Update on UND's proposed hockey game in Nashville
It has been two years since the Herald first reported that UND was setting up a destination men's hockey game in Nashville's Bridgestone Arena for 2020.
It has been more than a year since the Herald reported that Penn State was lined up as the opponent for that game.
But it's now August 2019, and there still hasn't been an official announcement on the game. What gives?
Multiple sources told the Herald this week that there's still no reason to worry that the game won't happen. Everything is on track for Nashville to be the spot for UND's next destination game in October 2020. The Nittany Lions will still be the opponent.
The school is just eagerly waiting for the contract to be signed by all parties and everything to be finalized before making any official announcements or comments on the game.
UND officials hope that will be coming very soon. Then, they can begin promoting the event, which they hope will continue building after successful destination games in Winnipeg, New York City and Las Vegas.
UND drew an estimated 8,000 fans to New York City in December 2016 for a game against Boston College in Madison Square Garden. It sold out a 7,412-seat Orleans Arena in Las Vegas last October for a game against rival Minnesota. UND fans came from at least 44 different states to the Vegas game.
Officials hope Nashville will exceed both of those events.
Bridgestone Arena is located in downtown Nashville on Broadway, which is famous for its numerous bars and restaurants, many of which feature live music daily. The venue serves as home to the NHL's Nashville Predators as well as concerts and other events. It seats 19,395 for hockey.
UND is currently hoping to play a destination game once every two or three years rather than every year to keep it fresh and unique. After Nashville, the most talked-about potential destination for 2022 within the athletic department is Seattle, which will have an NHL team in place by then.
The hockey team has done its part in growing the destination games by winning them.
In 2012, UND beat Clarkson 3-1 in a single game in Winnipeg's Bell MTS Place, home of the NHL's Winnipeg Jets. Stanley Cup champion Carter Rowney scored two goals for UND in that game.
In 2016, UND beat Boston College 4-3 in Madison Square Garden, home of the NHL's New York Rangers. Tyson Jost of the Colorado Avalanche scored twice in that game.
Last year, UND beat Minnesota 3-1 in Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Current captain Colton Poolman scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals.
The 2020 Nashville game will mark the first time that UND and Penn State play in men's hockey. The Nittany Lions are one of eight college hockey programs that UND has never played against. The others are Arizona State, UConn, American International, Bentley, Mercyhurst, RIT and Sacred Heart.
Tennessee will mark the 28th state where UND has played a hockey game.
The last time UND has played in each state
Colorado – March 16, 2019 at Denver
North Dakota – March 9, 2019 vs. Omaha
Michigan – Feb. 16, 2019 at Western Michigan (Kalamazoo)
Nebraska – Jan. 19 2019 at Omaha
New York – Jan. 5, 2019 at Canisius (Buffalo)
Minnesota – Dec. 1, 2018 at Minnesota Duluth
Ohio – Nov. 10, 2018 at Miami (Oxford)
Nevada – Oct. 27, 2018 vs. Minnesota (Las Vegas)
Wisconsin – Nov. 4, 2017 at Wisconsin (Madison)
Alaska – Oct. 7, 2017 at Anchorage
Florida – April 9, 2016 vs. Quinnipiac (Tampa)
Vermont – Oct. 24, 2015 at Vermont (Burlington)
Maine – Oct. 10, 2015 vs. Maine (Portland)
Massachusetts – April 9, 2015 vs. Boston University (Boston)
Pennsylvania – April 10, 2014 vs. Minnesota (Philadelphia)
Indiana – Nov. 24, 2013 at Notre Dame (South Bend)
Illinois – Jan. 3, 2010 vs. Notre Dame (Hoffman Estates)
New Hampshire – March 28, 2009 vs. New Hampshire (Manchester)
Missouri – April 5, 2007 vs. Boston College (St. Louis)
Connecticut – Nov. 2, 2002 at Yale (New Haven)
New Jersey – Nov. 1, 2002 at Princeton
Rhode Island – April 8, 2000 vs. Boston College (Providence)
California – Dec. 6, 1981 vs. U.S. International (San Diego)
Arizona – Dec. 9, 1978 at Northern Arizona (Flagstaff)
Iowa – Dec. 29, 1964 at Waterloo Blackhawks
New Mexico – Dec. 26, 1948 vs. Michigan (Albuquerque)
Kansas – Feb. 10, 1948 at Wichita Flyers