Friday, July 15, 2011

Today in history: July 15

Several recent birthdays today
Ralph Hopiavuori: Defenseman who played 28 games for the Racers in their inaugural 1974-75 season, totaling two goals and eight assists. Combined with the 42 games he played for the Cleveland Crusaders the previous two seasons, they would comprise his WHA career. He would play one more year in the minors and then play senior hockey in Canada through 1980. He won the IHL's Turner Cup in 1972 with the Port Huron Flags. A native of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, he is 60. 

Glen Ylitalo: Forward who played two games for the Ice in 2004-05, primarily playing that year in the Tier II NAHL. He suited up briefly for Div. III Hamline University in 2006-07. A native of Maple Plain, Minnesota, he is 26. 

Anthony Bitetto: Ice defenseman from 2008-10, tallying 12 goals and 32 assists in 82 games. He had three assists in the 2009 Clark Cup championship run. In 2010, he scored the series-clinching OT goal in the deciding Game 5 to beat Cedar Rapids. He had three goals and 17 assists for Northeastern University as a freshman this past season. He was also drafted in the sixth round by the Nashville Predators in 2010. A native of Island Park, New York, he is 21. 

Tim Smith: Defenseman who played this past season with the Ice, totaling five goals and 14 assists in 60 games. Smith came to the Ice after splitting the 2009-10 season between NAHL Owatonna and the NCAA's Providence Friars. After sitting out his mandatory redshirt year for transferring, Smith will suit up for Minnesota-Duluth this fall -- next door to his hometown. A native of Superior, Wisconsin, he is 21. 

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