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Research season/The Red Line

April 19, 2012
By Brandon Veale - DMG Sports Editor ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

It's April in the Copper Country, which means for a sports editor like me there are two primary activities: waiting for the snow to melt and research.

This year, the snow disappeared in March, further limiting my options.

For the last few days, I've spent a little time each day in the back with the microfilm reader scribbling down the dates and specifics of memorable moments in local sports.

For now, I started with the oldest microfilm in the cabinet, which began on Oct. 1, 1987. Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at any reference to the late Reagan administration as ancient history, but cut me some slack here. At this point, I was young (three) and foolish (in that stage when mid-day naps were to be avoided, not treasured). Paul Peterson was the sports editor, but neither Stephen Anderson nor Michael Bleach had been born.

This column is not intended to recount the players and the games of those days. I'll let Paul do that. On the contrary, this is an opportunity to look back at the things we got away with back in those days, nearly 25 years ago.

The world was vastly different back then. Of course, girls' basketball was still played in the fall, but neither the current Houghton or Hancock High Schools had been built yet and Calumet played at Washington Middle School.

Many of the names were still the same.

A young alumnus and first-year assistant coach by the name of Kevin Luke still had the time for some independent basketball for the WMPL team.

DMG photographer David Archambeau was a junior on a Houghton High School football team that won 13-7 in the first Copper Bowl to go into overtime despite the Gremlins recording just 47 yards from scrimmage and one first down.

Dick Franti of Ontonagon was dutifully making the coach calls he still does today for Ontonagon's girls' basketball team, and racking up championships too. The then-Class C Glads won the WestPAC that year.

They didn't win the districts though. That honor went to Calumet. Current dominator Houghton's time was to come, but their coach was already making headlines ... for Baraga, where Julie Filpus scored 40 points as a sophomore (on 18-of-22 from the field) against White Pine.

Nearly everyone in those days was wearing the girls' basketball jerseys with the sleeves. That look has not persisted, but there are certain sports fashion sins that are much worse.

Of course, the boys were still in the throes of the short shorts phase, so they had nothing to talk about.

The hockey world was not immune from regrettable fads, either.

The Hockey East-WCHA interlocking schedule experiment led to some match-ups one might call "wicked weird," like Boston College at Michigan Tech or Michigan Tech at Maine.

Rick Miller talked about making the Holiday Classic a premier prep hockey tournament. It didn't quite develop into the "U.P. championship" dreamed of back then, but it's developed into an institution none the less.

Also, Jeffers was clearly guilty of wearing Cooperalls during the 1987-88 season. For you young folks, Cooperalls were full-length hockey pants. Imagine running around the SDC with snowpants on and you'll get the idea.

I hope one day, someone's going to wade through the PDFs of my pages and ask their neighbor "What the heck was he thinking?"

Who knows, maybe it'll be me asking someone, "What the heck was I thinking?"

Until then, I'll be in the back, reading until the scrolling makes my eyes bug out.

Brandon Veale can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at



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