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UND HOCKEY: Ralph Engelstad Arena to remodel locker room and more in the offseason

As soon as the UND men’s hockey team left for the NCAA Frozen Four in Philadelphia, Ralph Engelstad Arena started changing.

It may not appear so from the seats, but underneath, a large transformation is underway — one that will remodel the locker room, classroom, players’ lounge, equipment room and media room.

“It will be fantastic,” Ralph Engelstad Arena general manager Jody Hodgson said. “We want to maintain that world-class and first-class quality. In order to do that, improvements are continuous and ongoing. There’s tremendous competition with facilities for student-athletes. Our competitors are chipping away, investing in their player development facilities. If we want to stay at the top nationally, we think it’s important for us to do.”

The project, which will take almost the entire offseason to complete, is being financed entirely by private funds, Hodgson said.

  •  The new locker room will decrease in size and change from a rectangular shape to an oval shape. The classroom will be tiered, stadium-style seating. The lounge and dining area will be moved together — they used to be in different parts of the arena.
  •  The lounge will have custom furniture, a gaming center and the always-popular ping pong table.
  •  The coaches’ offices, which used to be at suite level, will be moved downstairs. The marketing department will move into the old coaching offices.

“We’re going to centralize all the hockey operations downstairs,” Hodgson said. “Everything will now be downstairs.”

The basement hallway, which used to cut between the locker room and lounge/classroom, will now go around the outside of that area to improve privacy and security, Hodgson said.

The project started during the Frozen Four and isn’t expected to be complete until about a week before the hockey season begins.

In the meantime, the UND men are using the women’s visitor room, which isn’t a huge change from past offseasons. The coaching staff usually has the team move into the men’s visitor room during the offseason.

“We’re going to try to continue with Ralph Engelstad and his family’s wishes and traditions,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “We’re trying to keep our facility both developmentally, as well as amenity-wise, the best in the nation. I think that’s what we have the opportunity to do. It’s about having a great home for our current players, our future players and our alums that come back during the summer and the year.”

WCHA to name Kemp new commish

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association will introduce Mercyhurst associate athletic director Aaron Kemp as its next commissioner today, the Herald has learned.

Kemp has a strong hockey background, previously serving as an assistant coach for both the Canisius men’s team and the Mercyhurst women’s team. He will replace Sara Martin, who retired at the end of the season.

Kemp also played at Canisius College in the late 1990s.

The WCHA will have new commissioners on both the men’s and women’s side. Bill Robertson took over for the retired Bruce McLeod on the men’s side.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 12th 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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