UND Mens' Hockey: Sioux get to christen an arena, againThe UND men’s hockey team made a trek down U.S. Highway 2 on Wednesday and will enter a sparkling new arena located on the shores of a beautiful lake tonight.
By: Brad Elliott Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald
DULUTH — The UND men’s hockey team made a trek down U.S. Highway 2 on Wednesday and will enter a sparkling new arena located on the shores of a beautiful lake tonight. There will be pregame festivities, a ceremonial puck drop, extended intermissions and a recognition of past greats between periods.
The events set to transpire tonight will be a festive celebration for the Minnesota-Duluth hockey program and the city itself.
It will be old hat for the Fighting Sioux.
For the second time this season, UND is preparing to be the guest of honor as a Western Collegiate Hockey Association team opens the doors of a new arena.
In October, the Sioux were on the shores of Lake Bemidji as Bemidji State opened what is now known as the Sanford Center. The games went off relatively well, especially for the Sioux, who left with a series sweep.
Tonight, it will be a one-game shot — a nonconference tilt in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game — in AmsOil Arena, a $60 million facility that bears the name of a Superior, Wis.,- based company.
All 6,600 seats have sold and fans looking to buy scalped tickets have found it nearly impossible.
“We expect their crowd to be really good, it always is,” UND captain Chay Genoway said. “We’ve been part of a lot of good crowds. We have an older team. We’ve played in good atmospheres. We’ll draw on our veteran lineup. We need to play with a calming effect.
“It’s going to get loud and exciting. You can definitely go with it, but you can’t let nerves get to you. You have to go out and play like it’s just another hockey game.”
This game was not scheduled as part of the 2010-11 WCHA contests. Duluth was awarded the Hall of Fame Game and decided to invite UND.
There are a few connections between the schools. Duluth coach Scott Sandelin played for the Sioux in the 1980s and was an assistant coach on the 2000 UND national championship team.
UND also invited Duluth to play in the 2003 Hall of Fame Game in Ralph Engelstad Arena. UND won that game 3-2 with a third-period rally.
“It was great of Scott to reciprocate and invite as back for the Hall of Fame Game and to open up the building,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “It will be an exciting day and night in and around the Duluth area and it’s a great hockey game for us to be involved in.”
Hakstol said he’s expecting the routine may be a little different than it was in Bemidji.
“Every routine is a little different,” he said. “There are going to be different things going on before the game and maybe even during the game. You have to worry about the 60 minutes and playing the 60 minutes.”
The matchup won’t take much of a back seat to the building.
UND is ranked third in the latest USCHO poll with a 13-5-2 record. The Bulldogs are ranked fourth with a 12-3-3 mark. They sit in first and second, respectively, in the WCHA standings. The teams met earlier this year in Ralph Engelstad Arena and split the two-game series.
“It’s a season series between these two teams,” Hakstol said. “The season series is on the line and, without getting into too many details, that’s very important. It makes it a very important hockey game.”
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. 3 UND at
No. 4 Minn.-Duluth
When: 7:37 tonight.
Where: AmsOil Arena, Duluth.
TV/radio: No TV; The Fox (96.1 FM).
Records: UND 13-5-2; Duluth 12-3-3.
Of note: UND will play without Jason Gregoire (inj.), Brett Hextall (inj.), Derek Forbort (World Junior Championship) and Brock Nelson (WJC). Duluth will be without Dylan Olsen (WJC) and Justin Faulk (WJC).