UND MEN'S HOCKEY: 'One of the all-time greats'
Ed Belfour spent only one year at UND. But 12 years after leaving -- upon winning his first Stanley Cup -- Belfour brought the prized trophy back to Grand Forks. When the NHL was in a lockout during the 2004-05 season, Belfour flew to Columbus, O...
Ed Belfour spent only one year at UND.
But 12 years after leaving -- upon winning his first Stanley Cup -- Belfour brought the prized trophy back to Grand Forks.
When the NHL was in a lockout during the 2004-05 season, Belfour flew to Columbus, Ohio, to cheer on the Fighting Sioux in the Frozen Four.
When he wanted to prepare for his last professional season in 2007-08, one spent in the Swedish Elite League, Belfour called up the UND coaching staff and asked if he could practice with his old college team.
"He's a guy that has green blood running through his veins," said UND coach Dave Hakstol, who added that Belfour stops at Ralph Engelstad Arena a couple of times a year and calls and texts often. "He stays in touch and follows the program very closely in terms of night-to-night results.
"We appreciate everything he's done for the program."
UND will be acknowledging the contributions of Belfour -- who has an NCAA title, a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and is the third-winningest goalie in NHL history -- this weekend at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Friday night is "Ed Belfour Night." The Sioux will come out on the ice for warm ups wearing custom No. 29 Belfour jerseys. Immediately after the warmup, Belfour will sign the jerseys and they will be available at the Sioux Shop for $199.29.
Proceeds will go to the Perry Nakonechny Fund and the Fighting Sioux Men's Hockey Scholarship Endowment fund. Nakonechny, a teammate of Belfour's in 1986-87, died of cancer during the summer.
Belfour also will drop the ceremonial first puck Friday. The next morning, he will be inducted into the UND Hall of Fame.
"It's a fitting tribute for one of the all-time great players to come through our program," Hakstol said. "He's a guy that's set the standard at the NHL level as well. He's a great alum. It will be a great night. A lot of alums are back to celebrate it, and it's nice to have Eddie and his family back here."
Many of the current Sioux players grew up watching Belfour dominate in the NHL. He was elected to six All-Star Games, won four William Jennings Trophies with the league's best goals-against average and won two Vezina Trophies as the best goalie in the NHL.
"He's my parents' favorite player," Sioux goalie Aaron Dell said.
"I can remember back to the late '90s watching him," goalie Brad Eidsness added. "It seemed like the Stars and the Oilers met every year in the playoffs. I was 10, 11, 12 years old and watched a lot of hockey. Guys like him and Patrick Roy were easy guys to look up to.
"It's pretty special to have him back here. Not too many programs have players like him around."
Matt Frattin was a freshman when Belfour came to practice with the team, an experience that has stayed with him.
"It was fun to shoot on a goalie who has done so much in his career," Frattin said. "It will be exciting to have him back. Hopefully, we play two good games for him."
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .