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Like Father, Like Son

03/08/2012, 4:03pm CST
By Aaron Paitch

Duluth East duo clicking on all cylinders

In his 24th year as head coach, Mike Randolph is savoring a special season. Sure, the Hounds’ pure and utter dominance at times plays a big part in that. But coaching his son, Jake Randolph, as a senior, has been an unforgettable experience. The Duluth East father-son tag team sounded off to the Minnesota Hockey Journal shortly after Jake verbally committed to play college hockey for the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

On the Hounds’ dominant yet injury-plagued season...
MR: We thought going into the season this would be a special group of kids and it has shown to be that. Unfortunately, we’ve had some seniors that have had a really tough year. I feel really bad for them that they’ve been injured for most of the season, and we’re still not healthy. Finally, they’re starting to skate and hopefully we’ll have a full lineup and a healthy group of seniors for the [playoffs].
JR: We never thought we’d get this many injuries – and key guys, too. We’ve been battling through it and our team has been really mentally tough.

On the father-son experience at the varsity level...
MR: It’s been a great ride for me having him there being the type of player he is. He’s a very unselfish player, very much a team guy. He’s one of the captains and just continues to grow as a person and a player, and that’s important to me.
JR: I’m so comfortable around my dad, it’s no different and he gets on me just like any other guy. I sometimes hear the extras at home, but I love it. I’ll definitely miss it. He’s an unbelievable coach and it’s another thing [about high school hockey] that I’ll never forget.

On coming home after practices/ games and watching hockey...
MR: It’s pretty cool. We kind of like the same teams in the National Hockey League, the same college teams and the same players. It’s always hockey talk – on a different level, though. We don’t talk a lot about what happened at practice or games. We kind of leave that at the rink and it’s taken care of there. We both love Detroit and Pavel Datsyuk and I’ve gotten him to like Sidney Crosby, as we love Pittsburgh. We usually have a bet going in the Stanley Cup playoffs where he’ll take Detroit and I’ll take Pittsburgh. Back when they were playing each other in the finals, it got pretty heated around here.

On the state high school hockey tournament ...
JR: That’s indescribable. I can’t put it into words, that feeling of stepping out for the quarterfinals – there’s nothing like it. All the fans packed at the Xcel Energy Center. We were fortunate enough to make it to the state championship last year and I pretty much had butterflies the whole time after we won the semifinals all the way until the championship game. That will be in my mind for the rest of my life.

On Jake’s verbal commitment to play at the University of Nebraska-Omaha...
MR: I thought it was really cool. I ran into coach [Dean] Blais and he said he had a good conversation with Jake and I walked into the locker room as Jake’s getting ready for practice. He finds me and says, ‘Dad, that’s where I want to go.’
JR: They’re coached by Dean Blais, a guy who I’ve always looked up to ever since I was little. He’s a legend coach and I’ve heard so many great things about him. I couldn’t be happier that I’ll play for him someday.

 

“I’ll definitely miss it. He’s an unbelievable coach. It’s another thing I’ll never forget.” –Jake Randolph, on playing for his father, Mike Randolph

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