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Long-time Soo BlueLiners, Bob and Delores Husband, retire
Oct. 18, 2004
By Linda Bouvet
It was easy to support the Lakers when they were winning championships in the late 1980s and early 1990s, or the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan era, or the Dallas Cowboys when they were "America's Team."
But what motivates Chicago Cubs or Detroit Lions fans, who have known much more heartache than joy when it comes to watching their beloved teams struggle to win, year after year?
Many fans have remained true to the LSSU hockey program through six losing seasons in the last seven years. Former Soo BlueLiners President Bob Husband and his wife, Delores, have been among the most loyal. Bob Husband has served as commander and chief of Laker Hockey's booster organization for eight years. Bob and Delores have been a friendly and consistent presence in the program through good times and bad.
"This is a selfless duo who put their time, energy and financial support into the BlueLiners and our hockey program for many years," LSSU Athletics Director Bill Crawford said. "You can replace people like the Husbands, but you can never replace the dedication they have for getting the jobs done and making Laker Hockey a successful program. For them, it was a labor of love. They care about the club and the team."
Bob and Delores became involved in Laker Hockey after moving to Sault Ste. Marie from Newberry. In fact, 12 years ago they were instrumental in enabling a team tradition to continue when they contributed $2,000 toward the replacement of the old Hoholik Victory Bell. The original bell, which was donated by the Frank Hoholik family in the late 1970s, deteriorated after years of being rung by Laker players after each victory. Jeff Jackson, who was the Lakers' coach at the time, was contacted by an antique shop owner in Brooklyn, Mich., who saw a write-up about the bell in the Detroit Free Press and had just what the program needed. The bell that is now hanging outside the Norris Center was cast in 1855. A plaque honoring the Husbands' contribution will be added soon to the bell tower.
As president of the Soo BlueLiners, Bob Husband has spearheaded a variety of annual activities, including a fall picnic, home-series luncheons, parents weekend, the annual golf tournament, 50/50 ticket sales, a Christmas party and a team banquet. The group raises between $25,000 and $30,000 a year, and a portion of that money is donated right back to the program. More than $70,000 has gone back into the program during the Husbands' tenure.
The Husbands have held the presidency longer than any other leaders. Other past Soo BlueLiners presidents include Gary McClellan (founder), Tony Bosbous, Brian Peppler, Mike Worley, Carol Boger and Mark Kuehne.
The Soo BlueLiners boast more than 300 members from all around the United States and Canada. Members who live locally strive to welcome the players and their families to LSSU, and make them feel at home.
"It's fascinating to meet these people, who have had to shove their kids off into the hockey system," Bob said. "There are not enough people who go out of their way to greet these folks and make them feel at home. They don't know anyone when they get here."
The Husbands are still friends with the Battaglia, Weight, Johnston, Tallaire, Beddoes and Ness families, whose sons played at LSSU over the years.
They also appreciate the Soo BlueLiners membership "core," which has kept the organization strong, even during the difficult years.
In some ways, the Husbands have become ambassadors of Laker Hockey. According to Bob, the program is well-known and has come up in conversations during travels from coast to coast - Maryland (a former St. Lawrence student who attended the 1988 NCAA finals) to Colorado (former University of Denver students), and California (former University of Wisconsin students) to Texas.
"It's great to be able to promote something that's actually a key to this community," Bob said. "We have been able to talk Laker Hockey all over the country."
The Husbands will stay involved with the program for a while, helping incoming president Howard Ledergerber and his wife, Chris, with the transition. And they will always be fans.
But, Bob and Delores are looking forward to spending more time with their six grandchildren.
"Bob and Delores are real fans of the Lakers," Crawford said. "They have been at home and away games for years now, and have worked tirelessly to make the BlueLiners be a great support group even in challenging times. We were not winning national championships or drawing great support during most of their tenure. But, they never gave up, never got down and always showed up with a smile and a word of encouragement. They are great fans, and the program is better for their having been involved."
Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey