Cloquet native Langenbrunner takes break from NHL to visit NorthlandCloquet-raised hockey star Jamie Langenbrunner is taking a break to play in the 81st Cloquet Invitational golf tournament that opens today at Cloquet Country Club.
By: Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune
Summer is for NHL transactions, according to Jamie Langenbrunner’s schedule.
Earlier this week, he signed a one-year contract to return for a second season with the St. Louis Blues for a reported $1.25 million.
He also has a role in the league’s ongoing collective bargaining negotiations as a member of the NHL Players’ Association negotiating committee.
This weekend, however, the Cloquet-raised Langenbrunner is taking a break to play in the 81st Cloquet Invitational golf tournament that opens today at Cloquet Country Club. He, wife Elizabeth, and their three children have been at their Moose Lake summer home the past five weeks and he’s managed about 10 rounds of golf.
Langenbrunner, 36, says he’s been following the NHL negotiations, which began June 29, but hasn’t yet been asked to attend. The sides met for three hours Tuesday in Toronto and are to meet again today. They hope to work out a new contract before the present deal expires Sept. 15 with revenue sharing a key point.
“I wouldn’t say there’s been progress, but I’m hopeful things will progress and we’ll reach an agreement,” Langenbrunner said this week. “We’d like to get pointed in the right direction (aided by NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr), but I’m not expecting things to get serious until mid-August. We know what’s at stake, but we won’t sign just for the sake of saving a season of hockey.”
Langenbrunner was among five players elected two years ago to lead a search committee for a new executive director when Fehr was hired. The NHL experienced a lockout in 2004-05.
Signing a contract was a good resolution for the unrestricted free agent veteran winger who was said to have played a notable role in the improvement of the Blues last season. After missing the playoffs three of the previous four years, St. Louis got to the Western Conference semifinals before losing to eventual-champion Los Angeles. Langenbrunner had 24 points in 70 games and has now played more NHL games (1,105) than all but one Minnesotan, defenseman Phil Housley (1,495 from 1982-2003).
“I did have my eyes on a couple of other spots, to see if there were other opportunities (including the Minnesota Wild), but St. Louis wanted me back and it has been a good fit,” said Langenbrunner, a former U.S. Olympic captain and NHL captain with New Jersey, who has played for 17 seasons. “The organization made a lot of strides (in 2011-12) and we’re hoping to build on that and be relevant in the league.”
Approximately 165 players are entered in the 54-hole Cloquet Invitational, including 48 in the championship flight. In the field are defending champion Cory Schultz from Dodge Center, Minn.; 2012 Reidar Lund Memorial winner Dan Moline of Duluth; and Andrew Oakes and 2012 Minnesota Class AA high school boys champion Taylor Sundbom, both of Hermantown. Langenbrunner, the 2009 champion, has a zero handicap this season.
Schultz won last year with a 2-over-par 215 while Cloquet’s John Sheff finished second for a record 12th time.