Excuse UAA defenseman Drew Darwitz if he was a little distracted at hockey practice Thursday. Yes, the Seawolves were preparing for a big series this weekend against the Nanooks of UAF, but another big game was competing for his attention.
Drew's cousin Natalie Darwitz is the captain of the U.S. women's hockey team that took on Canada in the gold-medal game in Vancouver. Right about the same time the Seawolves started practice, Natalie and her teammates were playing in front of a crowd of 16,805 at Vancouver's Canada Hockey Place. Canada won the game 2-0.
Darwitz now owns three Olympics medals -- silver from this year and 2002 and bronze from 2006.
Remembering a reporter
For a couple decades, just about every Alaska ski racer who won a medal at a Junior National or U.S. National Championship series got some ink from a man named Paul Robbins, who wrote freelance stories about nordic racing for dozens of U.S. newspapers, including the Daily News and the old Anchorage Times.
Robbins died two years ago this week of a heart attack. As a tribute to the friendship and respect he earned chronicling a sport often ignored by the American media, the U.S. nordic combined team honored Robbins when they collected their silver medals Tuesday for the team nordic combined event.
According to a report by teamusa.org, when Johnny Spillane, Todd Lodwick, Brett Camerota and Billy Demong climbed the podium, Lodwick carried with him Robbins' trademark Scottish beret. Anyone who knew Robbins knew that beret.
When Demong posted a picture of the awards ceremony on Twitter, he wrote underneath: "Paul Robbins would be proud."
Before the awards ceremony, a group including U.S. Ski Team officials Tom Kelly and Luke Bodensteiner and NBC correspondent Peter Graves, scattered some of their friend's ashes on a quiet spot overlooking the race track at Whistler Olympic Park.
Alaskans at the Olympics
(all times AST)
Men's biathlon, relay, 10:30 a.m. (Jay Hakkinen, Jeremy Teela)
Women's cross country, 30-K classic, 10:45 a.m. (Holly Brooks, Kikkan Randall, pending coaches' decision)
Men's cross country, 50-K classic. 8:30 a.m. (James Southam, pending coaches' decision)
Vancouver Olympics 411
Monday will mark the busiest day in history at Vancouver International Airport, where 39,000 passengers and 77,000 checked bags will depart. Officials advise travelers to arrive four hours before their departure times.
Holly Brooks, cross-country skier from Anchorage:
"(Husband Rob Whitney) put my "moose hat" (from opening ceremonies) on Ebay. It's already sitting at 300-plus dollars. While it's a nice memento from the Games, it's also half of a plane ticket to the next race that I need to go to."
-- from hollyskis.blogspot.com
Compiled by Anchorage Daily News sports editor Beth Bragg. Daily News wire reports contributed to this report.