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The “White Bear Bad Boy” gets a penalty

11/25/2013
Springfield Falcon winger Jake Hansen heads to the penalty box during action against the Portland Pirates at the Colisee in Lewiston, ME Nov. 16. (Photo by Jennifer Moore)

Springfield Falcon winger Jake Hansen heads to the penalty box during action against the Portland Pirates at the Colisee in Lewiston, ME Nov. 16. (Photo by Jennifer Moore)

(Watch: Jake Hansen goes to the penalty box)

If you love hockey, like I do, there are certain players you always remember.

No matter what level.

When I played as a squirt I feared the sight of Troy Ward, Curt Youngren and Terry Kujawski. They were high-flying forwards that always had the puck on their stick. They would storm down the ice and head my way. I was a defenseman. It was my job to stop them.

Not being very good at stopping players like Ward, Youngren and Kujawski, I soon took a seat in the crowd where I learned to fear players in a new way. In the crowd, the only thing you can do is watch and yell.

I watched as young goal scoring phenoms like Scott Lynch and Corey Millen would wreak havoc on my high school team, the Hill-Murray Pioneers. In college, the Minnesota Gophers could never stop anyone in a North Dakota uniform, T.J. Oshie and Tony Hrkac were particularly despicable. Then of course you have Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, who never failed to make  Minnesota North Stars look like, well, me back in my squirt days.

When I became a newspaper man covering Roseville High School sports, I volunteered to serve as a play-by-play announcer for the boys hockey team. Along with producer Wayne Powers, Roseville sports legend Jerry Otto and a countless number of dedicated student volunteers, we documented hundreds of games over the years. And we saw some great players carve up the Roseville Arena ice…most of them from White Bear Lake.

Brian Bonin and Ryan Carter are a couple of great Bears that come to mind. They were quick, strong and could shoot corners off a goal net. Fun to watch. Not really intimidating. As an announcer, there was only one player I thought deserved the nickname: “White Bear Bad Boy.” His name was Jake Hansen.

Now my friend Sherry, who happens to cut Jake’s hair, says he really isn’t a bad boy but the kid could play hockey. He was tough, fearless and a deadly playmaker. He could score goals and bust heads. The only time Roseville was safe was when he was in the penalty box…which was relatively often.

You see kids play like that when they’re 16-years-old and you think they gotta be headed for the NHL.

In Jake’s case, he might be.

The other night Jen and I attended a Portland Pirates minor league hockey game with our friends Larry and Magda. Larry serves as publisher for the Brunswick newspaper and scored some sweet front row tickets.  The Pirates, a Phoenix Coyotes affiliate, were playing a team from Springfield, Mass. the minor league team for the Columbus Bluejackets.

Walking into the arena, I grabbed a roster and looked over the teams. Before we could even find our seats I saw a familiar name: White Bear Bad Boy Jake Hansen.

Hansen, now 24, is tied for the Springfield team lead in goals and is third in points. Against Portland, he skated a regular shift and was on the ice during key moments in the game. He moved the puck, was  an offensive threat and dished out a few hits.

Oh yeah, and the White Bear Bad Boy got two penalties.

Some players you always remember.

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