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Fargo regional is a special return home for UND's Kleven and Frisch

Top ranked North Dakota isn't just 70 miles away from Grand Forks to kick off the NCAA Tournament, it's also a special return home for Tyler Kleven and Ethan Frisch.

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St. Cloud State forward Nolan Walker tries to block a pass by University of North Dakota's Ethan Frisch in the second period Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn. Jason Wachter / The Rink Live
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FARGO-- It’s a homecoming unlike any other for two UND defensemen, but for Fargo-Moorhead native Tyler Kleven and Ethan Frisch, nothing can ruin returning to the rink that has already given them so much.

“I’m comfortable here, but it’s a whole different situation. Usually I can go see my family, go have dinner with them, but now it’s none of that, just sitting in my hotel room and knowing I’m so close to my family, it’s really weird,” said Frisch.

“I love playing in Fargo, it’s kind of my favorite atmosphere to play in. There’s been a lot that has happened over the last couple of years since I played at Scheels Arena last time. Just being able to be a part of that World Junior team and winning the gold medal that’s been very special and carrying on the tradition here at North Dakota, winning a couple trophies. That’s been really cool too, so definitely been very lucky to be a part of that and it’s definitely helped me build myself as a player and as a person,” said Kleven.

“Every level I have played at has come back to Fargo at some point. In juniors I was back here, obviously high school, and now playing here in Fargo is pretty special. There’s a level of comfortability here for me obviously growing up so excited to play here at the collegiate level. It’s pretty special being able to look back and see all of the footprints in my career all going through that rink,” Frisch added.

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If there’s any two players that know what it’s like to play at Scheels Arena it’s these two. Kleven and Frisch have played more than 100 combined games and tallied hours of practice there.

“I mean I have played a lot in the Farmers Union Arena and I practiced there all the time, shoot a lot of pucks in the shooting room there and spent a lot of time over my years there,” said Kleven.

Now the duo has a chance to bring part of their new home back to their roots.

“We’ll probably be pretty comfortable here (Scheels Arena). It’s kind of like the Ralph Engelstad Arena. A lot of us are familiar with the Force, we have played there in the USHL, some of us have played for them. So everyone is pretty comfortable with it. So yeah, it’s really not too far from home, so it almost doesn't really feel like an away game for us,” said Frisch.

With Fargo hosting the regional for the fourth time since 2015, Kleven and Frisch hope this means hockey in the area only keeps growing.

“I think that it’s really big for our community, just all the little kids watching all the UND games. It’s really big to see that because they don’t really get to watch a lot of college hockey and hopefully that inspires kids to want to play at the next level,” said Kleven.

“It’s pretty cool that this Fargo-Moorhead area is able to support hockey at all levels. The fact that they keep coming back here shows a lot about the fanbase for North Dakota around here especially, but just the love of hockey in the Fargo-Moorhead area has grown so much even since I started playing hockey,” said Frisch.

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Frisch and Kleven expect to have plenty of family and friends cheering them on at Scheels Arena this weekend. Top ranked UND opens the NCAA Tournament on Friday at 8:30 against 16th seeded American International.

PHOTO: Tyler Kleven

PHOTO: Tyler Kleven

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