After the Huskies lost 3-0 to Minnesota-Duluth — in a game that was much closer than that score — there may not be anyone in Husky Nation that feels worse than Brian Halonen. Halonen took a five minute major and a game misconduct early in the first period. As Tech’s most important offensive player, that was a huge blow to the Huskies.
There are more things to say about the game, but they are for another time.
This special one-off Old Dog column is for one person: Brian Halonen.
Your Play This Year Will Never Be Forgotten
That kind of ending is never going to be easy to put behind you. But you need to do just that. You have the talent, the mental toughness, and the courage to face this time. The call may or may not have been fair. I’ve seen worse that didn’t get called, and I’ve seen less that has been called.
It doesn’t matter, really.
The Huskies were huge underdogs in this game, and it would have taken a combination of unlikely events for Tech to win. I’m not sure your presence would have tipped the balance. Maybe it would have, but maybe not.
One thing I’ve learned, though, in a long life, is that every single one of us makes mistakes. Some of them are hard to forget. If you have any self-awareness, some of those mistakes really hurt.
Damn, I still remember things I did as a child and in high school that haunt me to this very day, and I’m almost 72. Athletically, I can still remember scoring a basket in the wrong hoop in a varsity high school game, and that took a long time to live down. There are others that hurt even more at the time and still trouble me even now. I realized, though, not to hang my head or beat myself up for making mistakes.
I can say that because I have found that you are not defined by the mistake you make unless you allow that to happen. Instead, you are defined by your accomplishments and this is something that you should understand and embrace. I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made (and still make) and became a better man and a much better professional (I’m an engineer, and still working) as a result.
I remember when I first saw you play as a freshman, and I knew you were special. I even remember when your coach publicly called you out (not by name, but it’s something he should not have done — a rookie coach error) for a freshman mistake.
In the history of Husky Hockey, none of that will matter. What will matter is what you’ve accomplished in your time at Michigan Tech. You will be remembered with other great Huskies like Lou Angotti, Al Karlander, Bob D’Alvise, Mike Zuke, Chris Conner, and Tanner Kero.
And you will be remembered with those all-time greats because you earned that recognition with your determination and execution. You were a delight to watch and brought me a huge amount of enjoyment and pride in my alma mater, and I’ll never forget that.
Whatever Comes Next
I know you are now at a decision point in your life and will have many choices. I’m sure you will be offered a professional contract and will have a chance to play more hockey this year if you elect to go that way.
I also know you still have an extra year to play college hockey and could do that, too. All of the Husky fans would love to see you stay for one more season, but that’s just a measure of how much we appreciate your play and all of the things you’ve done for Michigan Tech.
No matter what you choose, concentrate on what you’ve accomplished and learn from the entirety of your experiences. I still have — just like I did four years ago — a special kind of feeling that you will accomplish great things in life.
I don’t know if you’ll see this or not. However, if you do, I hope that having someone old enough to be your grandfather think you are out of the ordinary will mean something to you.
Sincerely, Your Fan
The Old Dog in Texas
Mike Anleitner is a 1972 Michigan Tech grad, and he was in the first class of what has become the Scientific & Technical Communications program. He also has an engineering degree from Wayne State and an MBA from Michigan-Ross. He spent forty seven years in various manufacturing and engineering positions, and is currently a semi-retired freelance engineer. He lives during the fall and winter with his wife of 49 years Carol–also a ’72 Tech grad–in Addison, TX, a Dallas suburb with more restaurants per capita than any other municipality in the US. During the summer, Mike and Carol reside in Elmira, MI and avoid the Texas heat.