Belfour is practicing with UND
GRAND FORKS -- A few UND rookies will try to score their first collegiate hockey goals this weekend against the defending national champion. That shouldn't feel like much of a task anymore - not after spending this week trying to score on a futur...
GRAND FORKS -- A few UND rookies will try to score their first collegiate hockey goals this weekend against the defending national champion.
That shouldn't feel like much of a task anymore - not after spending this week trying to score on a future Hall of Famer.
Ed Belfour, the eight-time NHL All-Star and two-time Vezina Trophy winner, is in Grand Forks this week working out and practicing with the Sioux as they prepare to face Michigan State in the Hall of Fame game Saturday night.
The 42-year-old Belfour came to Ralph Engelstad Arena to prepare himself for his 19th professional season, one he will spend with Leksand of the Swedish Elite League.
"It's awesome," Sioux defense´ man Taylor Chorney said. "I've never had a chance to skate with someone who has had so many accolades. He's had a pretty successful career so far and for a guy to keep playing at his age and still
have such a passion for the game, it rubs off on you. The commitment he's had through the years is definitely something you look up to."
Interestingly, Belfour's last game as a player for the Sioux came against Michigan State in the 1987 national championship game. Then a freshman, Belfour led UND to a 5-3 victory and turned pro after the game.
He's kept in close contact with UND throughout the years.
After winning the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999, he brought the prized trophy to Grand Forks. And during the NHL lockout
in 2005, Belfour went to the NCAA Frozen Four in Columbus to watch the Sioux and he congratulated the team after beating Minnesota in the semifinals.
Belfour arrived in Grand Forks over the weekend and was on hand for UND's 9-3 exhibition win over the University of Manitoba on Sunday night.
After the game, he stopped in the locker room to chat with a few players.
The Carman, Man., native, who plans to address the media Thursday, has participated in drills throughout practice this week. He joined the normal goalie rotation and took reps in the same drills as starter Jean-Philippe Lamoureux.
"When I was growing up, we always went to (Minnesota) North Star games when they played the Blackhawks,"
rookie defenseman Derrick LaPoint said. "So I kind of idolized the 'Eagle' when I was growing up. To be able to meet with him and skate with him, it's been pretty amazing.
"We're learning from him. He's got a lot of knowledge. Just watching his preparation and what he does to get ready, it's a nice tool to have."
Between drills, Belfour pretty much kept to himself on the ice, stretching in the neutral zone or along the boards.
"You can tell he doesn't want to make too big of a deal about him being here," Chorney said. "He knows we're preparing for a big weekend against Michigan State. He's been nice enough to talk to us here and there and gives us some hints on some things. It's been a very positive experience for our team."
"It's a unique opportunity," Sioux coach Dave Hakstol said. "Our goaltenders have an opportunity to hang around a guy like Eddie - a guy who has had success and knows how to prepare himself and what it takes."
And as Chorney says, "Anytime you can score on someone who's going to be in the Hall of Fame, that helps the confidence."
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