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The Ralph to open NHL skates to the public

Former UND players now in the NHL train in Ralph Engelstad Arena. Photo by Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service

GRAND FORKS—Players signed by the Winnipeg Jets, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues were among those skating in Ralph Engelstad Arena's Olympic Rink on Monday morning, Aug. 20.

It's part of the annual pro camp, which helps former UND players get ready for their upcoming pro seasons.

For the first time, The Ralph is opening those skates to the public.

Fans can come see the NHLers and pro players skate at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 9 a.m. Thursday and Friday for free. They are asked to enter through the Olympic Rink doors in the northwest corner of the building.

The skates will last roughly an hour and a half.

Former UND captain and NHL defenseman Matt Smaby, now finishing school at UND, is running the camp for the former players.

Ten players from UND's 2016 NCAA national championship team are expected to be at the camp, including Nick Schmaltz (Blackhawks), Tucker Poolman (Jets), Paul LaDue (Kings), Christian Wolanin (Senators), Gage Ausmus (Colorado ECHL), Keaton Thompson (Anaheim), Cam Johnson (New Jersey), Luke Johnson (Chicago), Trevor Olson (Tampa Bay ECHL) and Shane Gersich, who won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals this spring. Bryn Chyzyk, now at law school at UND, also skated Monday.

Others who skated Monday include Jordan Schmaltz, who is waiting to re-sign with the St. Louis Blues, Corban Knight (Flyers), Andrew MacWilliam (Buffalo Sabres AHL) and Robbie Bina (Italy).

Grand Forks Central goalie Caleb Johnson, who will play for the Minnesota Wilderness in the North American Hockey League this season, is joining the pros in their skates, too.

Other former players have said they may join the skates later this week, too.

UND has a total of 52 players under contract for next season—27 in the NHL, one in the AHL, two in the ECHL, one in the SPHL and 21 in Europe.

The oldest player under contract is 36-year-old Brandon Bochenski of Barys Astana in Kazakhstan and the youngest is 20-year-old Tyson Jost of the Colorado Avalanche.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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