Many of us who enter the Community Ice Arena in Fergus Falls enjoy the facility but also can’t help going back in time.

The arena, adjacent to the Roosevelt Education Center, was once the site for the south end of the Fergus Falls High School. Attending the Otter girls varsity hockey game Tuesday evening, Jan. 7, brought back good memories for me.

After entering the building, near Friberg Avenue, one can look to the right and visualize what was once the location of the high school principal’s office.

After taking the stairs to the second floor, I arrived at what was and still is a foyer.

On the east side of the foyer is the concession area, which many of us remember as the location of Grace Halcrow’s bookkeeping classroom. To the north is where we had lunch in the cafeteria during our high school days.

When people enter the ice arena, to the south, many former FFHS students recall what at one time were three floors of classrooms and student lockers. This was also where an upper level study hall and school library were located. 

Looking out the library windows, to the south from the third floor in the mid-1960s, we had a great view of the levee and the Otter Tail River.

The hallway that heads east, between the main arena and satellite arena, is what one time held more lockers for students of Fergus Falls High School. That area also included science rooms for biology, chemistry and physics.

 

Past FFHS hockey glory years recalled

Those who want a little more warmth, with bucket seats, can watch hockey games at the west side of the hockey arena.

There’s a glass partition so one doesn’t hear the sounds of players on the ice and the roar of the crowds. But it’s a great section of the Community Ice Arena.

Behind the seats are trophy cases and displays of uniforms of former Otter boys and girls hockey players who went on to play college hockey. Their college uniforms are displayed along with photos and other information.

On Jan. 7, on the west end of the ice arena, I read the names of the 1985 Otter boys on the runner-up trophy from the section hockey finals. That’s when there was a one-class system of high school hockey in Minnesota.

This was a great Otter boys hockey team, with players that included Derek Trosvig, Brad Baglo, Jeff Hanson, Mark Cory, Myron Russell, Pete Seltz, Pat Connelly, Kyle Johnson, Jerry Bogen, Russ Golden, Blaine Rudh, Jeff Mehl, Paul Quam, John Greenagel, Dave Lillquist, Rick Flake, Jeff Nygaard, Ryan Anderson, Brad Franklin and Rob Starkey.

Coach Tim Cullen’s team defeated Crookston 6-2 in the section semifinals and lost a close game to Bemidji 3-2 in the section finals. Daily Journal accounts of the games were provided by long-time Fergus hockey coach and teacher Roger Johnson.

Check out this memory lane the next time you attend an Otter boys or girls hockey game.

 

Baylor revolutionized the hanging jump shot

Elgin Baylor, who with his Minneapolis Lakers teammates played a charity basketball game in Fergus Falls in April of 1960, introduced the hanging jump shot.

“My improvised style of play that people say revolutionized the sport began in junior high school,” says Baylor who later on moved with the Lakers to Los Angeles. 

Baylor talks about his Minneapolis and LA Lakers days in a book, “Hang Time,” off the press in 2018. 

He appeared to hang in the air while shooting the basketball, thus the reason for the book title, “Hang Time.”

“I can’t hang in the air longer than anyone else,” Baylor said. “It’s not physically possible. Gravity prevents such a myth.” 

“Here’s the secret to my ability to appear airborne longer than other humans: a shrug, a shoulder wiggle, a fake, and super-quick first step. Then I get the defender to jump first.”

 

Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.

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