Mark Lodge enjoyed living in the past, but when it came to hockey, he was very much in the present — and thinking of the future, as well.
He taught history at the middle school in St. Francis and collected antique outboard motors.
But hockey was his truest passion, first as a fan and then an archivist of the glory years of St. Paul's Johnson High School. Lodge also coached varsity hockey in St. Francis and refereed more than 6,000 hockey games before he retired.
So when Lodge was diagnosed in March with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), his wife, Tina, said it was no surprise he would double efforts to ensure his Johnson High hockey research was preserved digitally for its players and for future generations.
"It was a mad race to the finish," she said, and a successful one, too, aided by daughter Maren Price when her father had difficulty typing.
Lodge, of Coon Rapids, died on April 11 at age 70.
By then, he also secured a promise from Kyle Oen, a friend who runs the Vintage Minnesota Hockey website, that he would create space for his photos and records.
"Mark, of course, had a vested interest in everything involved with Johnson hockey," Oen said last week. "He wanted it to live and breathe on the internet forever."
The late 1960s was a heady time for Johnson High hockey. The Governors already had distinguished themselves in previous decades for producing stars like Herb Brooks and future Minnesota Gov. Wendell "Wendy" Anderson.
The Peltier brothers were gaining acclaim, and in the months before Lodge graduated from Johnson in 1970, goalie Doug Long made 61 and then 52 saves in spectacular back-to-back state tournament overtime games.
Lodge did not skate for Johnson, but he loved talking about the era, often with Ken Erickson, a 1968 graduate who is vice president of Johnson High's "Governors Club."
"Oh my gosh, they'd get on the phone and talk forever. I'd have to leave the house," Tina Lodge said. She met her husband, then the coach at St. Francis, when she was a dental hygienist who had never attended a hockey game.
Nor did she especially care to. A notable exception, she said, came about 18 years ago when Lodge was tapped to officiate the girls hockey state tournament.
"That was a big deal," Tina said.
Tom Nergard, who refereed with Lodge and looked to him as a mentor, said Lodge told him: "If it wasn't for girls hockey, I would have been done a long time ago," he said.
The two also worked high school football games together, with Lodge donning the white cap as head referee and Nergard stationed amid the linebackers. It was an independent crew, Nergard said, and Lodge had great connections when it came to scheduling games.
"Friday nights out with the boys," Nergard said of the fun they had. "Then get a pizza."
Lodge's wife said her husband was committed to fairness and often ended phone conversations with hockey friends with the phrase: "Call it both ways."
Nergard now serves as assignment secretary for District 10 suburban youth hockey referees. On May 22, he will unveil a Mark Lodge memorial service award for on-ice officials at a celebration of life for Lodge at Bunker Hills Activities Center in Andover.
Lodge is to be the award's first recipient.
He also is survived by children Matthew, Bjorn and Hans; granddaughter Sylvia and siblings Judy, Gary and Bobby.