Noah Grant covers the women’s hockey team in a 1-0 OT win on Feb. 15. Photo credit: Noah Grant
This is my 116th article about Huskies hockey since September. 116 times I have been able to grace the pages of the University Chronicle, whether it be in-print or online. 116 times I’ve gotten to talk about arguably the most welcoming men’s and women’s organization in college hockey. But with a heavy heart, number 116 will be my last.
A little bit of background, I was a graduate student at St. Cloud State. Hockey was a side gig. For me, I realized how I was not happy with what I was doing academically in my given field anymore. It’s given me some time to think about what matters most to me in terms of my career and mental health. Unfortunately, the academic road and my purpose in life has pushed me away from a university that I was proud to call home. Today, I want to tell you why I’m as proud as I am, and why I’m heartbroken to close this chapter in my book of life. I hope that you’ll give me a little of your time… for the last time.
I have been a part of covering Huskies hockey for exactly 180 days before today, from Sept. 15 through March 13. Theoretically, that means that 65 percent of those days would have at least one article for them regarding some facet of St. Cloud State hockey. I have called 15 women’s games and 5 men’s games (and have not missed a home game) on the radio for KVSC 88.1 FM. I have done 14 episodes of the Huskies Warming House Podcast, where my co-host Nick Maxson and I talk Huskies hockey and occasionally have guests. I eat, sleep, and breathe hockey.
But how did it happen? I haven’t even been in St. Cloud for hardly a year.
Like all stories, it starts with people that make it happen, people that invested in me, so I invested in them. Today, I want to give them their due diligence, because I am honored to have been a part of such a fantastic group of people that make Huskies men’s and women’s hockey happen. I want to highlight those accomplishments.
Back in the summer of 2019, I was able to start a conversation with a guy named Jim Gray. For those of you who don’t know, Jim is essentially the engineering “glue” that holds the student-run radio station (KVSC) together. Jim could literally build you a radio station if you were stranded on an island with nothing but two palm trees and a nickel. I went down to the station and we kind of started talking about opportunities for me. I played hockey for 20 years through college, and I had been calling college games for the past year. I don’t know the exact details of the conversation, but it went a little something like:
Jim: Do you like other sports?
Noah: Yeah, but I just want to do color for hockey.
Jim: Well, we have lots of sports…
Noah: Nope, I just want to do hockey.
Jim: Well, we don’t really have an opportunity for the men’s team, and we don’t know about the women’s team yet, but it might be filled. You’re sure you don’t want to do other sports?
Persuasive, aren’t I?
Well, to get on the air at KVSC, you have to learn how to do a regular news show and host… without burning down the radio station (and this has been closer to happening than people think). So, you have to record yourself doing a news show. I had never seen any of this equipment before. I had never done a news show before. Heck, I didn’t even know what I had for lunch that day.
I was overwhelmed and had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I probably would have left if it wasn’t for the people I met in the station. Man, when I tell you that you will never meet a better group of people in your life than the KVSC crew, I mean it. These people do it all. I have never been more accepted, appreciated, and more humbled to be a part of such a fantastic team.
From Sam and Blake helping me through that first newscast, to Drew, Collin, and Hans always being willing to listen to what I have to say for sports (and making me laugh while doing it), to Brooks, Lindsey, Syd, Ryan, Joe, Andy, Alex, Jake B, and Bryan K for being incredible people that would always stop to talk to me and accept me for who I was, and to Jim and Jo for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime (plus everyone else at KVSC who are nothing short of awesome), I am eternally grateful. The confidence that all of you have given me to help me even get to call one hockey game is something I will cherish for the rest of my life, and I will never forget it.
I also want to thank my newspaper friends, who gave me a chance to set a (technical) record for the most hockey articles in a year that I don’t think will ever be broken. Beth, Tim, Tony, Jeremy, Matt and Sam, you all have always listened to what I have to say, and I am beyond proud to be able to have covered games for the University Chronicle. Along these lines, I’d like to thank Zach Dwyer for his advice from the SC Times.
Last but not least, I want to thank all of the people around the team that let a nervous kid talk to them, learn the trade, and for always supporting me while covering the game I love. I want to thank Jim Erickson, who (along with Dave Reichel) would always listen to me ramble on about the youth of today and talk hockey with me forever. I want to thank Tom Nelson and Kelsey Whaley, who coordinated almost every ridiculous request I asked of them in order to try to cover the game that much more, as well as Kenna Farrey for being my women’s hockey contact. I’d like to give a shout-out to Bill Prout, who has been nothing short of exceptional in his willingness to help myself and my team do what we do. I want to thank the women’s hockey players and coaches (Steve, Molly, and Jinelle), as well as the men’s players and coaches (Brett, Nick, Gibby, and Dave Shyiak) for being patient with me and giving me the chance to work on the craft, allowing me to be a part of the “family”, and give me an inside look that not many people can say they’ve seen, let alone worked with. Also, don’t sleep on the women’s team, they are going to be a strong team this year and deserve much more coverage and support than they get. Get out to the rink, support the team, watch them on FloHockey TV. These athletes from each hockey team invest themselves for this community and we need to make sure we give that appreciation back. Also, thanks to Chad Scheetz for helping us with our podcast and Pat Micheletti for always stopping to talk hockey.
Finally, I want to thank my broadcast partner and good friend Nick Maxson for everything he has done for me. I’m proud to get to be your pal, and I am excited to see where the future takes us; it’s going to be one heck of a journey and I’m thrilled to see it through. I’m also thankful for those who took the time from the Husky Productions/UTVS TV side to help, specifically Rachel, Gavin, Parker, Kirsten, Alex, Maya, Paige, and everyone else in that group who have been an absolute blast to be around.
Hockey is a great game because the people in it are great. Everyone I have mentioned is going to be so good at what they do. St. Cloud State hockey is the epitome of what it means to be a caring and welcoming hockey community. I’ve gotten to talk with Olympians, meet fantastic people, and make memories that I will never forget. I won’t stop following this team and I hope to continue to cover the Huskies with our podcast for as long as we can (we appreciate all the support all of our fans have given us to grow the game).
I won’t lie to you… this move is hard. It’s painful. For me to leave everything that brings me pure joy when I go to the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center every weekend is difficult. But, who knows, maybe I’ll get on the mic or write another recap for Huskies hockey games before it is all said and done. This hockey community has given me the privilege every day to do what I never dreamed I would be able to get to experience, and from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you. I am honored to get to do what I do. I sure had a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see when this school finally gets to hoist the big prize.
Oh, and one thing’s for sure…
I’ll always be a Husky.
Noah R Grant
Noah is a graduate student writing for the newspaper at St. Cloud State University.
He currently covers the men’s and women’s hockey teams for the newspaper. Noah also does color analyst work for both teams on the radio at KVSC studios.
Check out his St. Cloud State hockey-based podcast at https://huskieswarminghousepodcast.com