed in the Creation of the Universe are the same masculine powers of self-control that sent our Messiah to the Cross?

A mature man is one who exhibits the self-control of his Eternal Father, his dad, and his coach. A fierce and effective hockey player is the man who retains both the wildest of his wild nature with discipline. What better image of power under control than a star? We thank You, the Most Dominant One of the Universe, for Your gift of the North Star, and the team that is its’ namesake! Let us deeply take in this image of exceeding power under control. Will You make us a State and people who neither fail to recognize Your Greatness in wild, masculine power, or Your Greatness to discipline that power through self-control! Amen!

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.”

Proverbs 16:32

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Control

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20th Century, farming, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Prisoners of War

Moorhead

September 4, 1943 to 1946
One hundred fifty German POWs sit out the war at Camp Number One near Moorhead, a branch camp of the base camp at Algona, Iowa. Farmers short of help pay the government 40 cents an hour for their labor.

Camps were located in or near Ada, Bena, Bird Island, Crookston, Deer River, Fairmont, Faribault, Grand Rapids, Hollandale, Howard Lake, Montgomery, Moorhead, New Ulm, Olivia, Ortonville, Owatonna, Remer, Saint Charles, Warren, and Wells.*

During the span of World War II, approximately 425,000 German, Italian, and Japanese soldiers were taken as prisoners of war and held in the United States. Once in the U.S., the prisoners were disbursed to about 700 camps in 46 states. The prison network had roughly 150 larger base camps, and 500 smaller branch camps.** The vast majority of these POWs were Germans who surrendered in the battlefields of Italy or North Africa. Camp Algona, in Iowa, held about 10,000 of these German prisoners who were contracted to do agricultural labor in the Midwest.***

“It was all about farm labor. Because so many young American men were overseas fighting in the war, there was a severe worker shortage. That was particularly true for agriculture, which was not considered a high-priority industry. The government offered to supply POWs on a contract basis. In accordance with the Geneva Convention, the labor could not directly help the war effort or be dangerous. Many agriculture areas took advantage, including the Red River Valley.
So, farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn contracted for 150 POWs to work their vegetable farms. Army inspectors at first wanted to house the prisoners in a barn near the Red River on 12th Avenue south in Moorhead, but neighbors objected and so an onion warehouse on 21st Street near 4th Avenue North was selected.”****

Algona Branch Camp Number One was created in the spring of 1944 to accommodate Minnesota farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn. This area, known as the Red River Valley, was renowned for its’ potato and beet production. Regional historian Kenneth Dawes said, “Local growers were in a near panic” as to how to get the crop in, and also stated that POWs “literally saved the potato and beet harvest” in the wartime years.**

Many efforts were made to protect the humanity of these detainees at Camp One. They had a plethora of recreational activities to choose from: sports, woodworking and carving, art supplies, and books. The musically inclined even gave concerts of German music to their captors. They were granted the right to attend worship services or not as they saw fit.***

Though some locals thought that POWs were being “molly-coddled”, the general consensus was that our fair treatment of Germans would be passed on to American POWs in Europe.** Yet one wonders; “What was the response of these prisoners of war to their years of captivity in America? Hartmut Lang, the Boston consulate general of the Federal Republic of Germany, gives us an astonishing testimony; ”To a German soldier then, being taken prisoner by U.S. troops amounted to winning a ticket to peace and fair treatment.”**

Now we turn to You, the Emancipator of the Human Race, and Giver of All Human Rights and ponder these stories. We humbly recall Your words that reflect Your benevolence to all; including those in prison.

“Blessed is he whose help is the G-d of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his G-d, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever, your G-d, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.” Psalm 146:5-10 NIV *****

We thank You today for these words of King David so long ago, and that they are forever true!

We confess to You today that we, as Americans and Minnesotans, were unable to avoid war with Nazi Germany in this era, and therefore, may have participated in the deaths of both enemies and innocents. Will You have mercy on this offense?

We confess to You today that we, as Your Church, may have failed to stand prayerfully with our brothers and sisters in Europe in spite of their subjugation and conscription to an evil Fascist dictatorship. Have we righteously hated, rejected, and opposed their government as American citizens, and somehow missed that many of the citizens of Germany were already spiritual captives of Giovanni Gentile; the father of the fascist ideology? ******

Conversely, we confess the judgments of Your Church in Europe towards the United States. Did they fail to see us also as members of Your Kingdom, or only as subjects of the political dominion of America?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and its common political and socio-economic idolatry?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and our shared misbeliefs towards each other during World War II, and taking the bait of self-righteousness held out by our common Deceiver?
Will You set us free from the pride that can assert itself within patriotism, and give make us an unpretentious United States and demütig Deutschland?

Lord, we thank You for this testimony of the character of Your human beings; whether a German POW or an American Minnesotan farmer! We are thankful for the example of Algona Camp Number One and the Peterson and Horn families. Somehow, they simultaneously held up the cause of justice as to the actions of their enemies while not judging their humanity. Yes, they were prisoners, but they were prisoners made in Your Image!

O, dear Father, we so desperately need this kind wise discernment; both here in the North Star state and abroad! Will You continue to bless us to be people who love their enemies and do good for them? Will You give us strong resolve to oppose evil and love what is good and life-giving?

Will You give Your Church the gift of recognizing our dual citizenship? Though we may experience varying degrees of captivity as citizens of our nation of origin, we are also the emancipated subjects of Your Heavenly State. We were all POWs of the Accuser of Humanity, yet You served our sentence for us so we could walk free! Hallelujah! Whether engaged in a outward political war or inward spiritual battle, give us Your eyes, sweet Jesus, to see You inside every POW until war is no more!

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 ESV ******

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/3953177-how-wwii-german-pows-fared-grand-forks
*** http://www.mnopedia.org/place/german-prisoners-war-camp-moorhead-1944-1946
**** https://www.inforum.com/opinion/columns/2725100-McFeely-German-POWs-right-here-in-Moorhead citing Piehl, Mark. “POWs work at Moorhead Truck Farm”. Clay County Historical Society, 1991, pp.15-17.
***** https://biblehub.com/psalms/146-1.htm
****** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Gentile
******* https://biblehub.com/proverbs/16-7.htm

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20th Century, Chicano, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Latino, Mexican-American, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Mexican Community Organization 1922

Unknown

1922

“Mexican-Americans in St. Paul form the Anahuac Society. The organization sponsors social events and encourages participation in community affairs and the celebration of traditional Mexican holidays.” *

Anahuac means “near the water” in Nahuatl, the ancient Aztec language spoken in Tenochtitlan, Mexico, so it is no surprise that it be transferred onto a home with many waters like Minnesota.** The Anáhuac Society established  in Saint Paul was meant to provide a solid foundation for Latinos to survive in a new environment, as well as an institutional basis for organizing.*** Anahuac is also a small town in Texas which claims “the first armed confrontation between Anglo-Texans and Mexican troops, on June 10-12, 1832.”***

Some of Saint Paul’s first Latinos likely were driven north during this era due to the unrest of the Mexican Revolution or Revolución Mexicana. The corruption of the Diaz administration was challenged by Madero and Pancho Villa. Mexicans who fled this conflict found work first in the sugar beet industry of Minnesota.

Let’s observe with You, Lord, and see where this prayer leads. We see a people displaced by war or revolt seeking a new way of life. We see a bold quest for freedom in spite of the rigors of farm labor.

Will You forgive the judgments made between groups during the Mexican Revolution, and their transference through these pioneers to Minnesota? All immigrants to Minnesota have carried our historical baggage here. We have viewed our neighbors and government through the lens of both our beliefs and misbeliefs shaped by the pains and experiences of our countries of origin. We give You our dirty glasses this day Lord, will You give us new eyes for those around us who have also overcome to reside in this place?

Will You remember the hearts of these new arrivals, and their commitment to stay and build community? Will You bless their progeny to see their wisdom? Will You bless those who have chosen to live here humbly in peace, even rather than be warriors in their homeland?

Will You bless the contributions of Latinos to our state, especially through generations of untiring work in agriculture? Will You remove the present day judgments of those who work with their hands in the field? Will You show us new solutions to the problems of guest workers and illegal immigrants?

We are drowning in judgment over the plight of guest workers and illegal immigrants in the present tense. We have refused, to often, to even hear the thoughts of our neighbor on the subject. Our Democratic friends have judged their Republican next door to be: racist, haters of brown people, and living in a bubble of white privilege. Our Republican friends may believe in the human rights of illegals, but that civil rights are belong only to citizens. They have judged their Democratic friends of being incapable of rationality, over emotional, and false accusers of those who love our laws and hate lawlessness. 

In any case, will You forgive us whether we are those who judge, or those who counter-judge our neighbor in Minnesota? We invite You to be our Judge and Justice for all Minnesotans. Will You make a place that is lawful and just for all nations who love Your laws of grace and truth?

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” ****  Proverbs 16:32

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universidad_Anáhuac_México_Norte

**http://www.mnopedia.org/minnesotanos-latino-journeys-minnesota

***http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/travel/weekend-getaways/article/Twenty-four-hours-in-Anahuac-in-August-11943198.php

 

 

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