Cleared Mankato college coach fights suspension

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota college football coach who was cleared of child porn charges is fighting his suspension.

Connie Howard, general counsel for the Inter Faculty Organization, says Todd Hoffner received written notice from Minnesota State University, Mankato late Tuesday afternoon. She says in an email to The Associated Press that the notice calls for a 20-day unpaid suspension starting Jan. 7.

The Inter Faculty Organization is a union representing faculty in Minnesota's state universi...

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Twins-Blue Jays game postponedComments Off

MINNEAPOLIS – The game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins scheduled for Wednesday night was postponed due to expected inclement weather and cold temperatures in the Twin Cities.

The game will be made up at 6:10 p.m. Thursday as part of a split doubleheader at Target Field.

Cold temperatures are expected all week in Minneapolis. Rain and snow are forecasted for Wednesday with highs reaching only the upper-30s. Things look slightly better for Thursday, with sun and temps in the low 40s.

This is Toronto’s only trip to Minnesota this season.

The Blue Jays were scheduled to send knuckleballer and former Twins pitcher R.A. Dickey to the mound. Dickey, who won the National League’s Cy Young Award following the 2012 season with the New York Mets, hasn’t seen similar success since coming back to the American League. He went 14-13 with a 4.21 ERA in 2013 and is 1-2 with a 5.30 ERA through three starts this season.

Dickey went 1-1 with a 4.62 ERA in 64 1/3 innings pitched, primarily out of the bullpen, with Minnesota in 2009. He is expected to start in the first game of the doubleheader Thursday.

Kyle Gibson (2-0, 1.59 ERA) will pitch in the first game for the Twins.

Mike Pelfrey, a former teammate of Dickey’s with the Mets, was scheduled to start for the Twins on Wednesday. In his second season in Minnesota, Pelfrey is 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA. He was moved to pitch in the nightcap.

Dustin McGowan (1-1, 4.00 ERA) will pitch in the nightcap for the Blue Jays.

The extra day could prove valuable for Jays designated hitter Adam Lind, who left the game Tuesday with lower-back tightness. Toronto manager John Gibbons said Lind was considered day-to-day.

NOTES: Jays SS Jose Reyes went 0-for-3 with a walk Tuesday in a rehabilitation start with Class A Dunedin. Reyes is on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury he suffered in the season opener. He could rejoin the Blue Jays for their game Friday at Cleveland. … Toronto will carry a four-game winning streak against the Twins into the doubleheader Thursday. … Minnesota is 1-4 in series openers this season following a 9-3 loss to Toronto Tuesday. The Twins are 5-3 in all other games.

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Fargo North names Adam Roland as new head football coachComments Off

FARGO – Fargo North High School announced Wednesday that Adam Roland will be the school’s new head football coach.

Roland is a teacher at North High School and has been an assistant coach in football and track and field the last three years.

Roland, a former football standout at Wahpeton High School and the University of North Dakota, takes over a Spartans program that finished the 2013 season 1-8 under Kelly Kalina, who resigned in January.

Prior to his positions at North, Roland taught and coached in the Central Cass (Casselton, N.D.) and Evansville, Minn., school districts. He also was an assistant football coach at Mayville State.

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Giants to sign QB FreemanComments Off

Josh Freeman could sign with the New York Giants this week after a successful tryout with the team Monday.

ESPN reported the deal would be finalized Wednesday or Thursday.

The quarterback gives the team a second arm in offseason workouts, joining second-year backup Ryan Nassib. Starter Eli Manning is out for at least six weeks after undergoing ankle surgery.

A first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Freeman would be joining his third team in six months, which included a start for the Minnesota Vikings against the Giants last season.

Freeman was claimed by the Vikings after his release from the Buccaneers. He completed 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards with an interception Oct. 21 against theGiants but did not play the rest of the season.

When coach Leslie Frazier was fired at the end of the season, Freeman wasn’t extended a contract offer as an unrestricted free agent.

The Vikings held exclusive rights to negotiate with Freeman until March 8.

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Athmann’s three hits propel Gophers to win over BisonComments Off

MINNEAPOLIS – Austin Athmann went 3-for-3 with an RBI to lead Minnesota to a 5-3 victory against North Dakota State in college baseball Tuesday at Siebert Field.

Brian Glowicki allowed one unearned run in four shutout innings for the Gophers (18-14).

David Ernst drove in two runs for the Bison (8-16).

NDSU 100 000 020–3 7 1

M 001 001 30x–5 9 2

Trewin, Schumacher (3), Mayo (5), Folman (5), Choles (7), Flaa (7) and Leach. Glowicki, Anderson (5), Fiedler (7), Thonvold (8), Kray (8) and Athmann. W–Anderson (2-0). L–Folman (0-3).

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Wild’s Koivu knows playoff berths can be rareComments Off

ST. PAUL – Mikko Koivu has a protein shake in one hand. With his other hand, he begins wiping down his equipment and organizes the pads the same as he does after every practice.

They’re wiped free of ice and sweat and meticulously placed where they’re always placed. Gloves go on top of his locker stall, where he has all six of them – more than any other Wild player – organized in a pyramid.

On this Saturday afternoon, he’s breaking in a new pair of skates in advance of the playoffs, so he pays extra attention to those as he removes them. So when his post-practice routine is complete, only a handful of teammates are still in the locker room – mostly just the team’s younger players, who stay on the ice long after practice is complete.

Koivu takes a seat and watches the young players joke amongst themselves. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that Koivu was one of them, a first-round pick just beginning to make his mark in the NHL.

Now he’s the longest tenured Wild player, his time in the organization predating coach Mike Yeo, general manager Chuck Fletcher and owner Craig Leipold.

Koivu, 31, looks at the Wild’s young players – there are five in the active lineup 23 or younger – and thinks about how much has changed for him. More than anything, the only full-time captain in team history has learned just how hard it is to make it to the playoffs.

“For some reason, when you’re younger, you don’t realize that,” Koivu said. “You just think, ‘Oh, I’m going to do it again next year.’ But the older you get, the more experience you have, you realize it’s not that easy.”

Koivu has played in 601 regular-season games over nine seasons, but he’s only been to the Stanley Cup playoffs three times, and never made it past the first round.

As the Wild prep for the franchise’s fifth Western Conference playoff appearance, starting Thursday at top seed Colorado, there’s as much pressure on Koivu as any Wild skater to avenge a lopsided, 4-1 series loss to the Chicago Blackhawks last season.

Koivu failed to earn a point offensively, and matched against Chicago’s do-it-all center Jonathan Toews, finished a minus-6.

He certainly wasn’t the only Wild player to struggle against the eventual Stanley Cup champions, but as the team’s captain – and the player the Wild chose to build around after letting Marian Gaborik walk as a free agent in 2009 – his struggles were most conspicuous.

“When you’re not able to (produce), obviously you get frustrated and disappointed and you want to do better,” Koivu said. “You have to learn from that individually. You want to be better, and this is my chance for that.”

Each season that ends without a Stanley Cup lasts longer than the previous season.

“It sticks with you longer than when you were younger,” Koivu said.

Koivu became a father to a baby girl just before the season started.

For the first time in his life, Koivu is having thoughts about life beyond hockey. There are no thoughts of retirement – “I’m not that old,” he said with a laugh – but and understanding that he won’t be a pro hockey player forever.

“Before, you just went year by year and got ready for the next one,” Koivu said. “But now it’s something you think about. But I think at the same time, you enjoy it even more. When you realize it goes so fast, you enjoy every single moment.”

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.

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