Welinski's Gamblers Capture Clyde Iron Cup

By KBJR News 1

September 17, 2011 Updated Sep 17, 2011 at 10:19 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- The Green Bay Gamblers won the first-ever Clyde Iron Cup this weekend, winning a two-game total goals series against the Sioux City Musketeers.

The games were held Friday and Saturday at the Heritage Sports Center in Duluth, with Green Bay winning game one 7-2 and Sioux City taking the second game 4-3.

Former Duluth East Greyhound defenseman Andy Welinski is a second-year player with the Green Bay Gamblers and called the games a great opportunity for hockey fans in the Northland.

Welinski will play at UMD starting in the 2012-13 season and was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the third round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Also involved in the games will be former Bulldogs assistant coach Brett Larson, now the first-year head coach for the Sioux City Musketeers.

He said it will be a great chance for hockey fans to be exposed to the USHL and a fun experience for him to bring his new team to Duluth.

"I think it's going to be a great atmosphere," Larson said. "I think people are going to be really impressed when they see the level of play in this league. Most of these kids will have Division I college scholarships at the beginning or the end of the year, and there's also kids who will be potential first round NHL draft picks out there."

One of Larson's assistant coaches in Sioux City, Mark Abalan, is also a former Greyhound and has previously coached at Shattuck-St. Mary's.

Jack Connolly, now a senior captain of the UMD Bulldogs, played one year in the USHL before coming to the Division I level.

"I don't think a lot of the Northland knows a ton about junior hockey," Connolly said, "especially the USHL level. It's a fast-paced league, probably just a step below college hockey."

Click on the video link for first period highlights of Saturday's game between these two USHL squads.