Tom Novitzki
tomnovitzki@aol.com

Dear Tom:

Re: your call from Eagan today, from 651-216-1227, asking about the possibility of getting an Army hockey jersey from John Birkholz. I will copy him on this e-mail and ask him to directly contact you regarding that matter as well as providing you with his phone number.

From the West Point Yearbook, the Howitzer for the Class of '59, I had Kinko's mount on posterboard, a copy of the page with the picture of the 1958-59 Army Hockey Team. That object is now in the hands of Mike Buringa, FHS Activities Director. My brother Norman Lubke delivered it to him personally with instructions to hand it over to you at your request. You can see a photocopy of the display at my web site at: http://www.ojlubke.com/pixseries/pixbirkholzhockey/01pix59armyhockeyteam.html

Then, I wrote the words to accompany the display of this picture in your dad's memorial. It is on page 2 of the link above, specifically: http://www.ojlubke.com/pixseries/pixbirkholzhockey/02pix59ayearbookpage.html

There was a period of ice and ice hockey before Louis Schmitz. The Farmington businessmen, in the form of the Commercial Club, saw to it that several spots were flooded by getting the cooperation of the school and the fire department. My dad, Oscar Lubke, had a major hand in that program after we moved to Farmington in 1945. They also built a wooden warming house on school property east of the old high school building. Of course, they then built the hockey rink across the road from the warming house, just east (back of ) of Tom Jensen's house. My dad was project coordinator. I helped hold up some of the sideboards as they were nailed in. Besides Birkholz, I remember Myron Stapf and Marvin Reihsen were among the first to skate. Donnie "Slapshot" Summers, (winters in Florida, plays a lot of golf) was in the middle of the fray.

There was some disagreement over the role of the school in the hockey program and whether or not hockey would become a high school sport. My dad who was the Chairman of the Farmington Youth Commission which provided the coaching and organization of the non-school sport, resigned his chairmanship because of the way that he felt he had been misportrayed during the discussion of the issue. His letter of resignation is in my archives somewhere, somewhere, in the hidden recesses. Louis Schmitz can give you the details on the issue. I think the major controversy was about conflict with the basketball season and whether the town's high school would want to lose some of the basketball talent to a hockey team.

It is a great and noble idea to preserve the memory of your father, Leonard Novitzki, with this memorial. I wish you all the best and look forward to stopping by on my next visit to Farmington. I first met your dad when I was a seventh grader and a pee-wee football player. Our practice field incidentally was the site of the skating rink in winter, right across the street from the Marshall Bus Lines just east of the old high school. Your dad was the coach. He was the first person I ever saw do 25 push ups. He apparently had done plenty of them in the Navy.

Alan Lubke
14 June 2004

Copy:
Myron Stapf: boncooks@aol.com
John Birkholz: jcbirk@yahoo.com
Norman Lubke: nlubke@attglobal.net
Mike Buringa: mburinga@farmington.k12.mn.us
Mary Lubke: mlubke2@charter.net

       We ... basketball team ... had strict orders ...
from Soup (Winblad)... to not go onto the ice rink!!!

                                                                                -- Norman Lubke, FHS Class of '56.
To find this page again, go to this site's SUPER INDEX and look under
"Hockey, Farmington Style -- The Leonard Novitzki Memorial Showcare" or
"Birkholz, John -- Army Hockey Player"
Web site editor's note: As of 2004, John Birkholz is not yet a member of the FHS Athletic Hall of Fame. Certainly deserving, but not yet inducted.