Sports clipboard: No decision yet on NHL games at venues such as The Ralph

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UND hockey fans file into Ralph Engelstad Arena for the final regular-season hockey game in Grand Forks. According to a report by NHL insider Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, one idea the NHL is tossing around as a way to finish out the 2019-20 season is to play remaining regular season and playoff games in Ralph Engelstad Arena. Nick Nelson / Forum News Service


No specific talks about The Ralph: NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr said he has not yet had discussions with the league about any specifics related to neutral-site locations for a potential Stanley Cup playoffs this summer. One of those sites mentioned is Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks.

"Other than the general understanding that they're looking at all possibilities, which includes neutral sites -- neutral being defined as a place that isn't a home base for an NHL team," Fehr told ESPN on Saturday. "We haven't had those discussions yet."

The NHL season, like those of all other major North American sports leagues, was halted in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN last week that the league is listening to offers from venues around North America that are volunteering to host neutral-site playoff games. Among the sites that could host games, probably without spectators, are Grand Forks, Manchester, N.H.; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu told WEEI on Friday that he's had talks with the NHL and said playing the rest of the season in Manchester is "on the table."


Fehr said any decision about the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season and Stanley Cup playoffs is tied to current guidelines on mass gatherings, travel restrictions and health recommendations.

Men’s basketball

UND lands commit: Paul Bruns, a 6-foot-4 guard from North Sioux City, S.D., announced on Twitter Saturday that he has committed to North Dakota.

A junior, Bruns averaged 28.7 points and 12.7 points per game last season for Dakota Valley High School.

College football

Tagovailoa scores low: Tua Tagovailoa scored 13 on the Wonderlic test, the lowest among this year's quarterback class, The Athletic reported.

Bob McGinn reported the scores for the entire quarterback class assembled in Indianapolis in February and presumptive No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow scored 34 on the 50-question math, vocabulary and quick reasoning exercise used for decades as a player evaluation tool.

College athletics

NCAA drops SAT/ACT requirement: The NCAA announced on Friday, April 17, it will waive test-score requirements for incoming freshmen for the 2020-21 academic year as high schools across the country continue to adjust to off-campus instruction because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Eligibility Center is navigating the complexity of COVID-19 and its negative impact on our membership, high schools and student-athletes," NCAA Eligibility Center vice president Felicia Martin said in a statement. "We understand this is an unprecedented situation and a difficult time for students and their parents, and the Eligibility Center is working diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for college-bound student-athletes and our member schools."

On Wednesday, the College Board announced it was cancelling the June SAT and hopeful that an SAT will be available on Aug. 29 -- after many colleges begin a new school year. The April 4 ACT was pushed back to June 13.


These postponements and cancellations also have some universities waiving the SAT and ACT requirements altogether for current high school juniors, with others reportedly considering following suit.

The college preparatory exams are an essential part of the college-entrance process, with the scores, student GPA and extracurricular activities among the primary considerations for evaluating a student for acceptance.

According to the NCAA Eligibility Center release, students can get the test waiver and still receive an athletics scholarship at Division I and Division II universities, provided they meet core-course requirements and achieve or exceed an acceptable GPA in those courses. The acceptable GPA is 2.300 for Division I and 2.200 for Division II.

Last month, the NCAA canceled all remaining national championship events for winter sports and spring sports. The governing body has yet to announce whether it plans to postpone or in any way alter scheduling for fall 2020 sports.


  • Novak Djokovic has been in touch with fellow ATP Player Council members Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal to discuss ways to assist lower-ranked players facing financial struggles amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, the world No. 1 said Saturday, April 18. Answering a fan's question during his Instagram live chat with Stan Wawrinka, Player Council chief Djokovic said steps would be taken to ensure that only those players who are most deserving will benefit from any relief plans.

  • It is premature to think the novel coronavirus outbreak will further delay the Tokyo Olympics, which have already been postponed a year, Brian McCloskey, an expert on global health security and outbreak prevention told Reuters.

  • The NBA isn't close to making any decisions on a potential restart, and it isn't setting any deadlines, commissioner Adam Silver said Friday. The league has been shut down since Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11

  • Nevada gamblers looking for action with traditional sports shut down now have one more option available. The Nevada Gaming Control Board on Friday gave approval for sportsbooks to accept wagers on Call of Duty League (CDL) matches.

  • NASCAR postponed an eighth Cup Series race due to the coronavirus pandemic, announcing on Friday that the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 will not be held on May 9 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. All scheduled activities at Martinsville over the weekend of May 8-9 were postponed.

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.

He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.

He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.

Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or
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