DFL Rep. Ryan Winkler proposes to pay the U of M $800,000 to play UND in men's hockey
Winkler is a huge hockey fan, and he had this to say about the U of M-UND rivalry: "If Gopher football fans saw that the Iowa and Wisconsin games were going away, there would be an outcry. We feel the same way about hockey."
Rep. Ryan Winkler, D-Golden Valley, has a case of the sads over the exodus of the University of Minnesota and University of North Dakota from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Next year, the storied conference is losing two of its most successful men's teams, with the U of M joining the Big Ten's new hockey league and UND joining something called the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. That means the U of M-UND rivalry will be dormant for at least two seasons, at which point the schools might resume playing each other in non-conference action.
Winkler wants to make sure the rivalry continues as soon as possible, and toward that end, he introduced this bill:
Section 1. [137.0253] APPROPRIATION; MEN'S HOCKEY REQUIREMENT.
$800,0000 is appropriated from the general fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota in any fiscal year in which at least one men's ice hockey game is conducted between the University of Minnesota and the University of North Dakota. The commissioner of management and budget shall release the funds to the Board of Regents upon certification by the university that a game has occurred, or that the two universities have agreed by contract that a game will occur during the fiscal year. The outcome of the game shall not affect the amount appropriated under this section.
In other words, Winkler's proposal would have taxpayers pay the U of M $800,000 to play UND in men's hockey.
As you'd imagine, news of Winkler's bill prompted some conservatives to wail and gnash their teeth on Twitter. After all, free-spending liberals can't get much more free-spending than that!
But yesterday afternoon, Winkler hopped on Twitter himself to try to set the record straight:
To my conservative friends: the hockey tradition bill I introduced won't actually happen. It's a statement.
-- Ryan Winkler (@RepRyanWinkler) March 21, 2013
And in an interview with the AP, Winkler acknowledged his bill is "a little bit in jest" and said his inspiration for the $800,000 figure was the amount the U recently paid to get out of two non-conference football games against the University of North Carolina. Take that, Jerry Kill!
Regarding the importance of the U of M-UND hockey rivalry, Winker told the AP that Minnesotans "have to maintain some hockey traditions or we all might as well move to Anaheim."
Winkler has also championed a very robust minimum wage hike this legislative session.
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