N.D. STATE HOCKEY TOURNAMENT: REA is a busy place
The Ralph Engelstad Arena and its neighbor, the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, are a busy place this weekend. Perhaps no one knows that better than REA services manager Kelvin Ziegler. Basically, Ziegler's in charge of making sure the North Dakota...
The Ralph Engelstad Arena and its neighbor, the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, are a busy place this weekend.
Perhaps no one knows that better than REA services manager Kelvin Ziegler.
Basically, Ziegler's in charge of making sure the North Dakota state boys hockey tournament, the North Dakota state girls hockey tournament, the Class B Region 2 boys basketball tournament and the UND-Bemidji State women's hockey playoff series can all co-exist.
"Obviously, there a lot that goes into it," said Ziegler, a former UND baseball coach. "We start with an event report, which ends up being about 12-14 pages. Then we're lining up guest services, concessions, security, parking, custodial and production staff."
Ziegler works alongside Grand Forks athletic director Todd Olson, the tournament manager for the two high school hockey tournaments.
"It's a year-long process," Ziegler said. "We just sit down and try to get everyone on the same page."
Ziegler's day at the Ralph started at 7:30 a.m. and wrapped around 11 p.m.
He said the biggest headache so far has been parking.
"We have about 1,700 spots on the site and there are none left," Ziegler said.
Another issue is locker room availability.
"There's a lot of planning that goes into that," Ziegler said.
Ziegler said Thursday is typically his most hectic day of the weekend as visitors become accustomed to their first visit to REA.
"This year, though, Bottineau/Rugby was the only team that hadn't been here really," Ziegler said. "And they came in and took a tour last night and checked it out. "After (Thursday), everything seems to slow down."
The first quarterfinal game started at 10 a.m. Thursday, two hours earlier than it has traditionally began.
The early start was needed to accommodate practice time for the UND and Bemidji State women's hockey teams, which will play a best-of-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs series this weekend.
"It's different," said Bismarck coach Mike Peluso, whose team lost 4-3 in double overtime to Fargo Davies in the early game. "It's not ideal. We come a little ways out west to get here, too.
"I'm not blaming anything on that, but I'm not going to sugar-coat it, either. I don't think it's right or fair for these kids to have to play at that time."
At least two of the eight girls team will experience three different ice sheets during their stay in Grand Forks.
The first round of the girls tournament was played on the Olympic ice sheet at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Today's semifinals are scheduled for Purpur Arena.
And the championship game will be played at the REA main ice sheet on Saturday.
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