UND to raise title banner on Oct 1
GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota's eighth national championship banner will be raised on Oct. 1 before an exhibition game against the University of Manitoba.It will be the first time that UND has raised a new national title banner in...
GRAND FORKS - The University of North Dakota’s eighth national championship banner will be raised on Oct. 1 before an exhibition game against the University of Manitoba.
It will be the first time that UND has raised a new national title banner in Ralph Engelstad Arena which opened in 2001. The program’s last national title was in 2000.
UND likely opted to raise the banner before the exhibition game and not a regular season game to avoid distractions and turn the page to the new season.
The last time UND raised a national championship banner was in the fall of 2000 prior to a regular-season game against a Michigan Tech. The Huskies, who went 4-34 the previous season, stunned UND 5-4 the night the banner was raised.
The banner will be green (like the other national title banners) and is expected to have the interlocking ND logo on it, keeping it uniform with the 2015 National Collegiate Hockey Conference championship banner.
Ralph Engelstad Arena will likely have to extend the bar that holds the NCHC title banners to fit the 2015 and 2016 titles.
The Fighting Hawks won the NCHC and NCAA championships in 2016, posting one of the best marks in school history. UND went 34-6-4, solidifying the championship with a 5-1 rout of Quinnipiac in the national title game in Tampa, Fla.
New arena boards, glass aim to improve player safety
Ralph Engelstad Arena will overhaul its board and glass system this summer with the hopes of significantly improving player safety.
The installation will begin on Aug. 22 and is expected to be done on Labor Day.
The new setup will mirror most NHL arenas, featuring a new set of dasher boards and acrylic shielding to replace the old tempered glass. This will be the first time UND has replaced the dasher boards and glass since the arena opened in 2001.
There are three big safety measures:
- Check flex. When players are checked into the boards, the dashers will flex up to three inches to provide more give
- Glass flex. The acrylic will have increased absorption impact. The glass will have more give, which could help prevent potential concussions.
- A soft cap on the dashers. Instead of hard plastic on top of the dashers, it will be a rubber material, making it softer. It is significantly more forgiving than the old plastic surface.
“The biggest items, for sure, would be that the new system incorporates more safety features than any other dasher board system on the market today,” said Jody Hodgson, the general manager of Ralph Engelstad Arena. “I believe 28 of the 30 NHL arenas feature the same thing we’re going to put in.”
The acrylic will be a lot longer than the current tempered glass which should make for better viewing for fans. They’ll be held together by a clear polycarbonate sleeve instead of stanchions.
The system also will have what it calls “curved terminations” to replace the turnbuckles by the player benches too.
Another change that fans and players will notice is that the bottom of the boards are expected to be more lively.
It should better allow players to pass to each other off the boards. Players also may be able to get pucks to the side of the net from points shots off the end wall - as long as they stay low and on the yellow kick plate.
UND athletics signs five-year deal with KFGO, Midwest Radio
UND, along with multimedia rights holder Learfield, announced Tuesday a five-year partnership with KFGO AM 790 and Midwest Radio-Fargo Moorhead beginning with the 2016-17 season.
It’s a rivalry reversal for KFGO, which was home to North Dakota State for the last six years. But in March, NDSU surprised many in the industry by reaching an agreement with Radio FM Media for the school’s radio rights.
“(NDSU) went a different direction,” 790 KFGO, 740 KVOX-AM operations manager Joel Heitkamp said. “I didn’t know where UND was at the time (with its previous radio contract), but having worked with UND in the past, you’re working with pure professionals. The minute I found out (NDSU was leaving KFGO), I was really anxious to talk to UND. I knew the quality of the programs and the support of the fans and the local businesses.
“If we had been offered the Bison contract, this is a different day and this is a different contract. But we were more than excited to have the opportunity to make the pitch to UND. They took the time to listen to us with what we could do.”
A big selling point for KFGO was its family of stations, Heitkamp said.
“KFGO is No. 1 in the state and KVOX has one of the top five strongest signals in the nation,” Heitkamp said. “If three events are happening at the same time, we have 104.7 FM The Duke. If there’s four games going at the same time, we’ll figure something out. That’s a big plus for us.”