Langenbrunner hockey fans remain optimistic Locals hopeful former Cloquet hockey star will win Stanley Cup for second time MIKE SYLVESTER The Pine Journal Last Updated: Friday, June 06th, 2003 09:47:06 AM
CLOQUET - Even back-to-back losses at the hands of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks haven’t dampened the spirits of Cloquet’s New Jersey Devils fans, who remain hopeful that hometown hero Jamie Langenbrunner can bring the Stanley Cup back to Cloquet.
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of wins at home, Anaheim countered with a pair of overtime wins – the latest on Monday night – to tie things up in the best-of-seven series.
“They’re going to come back and win it,” predicted Bob Anderson, immediately following Monday’s 1-0 overtime loss. “They’re just back to square one, that’s all.”
Anderson and a growing group of New Jersey fans gather at Wood City Grille and Bar in Scanlon to watch the Devils in their quest to win the Stanley Cup. Langenbrunner is part owner of the bar, along with John and Shelley Robideaux, and the bar area is adorned with a variety of hockey jerseys, sticks and photos.
“Jamie is one of the hardest workers out there,” said a dejected Anderson, as he watched a replay of Anaheim’s game-winning goal. “He gives his all on every shift.”
“I think he’s a great all-around player,” added Warren “Bun” Carlson, a 1974 Cloquet High School graduate and former Cloquet goaltender. “He’s paid his dues and has become a well-rounded player.”
Langenbrunner and former Cloquet High School star Derek Plante helped the Dallas Stars win the Stanley Cup back in 1999. While Plante has played the last three seasons in Europe, Langenbrunner remained in the NHL and last year was traded to New Jersey. He has flourished with the Devils and has played a key role in the playoffs, as New Jersey scored series wins over Boston, Tampa Bay and Ottawa to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals.
“He does a real good job of representing the community,” said Carlson while watching Monday’s game at the Wood City Grille and Bar. “He’s a great person for the young kids to look up to.”
Langenbrunner’s hockey accomplishments have been nothing short of spectacular.
He helped lead the Lumberjacks to the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament as a sophomore in 1992, and again as a junior in 1993, when he was named the Associated Press player of the year in Minnesota.
After getting drafted the summer after his junior year in high school, he skipped his senior year at Cloquet to sign with the Dallas Stars. He spent that season with the Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey League (Major Junior) before returning home to graduate with his high school class. He spent the next season with the Petes and the following season in the minors before sticking with the Dallas Stars.
In 1998 he was selected to be an alternate on the U.S. Olympic hockey team, and was activated after an injury opened a spot in the lineup. He played a regular shift, even seeing action on special teams.
In seven full seasons in the NHL, Langenbrunner has 115 goals and 296 total points.
This year Langenbrunner finished with 55 points in 78 games, good enough for second place on the New Jersey scoring list. Through Monday, he had 16 points in 20 playoffs games to lead the Devils in scoring, and that total is second best in the NHL.
“He’s been an Olympian, a Stanley Cup winner, and he helped lead his team to the state high school hockey tournament,” Carlson said. “He’s a skilled person, but he’s also a hard worker, and that’s why he’s been able to accomplish those things.”
Each member of the winning Stanley Cup team gets to keep the cup for a day, and four years ago Langenbrunner and Plante brought the cup to the Cloquet Area Recreation Center for several hours. Nearly 6,000 people showed up for the event, as both players signed autographs and posed for pictures with youth hockey players and their families.
Hockey fans in the area are hoping for an encore, and possibly another chance to see the most coveted trophy in professional sports.
“I remember hanging on to the Stanley Cup with him and Derek (Plante) in the locker room at the arena,” Carlson said. “I was trembling and there were tears in my eyes. I hope it can happen again.”
For now, New Jersey will focus on winning the next game, which is Thursday night in New Jersey. The winner will take a crucial 3-2 lead.
The crowd at Wood City Grille and Bar was disappointed in Monday’s 1-0 overtime loss, but confident New Jersey would regroup, win Thursday’s game at home, and eventually win game four.
“I think New Jersey will it,” Anderson boldly predicted. “I think it’s going to go seven games, but New Jersey will win it and the Stanley Cup will come back to Cloquet.”
--------- It's great to see a whole town behind a player and a team. More proof that theres Devils fans all around the country.
Jamie Langenbrunner is suppose to appear on BAD Radio on 1310 the ticket here in Dallas tomorrow. Not sure about the exact time it will be on but between noon and 3. I think that the station can be heard at htttp://www.theticket.com Maybe someone can fill us that can't hear it in on what was discussed.