The Gipper’s U.P. Hometown Will Host an NHL Game
WAY up north in the U.P. - in Copper Country, is Calumet, Michigan. If you're driving to Copper Harbor on the Keweenaw Peninsula, you'll go right by it. In fact, it's the last town of any size between Houghton and the furthest point north on the Michigan mainland.
Calumet just got some good news. According to MLive.com, this fall, the Calumet Colosseum, "the oldest, in-use, indoor hockey arena in the world" will host an NHL game. They were named Sunday to host Kraft's Hockeyville USA event. The game will be an exhibition game between two "TBA" NHL teams (you KNOW one of them has to be the Red Wings, right?). To get ready for that kind of competition, the Colosseum will get $150,000 in upgrades and $10,000 in new equipment. Nice, huh?
You know who else comes from that area? The Gipper. Not Ronald Reagan - the actual Gipper - George Gipp. George Gipp was the first All-American at Notre Dame. He died in 1920 right after the season ended, but not before he had an emotional talk on his death bed with Knute Rockne, the Notre Dame head football coach. Eight years later, on November 10, 1928, when Notre Dame was playing favored Army, Knute fired the team up by telling them to "win one for the Gipper". They did and it became a legendary speech and a movie starring Ronald Reagan.
Gipp was born in Laurium, the town next door to Calumet but he's actually buried in Calumet. If you ever get up that way, stop and see the George Gipp Memorial in Laurium. I visited a couple of years ago. There's not much there, just a small park with a memorial wall in a neighborhood surrounded by houses. But it's a cool part of U.P. history.