Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Coming West: College Hockey

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Coming West: College Hockey

Article excerpt

THE farsighted National Collegiate Athletic Association has arranged an odd marriage for one of its lesser known, but more promising, championship events. In 1999, the NCAA's Division I men's hockey championship will be hosted by the University of Alaska, Anchorage, but played at the Anaheim Arena in southern California.

While the plan is unusual, Tim Dillon, Alaska's athletic director, says it has some exciting possibilities. "College hockey needs to expand its base of fans, and with three National Hockey League teams {Los Angeles, San Jose, and Anaheim} in the state, California is a natural place to begin."

Since the NCAA requires a local member institution to host its championships, and California currently has no varsity hockey programs, the University of Alaska, a hotbed for the sport, became a "logical" choice. The tournament will mark the championship's first appearance west of the Rocky Mountains. Retrospective on a Piston `Bad Boy'

Bill Laimbeer's basketball career cut across the grain in many ways, so it was not so unusual that he walked away from the game several weeks into a new season instead of at its conclusion. Hampered by a nagging injury and acutely aware that the Detroit Pistons are headed "south," Laimbeer called it quits after 13-plus seasons in the National Basketball Association. To put it mildly, he did not leave as the the most well-liked player among his peers.

He seemed to relish the villain's role as one of Detroit's "Bad Boys" and didn't hesitate to use his elbows - even against his own teammates. In fact, he made news this season when, after he had elbowed close friend Isiah Thomas in a Detroit Pistons practice, Thomas broke his hand slugging Laimbeer in retaliation. Earlier, Thomas had missed several weeks of the season because of injured ribs, compliments of Laimbeer, whose background is atypical for the NBA. He comes from a rich family, is white, and is a nonleaper.

Chuck Daly, his former coach, told Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe that Laimbeer "probably did more with less than anyone I've ever seen." Daly was especially struck by how his 6 ft., 11 in. pivot man managed to win an NBA rebounding title during the 1985-86 season, given that he "couldn't jump four inches." A lowly 65th pick in the 1979 NBA draft, the Notre Dame product elected to play professionally in Italy before beginning his NBA career with Cleveland. He retires with 10,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, hardly any missed games, and, best of all, two championship rings. Basketball Rainbows get around

The phrase "going the distance" is taking on new meaning for the University of Hawaii's well-traveled basketball team. …

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