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UND-NDSU won't play for Nickel Trophy in renewed rivalry

The UND crowd congratulates the football team in its victory over NDSU, Oct. 18, 2003, as a player carries the Nickel Trophy. Forum photo by Dave Wallis

UND-NDSU football rivalry is returning, but the Nickel Trophy is not.

When the teams meet on the football field next season for the first time in a decade, the longtime centerpiece of the rivalry will not be at stake, UND athletic director Brian Faison told the Herald.

The Nickel Trophy, awarded to the winner since 1938, depicts a Bison on one side and a Native American on the other side. UND got rid of its Fighting Sioux nickname and logo two years ago.

“That needs to be historic,” Faison said of the Nickel Trophy. “We’ll recognize it appropriately. Moving forward, that won’t be part of the new series.”

Faison said the Nickel Trophy will be retired and could be displayed somewhere on campus.

“It’s a historic representation of the series,” Faison said.

Faison said that NDSU officials are aware that the Nickel Trophy won’t be on the line in the future.

“We had that conversation quite a while back,” Faison said.

The schools have not discussed any possible new rivalry trophies.

UND and NDSU officially announced Friday that their football teams will play in the Fargodome in 2015 and 2019, ending a 12-year hiatus of the rivalry dating back to 2003.

UND won the 2003 game 28-21 and has held on to the Nickel Trophy ever since, keeping a close eye on it.

It had a penchant for being stolen by fans during the 1990s.

In 1997, NDSU students donned UND janitor shirts to steal the Nickel Trophy from the players’ lounge in Memorial Stadium. A year later, UND students swiped it back by obtaining the security codes for the NDSU Memorial Union alarm system, hiding above the ceiling tiles and communicating via walkie-talkies.

The Nickel Trophy hasn’t left Grand Forks since it traveled around the state as part of UND’s 125th anniversary celebration in 2008.

“It’s been pretty much out of sight since,” Faison said told the Herald in February. “I don’t know if there’s still a threat for someone taking it. But I don’t want to find out, either.”

UND won the Nickel Trophy a total of 35 times. NDSU won it 30.

UND, NDSU to play in 2015, 2019, ending 12-year hiatus

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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