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From the Catbird Seat...Calling all local hockey history buffs

Cloquet high school hockey goes back to 1947. Now, a portion of the town’s hockey heritage is scheduled to go on display at Northwoods Credit Union Arena.

Former Lumberjack and NHL star Jamie Langenbrunner is helping lead a public appeal for memorabilia and items to display, in a manner similar to Duluth’s Heritage Hockey Center.

I met him at a restaurant last week and he carried a folder labeled “College Players” with him as we sat.

“I think we’ve got pictures of almost everyone,” Langenbrunner said.  “We are trying not to leave anyone out.”

Organizers hope the project will be complete by the start of the next hockey season, but obviously before that can happen, the artifacts which will make the project a success still have to be gathered.

That’s where Langenbrunner comes in. He has served as a hub for information from longtimers and younger fans, players and coaches alike.  His name certainly helps, but the best way to gather what’s needed for the display will come by word of mouth.

“I think Jerry Couture has one of everything,” Langenbrunner laughed.  “He’s donated some jerseys.”

What Couture doesn’t have, Milo Rasmussen might. The longtime penalty box attendant proved it to me at game two of the recent Minnesota Wilderness/Wenatchee Wild playoff series.

While standing with me and Couture prior to the game, Rasmussen reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a perfectly folded copy of the Duluth News Tribune from 1983, detailing Cloquet’s first-ever section championship win, and the famous broken ankle that kept Corey Millen out of the state tournament.

“Take a look at this,” he said, and I had to marvel both at his neatness and his devotion to local history. It’s the perfect type of artifact for the new exhibit.

Northwoods Credit Union Arena rink manager Justin Harriman says that to make the exhibit a full success, old jerseys and sweaters similar to those seen at the Heritage Center need to be located.

“I’d love to find jerseys from Pinehurst and Washington for example, youth teams whose jerseys could go up in the building,” Harriman said.

Other items are being solicited as well.

Harriman said he’s looking for images of teams, buildings, local rinks, prominent individuals and coaches, as well as old Cloquet High School jerseys.

However, there’s another special addition on tap for the exhibit, and Langenbrunner is in charge of compiling it.

“We’re looking for images of all the Cloquet Olympic athletes — not just hockey players,” he said. “We want to honor everyone.”

When it’s done, the exhibit will reside on the upper level near the north doors. It’s not supposed to be exactly like the Heritage Center’s hanging jerseys and display cases — because Cloquet is different.

“We don’t want to be exactly like them,” Langenbrunner said. “Some of it is obviously going to be the same, but we’re different.”

For more information on the project, or to donate a piece of local hockey history, contact Justin Harriman at Northwoods Credit Union Arena at 218-879-5400, ext. 1.