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Merrie Sue Holtan to speak and sign books for hockey biography, "Power and Stride," at Perham library

Merrie Sue Holtan, Perham, author of the newly released "Power and Stride: the Nancy Burggraf Story" from Pogo Press, Minneapolis, will read from the biography, describe the creative process, show video clips and sign books on May 4 at the Perham Public Library.

The book signing will take place from 5-7 p.m., and Holtan will speak from 7-8 p.m. with a brief signing period following.

Nancy Burggraf, Roseau, Minnesota, was called a hockey guru by USA Today. Over five decades she touched the lives of more than 40,000 hockey players, from preschoolers to professional players, with her innovative power skating techniques.

Burggraf worked closely with the Roseau Rams, the UND Sioux and coach Dean Blais. She was the first woman nominated to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, and she died from ALS in 1999.

When Nancy Burggraf whistled, players skated to attention. Big players. Players with face masks and hockey sticks.

She taught some of the best in the National Hockey League and was able to meet and connect with her players on a personal level.

"Power and Stride" is the inspiring story of a woman who succeeded in a male-dominated world and changed the game of hockey forever. Those who knew Nancy treasure her for what she taught them, and they continue to pass on her legacy.

About the author

Merrie Sue Holtan teaches communication studies at Minnesota State University Moorhead. She learned of Burggraf's story in one of her speech classes. The book also includes a one-hour film documentary DVD produced by Holtan and her students.

A native of Rushford, Minnesota, Holtan has an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and master's degrees in communication and writing from North Dakota State University and MSUM.

She has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years and is interested in documenting stories gone missing. She also serves as managing editor of OPEN magazine, the city and lifestyle magazine of Fargo-Moorhead. Her other publications include: "Y Winners: Cookbook of Championships," a cookbook for young athletes, and "Sink or Swim? Best Practices in Advising for Vocation," for college academic advisers.

Merrie Sue and her husband, Rev. Phil Holtan, live on Big Pine Lake near Perham. They have three grown children.