Month: January 2020

Broomball: A Tech Tradition

With three dedicated rinks, scoreboards, and live webcams, broomball has become one of Tech’s top traditions. According to this site, broomball began on campus in the early 1990s. Do you still have your broom? Comment below about your broomball experience.

Itching to get back in the game?
The 11th annual Alumni-Student Broomball Tournament is scheduled for Winter Carnival (February 7-8). Register here by January 16.

Editor Update — Feb. 10, 2020
Thanks to notes from many alumni (see below), we can report that, yes, broomball has been played by Tech students as far back as the 1950s. IRHC Broomball began in the 90s and continues to thrive. See how you can support a great broomball experience for our students.

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What You Said About Tech in December…..

From “Color Timeline” on Facebook

“Spent many a day on the slopes in my freshman and sophomore years.” – Daniel H.

“This is where I learned to ski in 1964/65. Took advanced skiing from Fred Lonsdorf in 1967.” – Darrell J.

From “MTU Night” on Facebook

“I never watched hockey until a roommate told me how much fun games at MTU were. He was right! The best weekends were the NMU-MTU games. One game in Houghton followed by a road trip to Marquette for the next nights game, or vice versa! Great times that created even greater memories.” – Mike E.

“Wrangling up tickets to any home game we could get our hands! It was always a great night too watch hockey as an undergrad with friends, and even better if they won. As a figure skater I was part of the team the conditioned with them back in the late 90’s and performed between periods.” – Danielle M-C.

“My favorite Tech hockey memories were watching Tony Esposito and Al Karlander play. Watching these guys play made a lifelong hockey fan. Steve Yzerman has to my favorite all time Red Wing. Go Wings!” – Russ W.

“My favorite MTU moment was not only beating NMU for the WCHA championship in their own barn, but out-cheering an entire arena of NMU fans with a busload of misfits and a handful of pep band kids. Nothing feels sweeter than that.” – Glory C.

“MTU is where I first learned hockey, and attended many games while a student. Even went to some road games at NMU and the GLI. Great times with friends and the pep band!” – Lee B.

“My favorite memory of MTU Hockey was being a season ticket holder with my t hen boyfriend and now husband of 23 years. Great memories for us both!” – Kris D.

“My favorite Michigan Tech hockey memory was my first GLI game which was also my last game at Joe Louis Arena before it closed. We played (and beat) U of M. Sat just down from the Huskies Pep Band.” – Kristen J.

“Favorite MTU hockey moment was a few years ago with the WCHA championship at the Mac. That place was packed with as many people as possible. When we scored that goal in OT, I’m pretty sure I was jumping and cheering for at least 15 minutes. I don’t think that moment will ever be topped for me.” – Martin D.

“My favorite memory of Tech hockey was attending my first Tech hockey game while in High School during the mid 70’s and the excitement of the whole arena chanting to ZUKE ZUKE ZUKE who was fun to watch.” – Lorrie G.

“As a small child I sat behind the goal, against chain link fence instead of glass, and saw Tony Esposito lose his last game at Michigan Tech and Dee Stadium. As he walked through the crowd to get to the locker room he had tears streaming down his face. Indelibly etched memory many years later.” – Bruce B.

From “Return on Investment” on Facebook

“My mom and dad got the ultimate ROI… and they were almost as proud as I was!” – Jan B.

“No surprise there!!!” – Jay A.

“I don’t need to win the lottery. I graduated from Michigan Technological University.” – Gerald G.

From “Holiday Break” on Facebook

“Counting the minutes until everyone was ready to hit the road…the anticipation of being home, sleeping in, and going to GLI over the break.” – Brian W.

“Bumming a ride with friends to get to the Chicago burbs. Stopping at Hilltop for the big cinnamon roll and eating it on the way.” – Craig M.

“Riding with six of us in a large car but only one cassette tape listened to repeatedly: the Guess Who, No Sugar Tonight will forever remind me of that trip freshman year” – Becky S.

“Driving home in a snow storm every time.” – Jeff P.

“Coming back one winter we had to take 94 between Munising and Marquette. Came across a car of students that had missed a turn. Straight into very deep snow. Two carloads stopped, we lifted the car out of the snow and onto the road.” – Herbert H.

“Following tail lights on 28 heading into Munising on our way back to Tech, Thanksgiving, 1966. What a ride that was from the Bridge to Baraga. The afternoon after returning I went to the AD building for a transfer application, but I threw it away when I got back to the apartment.” – Morey N.

“Making south across the mighty Mac a few short hours before it was shut down due to high winds. Not sure what we would have done otherwise.” – Brad V.

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The Snow Scoop – Ingenuity Born of Necessity

This story originally appeared in the February 1993 issue of Peninsula People, a regional publication printed for distribution in Hancock

Dave Walli’s varied career path has taken him in many directions but one job- barbering- prepared him for his current business as a snow scoop manufacturer and designer of copper art.


Dave Walli

“The clipper and the comb are in the same position as the brazing rod and the torch,” says former barber Dave Walli. “I was practicing brazing for all those years and didn’t know it.”

Walli and his wife, Gloria, both Copper Country natives, are the owners of Copper Art on Fifth Street in Calumet. They began their business in 1976, working out of their home in Laurium and moved the business to their current location in 1982. The building also houses the couple’s “sideline” business – Silver Bear Products – so named because the snow scoops they manufacture are made of steel and work like a bear. “Copper is our thing,” said Dave, “but the snow scoops fill the gap in the off season.”

According to Dave, he’s produced 10,000 snow scoops with an all-time high of 2,200 “one year when we had a lot of snow.” What year that was he- couldn’t recall, but most Copper Country winters have accumulations of at least 150 inches.

The scoops, which retail for $28.25 to $34.75 are available in three sizes and feature one-inch or three-quarter inch diameter handles with a built-in height adjustment.  Dave wholesales the scoops to Kmart, Holiday and Pamida stores in the Upper Peninsula. He’s also shipped snow scoops to a ski resort in Montana and fills orders from former U.P. residents who know the value of a snow scoop.

The workhorse portion of the snow scoop forms a still life when stacked in the basement at Dave Walli’s workshop.

And though snow scoops have been around since the 1920’s, Dave claims he has built “the better mouse trap.” “Our scoop features a kick bar/plate on the back.  It always has, otherwise it would have been just another snow scoop,” says Dave. The scoop, which also has a 16-gauge front edge, is designed for snow removal “not firewood retrieval,” Dave notes. “You can always tell when someone’s been improvising with their scoop. They’ll bring it into the shop for a repair and it has all kinds of dings and dents in it. That’s a sure sign of someone hauling wood or using it as a sled, which it is not.”

At this point, Dave took us outside for a demonstration. “You see, it’s really very simple. You push the scoop into the snow, and lift from the…”  We thought the sight of a shop owner scooping snow on the sidewalk was so interesting, we missed the instructions. Needless to say, when I got home that night and it was my turn to clean the driveway, I wondered if l was maneuvering the lightweight Silver Bear scoop in the proper manner.  Actually, Dave says even if you are a bit awkward with the scoop, it still does the job. “It’s not the back breaker that shoveling snow is and it doesn’t require any oil, gas or additional attachments,” says Dave. Good point.

“We did consider putting one ounce of oatmeal in a package and attach it with a ribbon to the handle and advertise it as a one-time starter on the scoop,” laughs Dave. “I still think it would be a good idea.”

Obviously, the Walli’s enjoy their business, rather businesses, because their copper art is an integral part of the family’s livelihood.

“We could make any number of scoops but the copper keeps us busy from May until October and then we’re making scoops all the time,” says Dave. “To make copper art you need skill, patience and desire because our copper art is not mass produced.”

Dave Walli, left, his son, Eric, and Walli’s wife, Gloria, are three people who persist in their dream to offer quality products which are both practical and beautiful.

During a tour of the Walli’s production area, Dave points out several dies he has made including one for thimbleberries surrounded by leaves. Sheets of 16, 22, and 24-gauge steel are stacked along one wall. Various pieces of machinery, including a Pittsburgh Lock Machine for shaping sheets of metal, occupy the back room and the basement of the Walli’s shop. “I’ve picked my equipment up piece by piece,” says Dave. “If I had to go out and buy it all at one time I’d really feel the bite, but going to auctions and word of mouth was how I obtained most of it.”

 Through the years, Dave says he and his family have come to realize that it is best to have fun while working. “I didn’t want a job that I dreaded going into. I wanted to feel good and have our customers feel good too,” said Dave. “We had demonstrations here last year in the shop, and the people just really enjoyed that. I think we’ll do more of that because it gets us involved with the customers and they get an understanding of what goes into the creation of copper art.”

One of the examples of copper art available at the shop owned by Dave and Gloria Walli. Snow scoops, a Copper Country necessity, are manufactured in the same building.

 Though the Walli’s produce a variety of copper art, they also handle commission work. One of Dave’s most recent projects was copper countertops for his daughter’s pastry shop. Though the most popular copper art at the Walli’s shop are angels and hummingbirds, a large variety of flowers, birds, buildings, jewelry, books, and photographs are on display as well. 

Copper Art is located at 111 Fifth Street in Calumet, home of the nation’s newest national park! The shop is open year-round and Dave will be glad to show you how to operate a snow scoop. Gloria, who is a bit shy, is always on hand to help with your copper gift selections.

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