UND coach Hakstol would like to see another outdoor gameGRAND FORKS — Dave Hakstol had a few days to let everything — from the poor ice conditions to the delay of the game to the fired-up fan contingent to the unique outdoor setup at T.D. Ameritrade Park — soak in.
By: Brad Schlossman , Forum News Service
GRAND FORKS — Dave Hakstol had a few days to let everything — from the poor ice conditions to the delay of the game to the fired-up fan contingent to the unique outdoor setup at T.D. Ameritrade Park — soak in.
Would the University of North Dakota men’s hockey coach ever schedule an outdoor game again for the men’s hockey program?
Hakstol says yes.
“I’d like to,” he said. “I thought it was a great experience, even for all the challenges involved.
“I thought the experience was great. Full credit to all the people in Omaha for how hard they worked to make it a great experience for both teams and they did do that. They made it a great experience for us, even with some of the challenges that were involved.”
Hakstol said it is unlikely that he would want to play another outdoor game so late in the season with conference points involved, though.
“I don’t know if I’d like to play that outdoor game in such a critical situation,” Hakstol said. “Let’s face it. We’re at a time of year in our league play where every point is critical. It’s a pretty serious time of year.”
The players also say it was an enjoyable experience.
“I thought it was a blast,” sophomore defenseman Nick Mattson said. “I think people are making a bigger deal out of all the delays and stuff. We weren’t really fazed by it. It was kind of fun. We stayed loose. I know for me, going into the day, I wanted to make sure I took it in and enjoyed it as well as tried to play a good game. It was all kind of part of the experience and it was fun.”
A second outdoor game won’t happen next year. In fact, it probably won’t for a few years because of schedules that are already set up.
One future possibility that has been buzzed about is a game between UND and rival Minnesota at Target Field. It’s no secret that Minnesota Twins president, UND alum Dave St. Peter, would like to see that event happen. And since UND and Minnesota are moving into different leagues next season, it would not be for conference points.
Indoor game gets record ratings
The series opener between UND and Omaha, which was played indoors at CenturyLink Center, received record ratings on NBC Sports Network.
According to the Puck Media blog, the UND-Omaha game drew 146,000 viewers for the Friday night game, marking the first college hockey game on NBC Sports Network that drew more than 100,000 viewers.
“North Dakota is one of the more popular programs in the nation with many well-known NHL alumni,” wrote hockey media analyst Steve Lepore.
“So they pack what amounts to a punch when it comes to college hockey ratings.”
UND’s game against the University of Denver on Friday (9:07 p.m. Central) also will be on NBC Sports Network.
n UND is talking about playing exhibition games against Canadian universities in British Columbia next season, though no contracts have been signed yet.
n Boston University defenseman Alexx Privitera, who struck a UND student in the head with his stick while in the penalty box earlier this season in Ralph Engelstad Arena, has been suspended for the rest of the season for undisciplined play.
n Grand Forks native Paul LaDue became the all-time leading defenseman scorer for the Lincoln Stars this week. Heading into Saturday’s game, LaDue had 70 career points in 100 games for the Stars. He will attend UND next year.
n Former UND All-American Matt Frattin will miss the next two or three weeks with a knee operation. Frattin was seventh in the NHL in goals and fourth in goals per game when he went on injured reserve.