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Names In The Game

March 18, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ It took 54 years for the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup, so it was only fitting that their visit to the White House on Friday was delayed for more than an hour by fog at LaGuardia Airport.

When the NHL champions finally arrived in the Rose Garden, President Clinton joked, ``We’ve been trying to arrange this visit for some time, but what’s a few months compared to 54 years?″

Clinton said he ``really got into″ the hockey playoffs last year and particularly enjoyed watching acrobatic saves in goal.

``All of us here in Washington can appreciate what goalies do because we have so many shots taken at us every day,″ Clinton told the team. ``I was hoping that in addition to a jersey, one of you could loan me a face mask for the next year or so.″

General manager Neil Smith presented Clinton with a small model of the Stanley Cup and noted that the Rangers won the championship in Madison Square Garden, where Clinton won the Democratic nomination for president.

The cup was engraved: ``To President Clinton, from one Madison Square Garden winner to another.″


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ University of Denver hockey coach George Gwozdecky, who led the Pioneers to a 24-12-2 record in his first season with the team, has been selected the Western Collegiate Hockey Association coach of the year.

Gwozdecky was honored Friday at the WCHA awards banquet for leading the Pioneers on March 10 to their first WCHA playoff victory since 1986.

It was Gwozdecky’s first WCHA honor, but his third as a Division I head coach. In five seasons with the University of Miami, Ohio, he twice was chosen Central Collegiate Hockey Association coach of the year.

Several members of his team also earned all-league honors. Denver goalie Sinuhe Wallinheimo was placed on the second team and four seniors and one sophomore won honorable mention from the conference. They are senior forwards Jason Elders and Chris Kenady, senior center Angelo Ricci, senior defenseman Paul Koch and sophomore forward Antti Laaksonen.


TOKYO (AP) _ Jodi Haller, a 22-year-old American, will become the first female player in the 70-year history of Japanese collegiate baseball next month.

Haller, a graduate of Shippensburg State College in Pennsylvania, will pitch for Meiji University in Japan’s oldest and most competitive college baseball league.

Her picture appeared throughout the sports pages of Japan’s major daily newspapers Saturday and was splashed across the front page of Japan’s leading sports daily, Nikkan Sports.

On Friday, she had passed the entrance examination of Meiji Junior College and will be registered Monday as a member of the Meiji University Baseball Team.

Haller, a left-hander, pitched last May for about 30 minutes in a tryout, and Meiji’s coaches then said she would be allowed to join the team if she passed the school’s entrance examination _ in Japanese.

Nikkan Sports quoted the `A-student’ as saying the test was ``not very difficult.″ Haller had come back to Japan last month to study for the test, which she took Thursday.

Her baseball skills seemed in good shape, as well.

``She is hurling a quicker ball than before,″ Nikkan Sports quoted Meiji head coach Takahiko Beppu as saying,

Wearing a Meiji University uniform with No. 36 on back, Haller said she was happy her ``dream came true.″

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