UND nickname: Parise, Zajac weigh inFormer Sioux on the New Jersey Devils will miss the symbols slated for retirement
By: Brad Elliott Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald
Two of UND’s highest-profile NHL players have weighed in on the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education’s decision to begin retiring the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise and Travis Zajac both say they are disappointed by the decision.
“I don’t know whose decision it was, but I think it’s a terrible decision,” Parise told the team’s Web site. “From going there and being a part of it, it’s something you’re really proud of. They’ve got a great history, a great tradition and everyone’s always respectful of the tribes and the name. You wore it with pride and I don’t see a problem with it.”
Zajac, who played at UND from 2004-06, had similar feelings.
“It kind of (stinks) because it’s a great name,” he said. “It’s been the school’s name for a while. I felt proud wearing the Fighting Sioux jersey and carrying that tradition. There’s a lot of tradition behind the hockey team and the school. I guess for that to be done, it kind of (stinks).
Parise, the top forward on the U.S. Olympic team in Vancouver in February, said he believes people will fondly remember the nickname.
“The people in Grand Forks are so proud of the university and proud of the athletics and proud of the name, that I’m sure they’re all ticked off, too,” said Parise, who was at UND from 2002-04. “I’ve never been to a place that’s more proud of its athletes and its athletics than there. It’s awesome. I think they’re going to be upset about the whole thing, too. They almost felt that they were a part of it, too. It was great.”
Parise said he’s not looking forward to any possible new nickname.
“Nothing else is going to sound right,” he said.
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to email@example.com.