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Nordby’s ‘check’ gives Huron Hockey a goal

Posted: Monday, May 6th, 2013

Members of the Huron Hockey Association board stand with longtime hockey fan Earl Nordby as he presents a check for $42,000 to pay off the remaining balance of the $270,000 compressor for which the association had raised funds. From left are, Dan Wehde, vice president; Sheriff Doug Solem, past president; Nordby; Mike Hunter, president; Jason Edleman, treasurer. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED. The new compressor at Bergman Arena which cost the Huron Hockey Association $270,000 has been paid in full thanks to almost $230,000 in funds raised by the association and a $42,000 donation by Earl Nordby. FILE PHOTO

HURON — The Huron Hockey Association conducted a major fundraiser to help cover the cost of the new compressor, which was needed this season after the old compressor went on the blink following several years beyond its expected lifespan.

The effort to raise the $270,000 needed came up a bit short and left the group’s board members wondering where they would come up with the final $42,000.

Thanks to a second donation from a longtime fan of the Huron hockey program the shortfall has been covered.

Earl Nordby of Huron, who was honored as the 2012-2013 Friend of Hockey Award winner during the Huron Hockey Association’s annual banquet was compelled to add to his initial donation, which kicked off the campaign, after attending the season-ending event.

“When they were nice enough to honor me for my help with the hockey program, I went to the big event they had at the Campus Center and saw all these kids up there, it was just absolutely spectacular,” Nordby said. “I didn’t know kids at that age even played hockey and had the love of it that they do have.”

Nordby has been involved in one way or another with the Huron hockey program since its inception.

“When hockey first started, I wasn’t a coach or anything, but I had friends who were coaches,” Nordby said. “Some nights some of the men wouldn’t be in in time for the game, so I would get the team ready and get them going and then the regular coach would come.

“I loved hockey and in those days it was cold outside, but they were thirsty from playing it so I was giving them Pepsi all the time,” he said. “It really made it nice for them.”

Back in Nordby’s early involvement with the local hockey program games were played at an outdoor rink located in one of the open buildings on the South Dakota State Fairgrounds. The rink was eventually moved into the Hippodrome, where it remained until Bergman Arena was built.

“It’s just been a wonder on how it came from just having an ice rink out on the fairgrounds in one of the open barns that didn’t have any sidewalls on it,” Nordby said of the advancement of hockey throughout the years in Huron. “The city was good to keep that going and then when they went in to the indoor one at the Hippodrome and then into their own building, which was a financial boost for the community.”

The dedication shown by numerous individuals throughout the years has been vital in the success of the Huron hockey program.

“One of my friends called me and he was stuck in Sioux City and couldn’t drive back so he was chartering an airplane to fly back to Huron. He was going to be about an hour late so he asked if I could take the team over and get the hockey game going,” Nordby said. “I thought, ‘What dedication that is, when somebody would do that to be there for the kids.’ It wasn’t even his kids, but he was a hockey coach and he was that dedicated. It has always been that way.”

Nordby witnessed some of that same type of dedication during this year’s annual banquet.

“It is so amazing when I saw the program that they had and all the little kids and parents,” he said. “I was just staggered by the dedication they all show for that. I can’t say enough nice things about it.”

For the complete article see the 05-05-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-05-2013 paper.

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