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UND-Minnesota: One hot ticket

How much will $550 buy in Grand Forks these days?

Well, let's see.

You could:

• Buy a laptop computer.

• Pay a month's rent.

• Throw a whopping party, buying 30 cases of "reasonably priced" beer in the process.

• Purchase a couple months worth of groceries.

• Buy a new set of tires.

• Pay your monthly credit card bill.

• Buy 400 copies of the Grand Forks Herald (please).

Or, you could buy one ticket to next weekend's UND-Minnesota hockey series at palatial Ralph Engelstad Arena.

It seems absurd to pay that much for a UND-Minnesota ticket, but that's what the market apparently will bear as a recent check on StubHub indicates tickets for the most anticipated home hockey game in years at UND may sell for that price.

In all probability, there won't be many tickets selling for that much. The $600 tickets are listed in Section 311—where fans of opposing teams usually sit. So that means someone is exercising some entrepreneurship to make quick money at a Minnesota fan's expense, considering face value of the ticket is $100.

However, there are reports of tickets elsewhere going from $200 to $500.

The spiral upward for this ticket began back in 2010, when the Gophers left the WCHA for the Big Ten Conference. That meant the biggest rivalry in college hockey no longer would occur yearly, even though discussions for the teams to play seemingly were ongoing.

UND then went to the NCHC and the best chance for the teams to meet each year came in the postseason.

But there was no way to keep the rivals apart. Unlike the UND-North Dakota State football rivalry, both hockey programs worked fairly hard to make it happen.

The hockey teams will play again next year in Las Vegas. We won't even guess how much those tickets will cost.

For years, the UND-NDSU football game was considered the state's premier sporting event. But the teams have played only once since 2003, the year the Bison took their football and went off to Division I.

And the 2015 meeting between the Hawks and Bison in the Fargodome didn't generate this kind of ticket pricing.

When heated rivalries take a break, they can go one of two ways. They can either fade or they can intensify.

In the UND-Minnesota hockey case, the rivalry has intensified. Fans desperately want it. Ticket prices are proof.

Our two best natural rivalries—UND-Minnesota hockey, UND-NDSU football—should be played every year. Collegiate politics, however, often ruin—or interrupt—rivalries.

Simply, rivalry games need to be played every year for two reasons.

One, the games will be more economically feasible for more fans.

And, two, they'll create a lot more memories.

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
(701) 780-1268