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NCAA hockey final draws cheers from alumni in Valley

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A college hockey player from Tempe is leading his team to the championship game of the NCAA's Frozen Four Ice Hockey tournament in Pittsburgh.

Jeremy Langlois scored a goal Thursday night to help the Quinnipiac Bobcats to a 4-1 win over St. Cloud State. Quinnipiac University of Connecticut will face in-state rival Yale in the championship game Saturday night.

The Bobcats have dozens of alumni in the Valley, some of whom gathered at the Blue 32 Sports Grill to watch the game.

Denise Nowak grew up in Connecticut, where hockey is a big deal.

"In the wintertime, my dad would put out two-by-fours, line it with plastic, flood it, and let it freeze .. all of the kids would come over and play hockey in the back yard," said Nowak. "I grew up with hockey and figure skating."

Langlois grew up in the Valley and played hockey at the Polar Ice in Chandler. Nowak is amazed that someone from the desert is making it big in hockey back home.

"That's so exciting," Nowak said. "To have someone from Arizona be that good in hockey? Wow! What a statement that is!"

She hopes that Langlois is an example for her 8-year-old son. He is about to enter hockey, lured by a beginners program offered by the Ice Den in Scottsdale.

"There was a young gentleman, I don't know his first name, but his last name was Tanner. He had passed away, and his buddy set up a scholarship in his name to introduce kids to hockey," said Nowak.

"They give the kids three weeks of free hockey lessons. They give them the equipment to take home and get excited about the sport. They give a hockey jersey and free passes to the Ice Den to introduce them to hockey. My little guy gets started this weekend."

Meanwhile, she'll back at the Blue 32 along with other Quinnipiac alums to cheer on Langlois and the Bobcats in the championship game on Saturday night.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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