UND men's hockey fans were spoiled Wednesday afternoon.
Not only did UND and Minnesota announce the 2018 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game in Las Vegas, but the Gophers and Fighting Hawks also revealed a new four-year deal for the rivalry starting in 2019-20.
The combination of the two announcements means UND and Minnesota will play seven consecutive years. The teams, who haven't met the past two seasons after playing continuously for 65 years, rekindle the rivalry beginning next season in Minneapolis' Mariucci Arena.
The new four-year deal calls for Minnesota to host in both the 2019-20 and 2021-22 seasons and UND hosting in the 2020-21 and 2022-23 seasons.
"It's long overdue," UND coach Brad Berry said. "We're excited about it. I think it's great from the standpoint of the student-athlete experience. It's a tradition that can now continue. Also, our strong, loud, passionate fan base ... it's great for them, too. It's something near and dear to their hearts."
On Wednesday, UND president Mark Kennedy, athletic director Brian Faison and Berry held a press conference at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas to announce UND's Oct. 27, 2018, matchup with Minnesota, a game the Herald first reported in November.
All seats at the Orleans Arena are $79, plus applicable ticketing charges. The tickets go on sale to the general public Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. Champions Club members will be provided with an exclusive pre-sale code that can be used to purchase their tickets.
The University of Minnesota will also be provided with a limited number of tickets.
Orleans Arena, located just west of the Las Vegas Strip and part of The Orleans Hotel and Casino, seats 7,400.
"This is both a great experience for our student-athletes and an opportunity to grow the game in a non-traditional college hockey market," Minnesota men's hockey coach Don Lucia said. "Taking our rivalry with North Dakota to Las Vegas will be great for both programs, our fans and college hockey, and we are certainly looking forward to it."
Berry, who said Ralph Engelstad Arena general manager Jody Hodgson came up with the Las Vegas idea, expects the game to be sold out.
"You can tell there's a following for hockey here," said Berry, who toured the Orleans Arena on Wednesday morning before meeting with members of the Ralph Engelstad family for lunch.
UND hockey arena namesake Ralph Engelstad, who died in 2002, owned the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas and was a co-developer of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"It's a nice way to connect again with people who have supported our group so well throughout the years," Berry said of the meeting with the Engelstad family.