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The Bradley Center, home of UND's 1997 national title, is demolished

Milwaukee's Bradley Center, the site where UND won the 1997 NCAA national championship, was demolished on Sunday morning. The Bradley Center had been home for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks from 1988-2018, but the Bucks moved to the brand-new Fiserv F...

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Milwaukee’s Bradley Center, the site where UND won the 1997 NCAA national championship, was demolished on Sunday morning.

The Bradley Center had been home for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks from 1988-2018, but the Bucks moved to the brand-new Fiserv Forum this season.

On Sunday morning, workers used explosives to take out the building’s roof. The site will be redeveloped.

UND and its fans have fond memories of the Bradley Center, where an unheralded team that hadn’t participated in the NCAA tournament in seven years, beat Colorado College 6-2 in the semifinals and Boston University 6-4 in the finals to win the program’s sixth national championship.

That kicked off a 20-year run where UND played in the NCAA tournament 19 times, added national titles in 2000 and 2016 and Frozen Four appearances in 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015.

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Former walk-on Matt Henderson was named the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Forward David Hoogsteen, defenseman Curtis Murphy and goalie Aaron Schweitzer joined Henderson on the all-tournament team.

The 1997 team, nicknamed the Smurfs, didn’t have a lot of high-end NHL prospects. Only one guy played more than 21 NHL games -- Jason Blake. The rest of the team was made up of smaller players, who devastated opponents with their speed and tenacity.

"One reason that team was so successful is that we never got caught up in what's next,” Hoogsteen told the Herald before the 1997 team was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame two years ago. “When I played for UND for four years, that was my NHL. That was my dream. Playing for North Dakota in front of those fans, that was it for me. I didn't think about money."

There she goes! Bye bye Bradley Center! #demolition #milwaukee #OnMilwaukee #bradleycenter pic.twitter.com/EfmITFirmH - OnMilwaukee (@onmilwaukee) January 13, 2019

The Bradley Center had some quirks. The showers were made for tall NBA players, which were rather awkward for UND’s shorter players. The building didn’t have a traditional press box, because it was set up for courtside press seating for basketball. So, they had a make-shift setup.

It did host other hockey events there. It was home to the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals, and also hosted the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five in 1998 and it hosted the 2006 NCAA Frozen Four, where UND lost to Boston College in the semifinals.

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The Bradley Center is the second UND championship-winning site to be taken down. UND won the 1963 championship in McHugh Forum in Boston, which no longer exists.

The site of UND’s 1987 NCAA national title -- Joe Louis Arena in Detroit -- is set for demolition soon.

Amazingly, the site of UND’s first national championship in 1959 -- the RPI Fieldhouse in Troy, N.Y., is still standing. So is the Providence Civic Center, site of UND’s 1980, 1982 and 2000 national championships. Amalie Arena, site of UND’s most recent title in 2016, also is still active.

UND's NCAA title sites

1959 - RPI Fieldhouse, Troy, N.Y. (active)

1963 - McHugh Forum, Boston (closed, demolished)

1980 - Providence (R.I.) Civic Center (active)

1982 - Providence (R.I.) Civic Center (active)

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1987 - Joe Louis Arena, Detroit (closed, awaiting demolition)

1997 - Bradley Center, Milwaukee (closed, demolished)

2000 - Providence Civic Center (active)

2016 - Amalie Arena, Tampa (active)

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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