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Mike Ankoviak

Mike Ankoviak is a resident of Champlin, MN &
Henderson, NV.  He was raised in Albert Lea, MN where his father, Bill Ankoviak, finished his career as a professional baseball player.  Along with his 5 brothers and sisters, Mike was brought up on a steady diet of baseball, golf, basketball, tennis, football, and mumbley peg. He would spend his evenings scouring the paper for the latest sports box scores.  Today Mike's appetite for sports continues.  He has been a season ticket holder for most of our pro sports teams in the Twin Cities.  He has been a part owner of a race horse stabled at Canterbury Downs, and is an avid golfer and tennis player. You may not agree with all of Mike's opinions but I think you will agree that his insight into the world of sports is always refreshing.  




I did say I was mildly optimistic for the Twins this year...but they are surpassing expectations through the first month of the season. In spite of playing often in cold and wet weather, they are hot! An amazing 19-10 and the overall best record in all of baseball!! Oh sure itís early in the season, but new manager Rocco Altobelli, er I mean Baldelli has turned them into winners so far! Great pitching and now a lot more hitting and power than they initially showed has them moving in the right direction. I hope it lasts and canít wait to get out to Target FieldÖ..when it warms up of course.

Stanley Cup playoffs are off to an exciting start with most of the favorites getting knocked out in the first round. The Tampa Bay Lightening set an NHL record for points in a season, but got swept out of the playoffs by Columbus in 4 straight. Season long top seeds Winnipeg and Calgary were also knocked off in the first round. Our Golden Knights were upended in 7 games by the San Jose Sharks in one of the most controversial and dramatic playoff games in NHL history. We gave up 4 goals in a blown call 5 minute major penalty and ended up losing in Overtime in Game 7. It was a crazy ending to another great season here. As of the moment, I kind of like Colorado in the West and Boston in the East to make it all the way to the Finals, but as we know, itís such a grind in the Cup playoffs that anything can happen. 

April was a really cool month in sports as it flew by. In case you missed it, Virginia won the NCAA Championship Final 4 held at US Bank stadium. Overall the event was a smashing success with people from all across the country in attendance. I was lucky enough to make it down to the Friday pretournament activities at the Stadium. We were able to watch a couple of the teamís practice and saw the eventual winning coach Tony Bennett interviewed by Jim Nance. That should have been a sign and wish I would have paid attention to it and bet on Virginia! But alas, I didnít. Overall a great event still and donít be surprised that this is the one that will get a return visit to the Twin Cities, versus the Super Bowl which should never played in the ďCold NorthĒ again.

Probably, well actually most certainly, the greatest story this year, and probably of the last 20 years was Tiger Woods victory in the Masters. In whatís being called one of the greatest comebacks in the history of sports, Tiger climbed back to the top of the mountain and claimed his 5th Green Jacket in Augusta. It was one for the ages and millions of golf fans were energized by the victory. His return to preeminence is a shot in the arm for the whole golf world, and might trigger the same effect he had back when he started.  That is to get young people back into the sport and get more people out playing and even more TV money into the purses and golf courses across the country.  After being irrelevant for quite a number of years through scandal and multiple surgeries, heís now the betting favorite for the three remaining majors this year. Thatís almost insane! I canít wait for the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in New York in just a few weeks. This time I am betting on Tiger!

And to top off the great month of April, both Deb and Doug Solem celebrated birthdays! Now thatís a pair to draw to!

 I didnít forget about the Kentucky Derby, I just have no clue which horse might win it! The favorite, Omaha Beach, who I had followed throughout all his prep races and was ready to wager on, was just scratched yesterday due to a breathing problem. Damn! So now itís an even more wide open race than it usually is. Iím going to bet a couple of long shots, and if I had to pick just one horse, maybe itís ďImprobableĒ. A great name for a horse if you ask me. Will it win, PossiblyÖwhich would make another great name for a horse! The Derby is always a blast though, win or lose!!






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