Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks, N.D, January 23-34, 2009
The Fourth-ranked University of Denver Pioneers (15-6-2, 11-4-1 WCHA) return to action at No. 15 North Dakota (14-10-2, 9-5-2 WCHA) this weekend. Puck drop is set for 6:37 p.m. MT on Friday, Jan. 23 and 6:07 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24 at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Both games will be televised live on FSN Rocky Mountain and webcast live on www.DenverPioneers.com. Both games can be heard live on www.DenverPioneers.com and 560 AM (Friday) and 101.5 FM (Saturday).
The Series: North Dakota holds a 128-110-7 advantage over DU in the series that dates back to 1950. DU is 39-78-4 all-time in Grand Forks, including a 3-3 mark in its last six contests at Engelstad Arena. DU is 2-3 in its last five games against UND and 5-5 in its last 10.
Fighting Sioux to watch North Dakota is one of the hottest teams in college hockey with a 10-2-1 mark in its last 13 games. The Fighting Sioux are led by Chay Genoway (2-22--24), Brad Miller (4-19--23) and 2007 Hobey Baker Award winner Ryan Duncan (10-9--19). Genoway and Miller rank third and fourth, respectively, in WCHA defenseman scoring. Freshman Brad Eidsness leads the team with a 14-7-2 record, 2.51 GAA and .908 Saves percentage.
About the University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota (UND) is a public university in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Established by the Dakota Territorial Assembly in 1883, six years before the establishment of the state of North Dakota, UND now enrolls over 12,500 students and is the oldest and 2nd largest university in the state.
UND was founded as a university with a strong liberal arts foundation. Today, UND also offers a variety of professional and specialized programs, including the only schools of law and medicine in the state. UND is also known for its School of Aerospace Sciences which trains airplane pilots from around the world. UND has also been named a space grant institution.
Roughly half of the student body is from North Dakota with the remainder coming from around the nation and the world. UND's economic impact on the state and region is more than $1 billion a year and it is the second largest employer in the state of North Dakota, after the Air Force. Recently, UND has put an emphasis on research and currently specializes in research involving health sciences, nutrition, energy and environmental protection, aerospace, and engineering.
In 1883, Grand Forks native George H. Walsh submitted a bill to the Territorial Legislature of Dakota Territory that called for the new state of North Dakota's university to be located in Grand Forks. The university was viewed by many as the premier state institution to be given to a community; even more so than the state capitol. The first building at UND, Old Main, housed all classrooms, offices, dorm rooms, and a library. In the 1880s, UND consisted of only a few acres of property surrounded by farms and fields. At this time, the campus was nearly two miles west of the city of Grand Forks. Students living off campus had to take a train or a horse and carriage bus, dubbed the "Black Maria", from downtown to the campus.
Gradually, more buildings were constructed on campus and a trolley system was built to connect the growing university to downtown Grand Forks. However, there were several major interruptions in the life of the university. In 1918, UND was the hardest-hit single institution in the country by the flu epidemic which killed 1,400 people in North Dakota alone. Later that year, classes were suspended so the campus could become an army base for soldiers during World War I. During the Great Depression, UND provided free housing to students willing to do manual labor on campus.
After World War II, enrollment quickly grew to more than 3,000. A large amount of housing had to be built on campus as well as several new academic buildings, and by the 1960s and 1970s, many student protests occurred at UND. The largest occurred in May 1970 when over 1,500 students gathered to protest the Kent State shootings. In 1975, enrollment swelled to a record 8,500. The 1970s also saw the establishment of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at UND. The 1980s and 1990s were another period of growth for UND. However, the devastating 1997 Red River Flood inundated numerous buildings on campus and forced the cancellation of the remainder of the school year.
The start of the 21st century was marked by the opening of two major athletic venues for UND athletics. The Ralph Engelstad Arena which is used for hockey and the Alerus Center which is used for football both opened in 2001. Millions of dollars worth of construction and renovation projects have dotted the campus landscape in recent years. As part of a plan to improve student facilities on campus, UND has recently constructed a Wellness Center, a parking garage, and a new apartment-style housing complex. Today, issues facing UND include a move of its entire athletic program to Division I, ongoing discussions regarding the Fighting Sioux nickname, the fact that UND is located in a state with a shrinking population of potential students, and efforts to increase external contributions and funding.
About the Fighting Sioux Hockey Program
The University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux Hockey tradition is one of proudest and most successful Division I programs in the United States and is today, the top sports attraction in the entire State of North Dakota.
Hockey was first played on campus in 1929, when a team of UND students played local area teams, playing 16 games in the years between 1929 and 1936. John Jamieson re-established club hockey at after WWII, going 7-6 in 1946-47, but the varsity Fighting Sioux hockey tradition really began the next year as the product of two co-founders, the late Glenn “Red” Jarrett and the late Calvin Coolidge Marvin, the first of many Marvins to play at UND.
Jarrett, an All-American halfback on UND’s 1930 football team became the football coach and athletic director in the spring of 1947. Jarrett then decided to make the move to elevate club hockey to varsity status. UND and the city of Grand Forks did not immediately stand by Jarrett’s decision because UND already had two men’s sports in football and basketball.
Jarrett went ahead with his plan and got the Michigan athletic Director, the legendary Fritz Crisler, to agree to a two-game series against the Wolverines in Ann Arbor. Jarrett worked hard to line up a schedule with other established hockey programs and scheduled games with Minnesota, Colorado College, and Michigan Tech.
Marvin, a native of Warroad, Minnesota, recalled one of their early conversations: “Red said, ‘Cal get me a team, and I’ll get you a schedule. ‘I said, ‘Red, get me a schedule and I’ll get you a team.”
While Jarrett set up the schedule for the Sioux, Marvin worked tirelessly to recruit players from around North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota, mostly World War II veterans who had returned to campus. This was a glorified pickup team wearing used UND football jerseys and other makeshift equipment, but these men were not just any pickup team.
UND’s first collegiate game was at Michigan, the major powerhouse of the era, who went on to win the first NCAA hockey tournament in 1948 and six of the first nine titles awarded. The Sioux rode the train all the way to Ann Arbor, and at a rest stop in the Twin Cities, one University of Minnesota player told some UND players they’d “lose by 14 goals.” In actuality, behind the 34 save goal goaltending of Bob Murray, UND stepped up and played the mighty Wolverines to a 5-5 tie going into the final minute, when UND’s John Noah fired a shot into the Michigan goal with 46 seconds remaining to lift UND to its first ever varsity hockey win 6-5, -- its first win over a big 10 school in any sport. The win was so exciting that the UND band met the train in 28 below zero weather when the team returned to Grand Forks. The Sioux program was born in an unheated, natural ice rink and the first season, the Sioux compiled an 8-4 record against the top college teams that included Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado College, and Michigan Tech.
In 1953, UND built it’s first artificial ice arena, the 4,000 seat UND Winter Sports Building, a Quonset hut design better known as the “barn”. UND also began recruiting Canadian players to supplement the local players.
The early and mid 50s Sioux teams were generally winning teams, and were led by Sioux legends Ben Cherski and Bill Riechert, respectively, each of whom became three-time all Americans in the era before freshman eligibility.
By 1957-58, UND was a emerging into a powerhouse program in the WIHL (forerunner of today’s WCHA), and behind the balanced attack employed coach Bob May, the Sioux went 24-7-1 and earned a trip to Minneapolis for the 1958 NCAA Tournament. In the NCAA semifinal, seven different Sioux players scored as UND routed Harvard, 9-1 to earn a berth in the NCAA Championship Game at Williams Arena. The Sioux’s opponent in that title game was also making its first NCAA Tournament appearance, the University of Denver Pioneers. The Pioneers whipped the Sioux, 6-2, in the Championship Game, setting the stage for a rivalry between the schools that exists to this day.
The Sioux players wanted more success, and built their very own locker room over the next summer with donated lumber, and became even closer after the tragic summer hunting death of goalie Tommy Forrest, and the loss of two defensemen to academic ineligibility, All American Bill Steenson and Steve Thullner. The closeness paid off as UND went 20-10, and earned its second NCAA berth, at the Houston Field House in Troy, New York, where UND won its first national championship by virtue of two action-packed 4-3 overtime thrillers. Guy LaFrance's goal at 4:22 of sudden death overtime eliminated St. Lawrence in the NCAA semifinal game. In that game, Sioux legend Reg Morelli tallied a pair of goals, and Art Miller and Ed Thomlinson one each.
The next night against Michigan State in the title game, Morelli duplicated LaFrance's OT heroics when he scored a dramatic shot over the sprawling Spartan goalie, Joe Selinger, at 4:18 of the first overtime period, giving the Sioux a 4-3 win and their first of seven NCAA title trophies. It would be May’s final game as coach, as he later moved to Denver to help his handicapped daughter and later became a dentist.
In 1963, under new coach Barry Thorndycraft, a former May assistant, the Sioux agonizingly watched DU hoist the MacNaughton Cup as the Pioneers beat UND 5-4 in Denver for the WCHA playoff title, the team they had tied for the WCHA regular season title.
A week later, the Sioux got their revenge in McHugh Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass., as UND first crushed host Boston College 8-2 in the semifinal round of the NCAA tournament. In the NCAA final against the Denver Pioneers, UND raced to a 5-2 first period lead, but the Pioneers came roaring back, only to fall to the Sioux, 6-5. Al McLean, who was named tourney MVP, scored the winning goal at 5:01 of the second period to lift UND to its second NCAA crown.
After a 4-3 loss to Boston College in the 1965 NCAA tourney in Providence, the Sioux rebounded to beat Brown 9-5 for third place at Brown’s home arena, Meehan Auditorium.
In 1966-67, the Sioux won the WCHA with a 19-10 overall slate, but in the NCAA tournament, were shut out, 1-0 by Ken Dryden, perhaps the best goalie in NCAA history.
The Sioux advanced to the 1968 NCAA tournament by beating home-standing Michigan Tech 3-2 in total goals. The first game was a 0-0 deadlock, the only scoreless tie in UND history. UND then went to the new arena in Duluth, Minn for the NCAA Frozen Four and got its revenge, toppling the great Ken Dryden and his Cornell team, 3-1 in the semifinal. In the Championship Game, the Sioux once again met the Denver Pioneers, who sought revenge for their 1963 loss to UND in the title game. The Pioneers, behind the shutout goaltending of Gerry Powers, cruised to a 4-0 shutout of the Sioux in the title game, the fourth NCAA title for the Pioneers, and the front end of a repeat Pioneer performance the next season, when DU beat Cornell and Dryden for DU’s fifth crown.
In recognition of the growth of Sioux hockey, in 1972, UND replaced the barn with a new arena, and dedicated its a new $2 million, 5800 seat Winter Sports Center by topping Colorado College 5-4 before a capacity crowd.
In 1979, UND won its first WCHA championship in 12 years by beating arch-rival Minnesota, coached by Herb Brooks, on the road 4-2 under the guidance of first-year head coach John "Gino" Gasparini. Gino’s boys then defeated Dartmouth 4-2 in Detroit's Olympia Stadium in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament on goals from Howard Walker, Erwin Martins, Mark Taylor and Cary Eades in the triumph. But Minnesota got revenge and edged the Sioux 4-3 on a Neal Broten goal in the NCAA title game. The defeat stung the Sioux, and hopes were high for a Championship the next year.
The next season, the Sioux would not be denied. They went 31-8-1, winning their final 14 games, crushing Michigan State and Notre Dame in the WCHA playoffs and earning a trip to the Providence Civic Center for the NCAA tournament. In the semifinal, the Sioux topped Carey Wilson’s excellent Dartmouth team, 4-1 on four third-period goals -- including two by Doug Smail, a fast forward from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to earn a berth the in the NCAA title game against Northern Michigan, a team that had swept the Sioux earlier this season. With revenge on their minds, and a third NCAA trophy in their sights, the Sioux were able to overcome the loss of its best player and 92 point scorer, Mark Taylor, who broke his collarbone in the first period of the NCAA Final. All Smail did was double his two goal output in the semifinal with a four goal performance in the title game, including the first three goals of the game, as the Sioux never looked back, beating the Wildcats, 5-2 for the crown. Four Sioux players with eligibility remaining (Smail, Walker, Craig Ludwig and Mickey Volcan) all signed NHL contracts after that game.
Two years later, the Sioux were terrific again, going 35-12 overall, and returning to the NCAA Tournament once again. First UND crushed Northeastern in the semifinal 6-2, taking a 6-0 lead on goals by Glen White, Phil Sykes, Jim Archibald, Cary Eades, Troy Murray and Dusty Carroll.
The next night, the Sioux faced the rival defending NCAA Champion Wisconsin Badgers for the NCAA Crown. During a four year period between 1980 and 1983, the Sioux and Badgers each won two NCAA titles, and between the two teams on the ice in 1982, an amazing 21 players UND and UW went to play about 10,000 NHL games, including all six of UND’s freshman class (Jim Archibald, Gord Sherven, James Patrick, Rick Zombo and Dave Tippett). It may have been the greatest collection of talent to ever play in an NCAA title game.
While the two teams hated each other, especially after a major brawl earlier that season in Madison (the famous ‘water bottle incident’), the Sioux won their fourth national title by a 5-2 margin over Wisconsin after third-period goals by MVP Phil Sykes (2) and Cary Eades snapped a 2-2 tie. The Sioux were playing without regulars Tippett and Dave Donnelly, rolling three lines and counting on the goaltending of Darren Jensen, who recorded 23 saves for the victory and the fourth NCAA trophy for the case in Grand Forks.
UND returned to the NCAA’s in 1984, as the Sioux edged RPI at Troy, N.Y., 5-4 and 4-2, to advance to the NCAA semifinals in Lake Placid, N.Y., where they lost 2-1 in OT to Minnesota-Duluth, but rebounded to edge Michigan State 6-5 in OT on a goal by wing Dean Barsness to gain third place.
One of the memorable UND NCAA title teams was the 1986-87 squad, the high scoring “Hrkac Circus”, named for NCAA scoring leader Tony Hrkac (rhymes with circus), a Thunder Bay, Ontario native who racked up an NCAA record 116 points that season, a record that may never be broken with development of defensive hockey systems and goaltending since that era. The team was no slouch, either, racking up a then-NCAA record of 40-8, to win its fifth NCAA crown and third in just nine years with Gasparini behind the bench.
UND gained entry into the title match by virtue of a 5-2 victory over Harvard in the semifinals at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. Freshman Brent Bobyck, junior Bob Joyce, sophomore Tony Hrkac, senior Mickey Krampotich and junior Steve Johnson notched Sioux goals in the triumph over the Crimson, while Ed Belfour made 37 saves in goal.
In the title contest before a largely pro-MSU crowd in Detroit, UND took a 3-0 first-period lead over Michigan State on goals by sophomore defenseman Ian Kidd, freshman Murray Barron and Joyce. The Spartans scored midway through the second period before Sioux senior Malcolm Parks made it 4-1. MSU cut it to 4-2 at the end of two periods, but Bobyck scored at 7:54 and MSU tallied a late goal to make the final a 5-3 North Dakota title victory, number five for the Sioux. Belfour has only 15 saves in the tight-checking games played before a then-NCAA tournament record crowd of 17,644. Hrkac is named winner of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top player in college hockey.
After the fifth NCAA Crown in 1987, The Sioux entered a period of slow, relative decline in the final seven years of Gasparini’s tenure, bottoming out in the early 1990s, when the Sioux suffered three rare losing seasons in a row, and Gasparini was forced to resign, leaving with 16 years in the position in 1994. He left UND with three NCAA titles and a 392-248-24 record to his credit.
In May of 1994, Dean Blais, a Sioux hockey assistant coach from 1980-89, was named UND's 14th head hockey coach. Under Blais, the Sioux won their first playoff series in four years when they swept St. Cloud State 3-2 and 5-2 at the National Hockey Center in the WCHA playoffs. UND advanced to the WCHA Final Five for the first time and dropped a tight-checking, 3-2 decision to Minnesota.
In 1997, a 6-2 win over Cornell in the NCAA West Regional tournament sent the WCHA Champion Fighting Sioux to the NCAA Frozen Four for the first time in 10 years. After whipping Colorado College 6-2 in the semifinals in Milwaukee, the Sioux advanced to the NCAA title game against Boston University.
In the championship game, BU jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period. But the Sioux stormed back in the second period scoring a total of five unanswered goals by Curtis Murphy, David Hoogsteen (2), and Matt Henderson (2) to finish the second with a 5-3 UND lead. BU scored a goal late in the third period to close the gap but Adam Calder iced the Sioux victory with an empty-net goal at 19:47 to make the final 6-4. Freshman netminder Aaron Schweitzer turned 25 Terrier shots aside for the Sioux’s sixth NCAA title, restoring the glory to the program.
In 1998 and 1999, the Sioux won the WCHA title both years with records of 32-6-2 and 31-8-5 respectively, but were upset both years in the NCAA regionals, with UND losing to lower seeded Michigan 4-3 at Yost Arena in 1998 in Ann Arbor, and Boston College in 1999, marking disappointing finishes for teams that expected to be Frozen Four caliber teams.
However, in 2000, the Sioux made up for the early exits of the previous two seasons by winning the school’s seventh NCAA title in Providence, RI, site of the 1980 Sioux title, and getting revenge on Boston College by beating the Eagles, 4-2 behind the play of tourney MVP Lee Goren and the goaltending of Karl Goehring, who shutout Maine, 2-0 in the semi-finals and only allowed two goals to BC. The Sioux had fallen behind 2-1 in the second period to BC, but answered the bell with three consecutive goals in the third period to gain NCAA Trophy #7.
In 2001, UND opened the 11,500 seat Ralph Engelstad Arena, a $100+ million palatial hockey arena, donated by former 1950s Sioux Goalie Ralph Engelstad. The regular 6,000 person crowd at Sioux essentially doubled overnight to the second largest attendance in the NCAA behind Wisconsin.
UND almost got to repeat with NCAA title in 2001, advancing to the NCAA title game against Boston College, and pushing into overtime tied at 2 goals each. But BC’s Krys Kolanos scored in OT to end the Sioux title hopes, and allowed BC a measure of revenge for the previous year, when UND knocked the Eagles out of the title game.
Despite some excellent teams since 2000, the Sioux have not been able to capture the NCAA title since that night in Providence, with Denver playing a huge part in the string of Sioux disappointments since 2000.
Perhaps the best Sioux team in recent memory, a team that was ranked #1 nationally and was the top seeded team in the nation in 2004, behind the play of high scoring Zach Parise, Brandon Bochenski and Brady Murray, dropped a 1-0 shutout heartbreaker to Denver in the NCAA regional in Colorado Springs behind the goaltending of Adam Berkhoel, who then led DU to the 2004 NCAA title.
Denver also deprived the Sioux of the title #8 in the 2005 NCAA Championship Game, as the Pioneers dumped UND 4-1 behind the play of Paul Stastny, Matt Carle and Peter Mannino, as DU won it’s seventh NCAA title, tying with UND for second all time behind Michigan’s nine titles. That Denver victory came in a hostile atmosphere of travelling Sioux fans, as Denver’s knockout out the Sioux in the 2004 NCAA regionals was followed by a controversial hit by Denver player Geoff Paukovich in the 2005 WCHA final five that broke the neck of Sioux defenseman Robbie Bina.
Last year, Denver also defeated the Sioux in the WCHA Final Five title game behind the late individual effort of Anthony Maiani, who scored a dramatic backhander after a long up-ice rush, as Denver won the Broadmoor Trophy.
Nickname and Logo:The North Dakota Fighting Sioux is the name of the athletic teams of the University of North Dakota (UND) .The current Sioux logo is a Native American figure. The logo was designed by Bennett Brien, a local Grand Forks artist and UND graduate of Ojibwa ethnicity, and replaced earlier versions of a Native American figure, notably the Chicago Blackhawk logo that once adorned the Sioux Jerseys for many years, by special arrangement with the NHL club.
UND's nickname was originally "The Flickertails", but was changed to "The Sioux" officially in 1930 ("Fighting" was added later). Guest editorials that appeared at that time in the Dakota Student (the UND student newspaper) noted that (1)"Sioux are a good exterminating agent for Bison" (the mascot of the nearby North Dakota State University team), (2)"They are warlike, of fine physique and bearing", and (3)"The word Sioux is easily rhymed for yells and songs". The choice of the name was also influenced by the Fighting Irish athletic teams of the University of Notre Dame (another "UND").
Nickname and Logo Controversy
Today, critics of the name say that it is a racist stereotype, while supporters maintain it is inoffensive and a source of pride. Over the years, the debate has proven to be a divisive issue at the University. The movement to keep the nickname and logo is led by UND alumni, sports fans, and athletic players and officials, as well as the present university administration. The campaign to change the nickname and logo is led by several Native American tribes and student organizations, as well as UND faculty members..
In 1999, the UND Student Senate passed a resolution calling for the end of the nickname, but it was vetoed by the student body president. That same year, a similar bill was introduced in the North Dakota House of Representatives, but died in committee. In 2000, twenty-one separate Native American-related programs, departments, and organizations at UND signed a statement opposing the continued use of the nickname and logo, saying that it did not honor them or their culture. Three tribal entities within the state (the Standing Rock Sioux, Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux, and Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation) have issued tribal resolutions denouncing the continued use of the name and logo.
In 1999, Former Fighting Sioux hockey player and wealthy alumnus Ralph Engelstad donated $100 million dollars for the construction of Ralph Engelstad Arena. This was one of the largest philanthropic donations ever made to a public institution of higher learning. During construction of the arena, Engelstad threatened to abruptly cease work if the nickname was changed. The day after receiving Engelstad's threatening e-mail, North Dakota State Board of Higher Education froze discussion on the issue by insisting that the team name remain the same. One of Engelstad's conditions for his donation was that the University keeps the Fighting Sioux name indefinitely. Engelstad placed thousands of Fighting Sioux logos in numerous places throughout the arena to make physical removal of the logo very costly if attempted. The arena opened in 2001.
The debate reignited in 2005, following a decision by the NCAA to sanction schools with tribal logos and/or nicknames, including UND, that the NCAA deemed to be "hostile and abusive." After more legal wrangling, on October 26, 2007, a settlement between UND and the NCAA was reached preventing the case from going to trial. The settlement gave UND three years to gain support from the state's Sioux tribes to continue to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. If that support is not granted at the end of the three years, UND will retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, remove most of the existing Fighting Sioux imagery in campus facilities, and pick a new nickname and logo to represent UND's athletic teams.
As of November 2007, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has officially disapproved of the use of the Sioux logo. If their support cannot be approved by 2010, the Fighting Sioux name and logo will be retired.
UND FIGHT SONG
Fight on Sioux, we're all for you
We're thousands of strong and loyal souls
We know you'll win every game you're in
No matter how distant the goals
As we go, we'll show each foe that
We're the toughest team between the poles
We're rough and tough it's true
But we're sportsmen through and through
We're the fighting Sioux from North Dakota U
Notable UND Alumni
Arts and Letters
Sam Anderson – actor “Perfect Strangers”
Greg Johnson - former player in the NHL
Travis Zajac - current New Jersey Devils player in the NHL
Law, politics, and government
John E. Davis - former governor of North Dakota
Byron Dorgan - current U.S. Senator for North Dakota (also a DU alum)
Lynn Frazier - former governor of North Dakota and former U.S. Senator for North Dakota
William Langer - former governor of North Dakota and former U.S. Senator for North Dakota
John Moses - former governor of North Dakota and former U.S. Senator for North Dakota
Ragnvald A. Nestos - former governor of North Dakota
Allen I. Olson - former governor of North Dakota
Ed Schafer - former governor of North Dakota and former United States Secretary of Agriculture under GW Bush (Also a DU alum)
Karen L. Nyberg - NASA Astronaut
Vilhjalmur Stefansson - Arctic explorer
Grand Forks is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of North Dakota and the county seat of Grand Forks County. In July 2007, its population was estimated at 51,740 and it had an estimated metropolitan population of 97,691 Grand Forks, along with its twin city of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, forms the center of the Grand Forks, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is often called Greater Grand Forks or The Grand Cities.
Located on the western banks of the Red River of the North in an extremely flat region known as the Red River Valley, the city is prone to flooding and was struck by the devastating Red River Flood of 1997 Originally called Les Grandes Fourches by French fur traders, Grand Forks was founded in 1870 by steamboat captain Alexander Griggs and incorporated on February 22, 1881. Its location at the fork of the Red River and the Red Lake River gives the city its name.
Historically dependent on local agriculture, the city's economy now encompasses higher education, defense, health care, manufacturing, food processing, and scientific research.
Prior to settlement by Europeans or Americans, the area where the city now sits — at the forks of the Red River and Red Lake River — had been an important meeting and trading point for Native Americans. Early French explorers, fur trappers, and traders called the area Les Grandes Fourches meaning "The Grand Forks". By the 1740s, Les Grandes Fourches was an important trading post for French fur trappers. A U.S. post office was established on the site on June 15, 1870 and the name was changed to "Grand Forks." Alexander Griggs, a steamboat captain, is regarded as being "The Father of Grand Forks." Griggs' steamboat froze in the Red River on a voyage in late 1870, forcing the captain and his crew to spend the winter camping at Grand Forks. Griggs platted the community in 1875 and Grand Forks was officially incorporated on February 22, 1881. The city quickly grew after the arrival of the Great Northern Railway in 1880 and the Northern Pacific Railway in 1887. In 1883, the University of North Dakota was established, six years before North Dakota was formally recognized as an independent state born from the Dakota Territory.
The first half of the 1900s saw steady growth and the development of new neighborhoods farther south and west of Downtown Grand Forks. The 1920s saw the construction of the state-owned North Dakota Mill and Elevator on the north side of the city. In 1954, Grand Forks was chosen as the site for an Air Force base. Grand Forks Air Force Base brought thousands of new jobs and residents to the community. The military base and the University of North Dakota would become integral pieces of the city's economy. The second half of the 20th century saw Grand Forks spreading further away from the older part of town. Interstate 29 was built on the western side of the city and two enclosed shopping malls – South Forks Plaza and Columbia Mall – were built on the south side.
The city was struck by a severe flood in 1997, causing extensive damage. With Fargo upstream from the bulk of the waters and Winnipeg with its flood control structures, Grand Forks became the hardest hit city in the Red River Valley. During the height of the flooding, a major fire also destroyed eleven buildings in the downtown area. Many neighborhoods had to be demolished to make way for a new levee system, which was ultimately completed ten years later. The land bordering the Red River was turned into a massive park known as the Greater Grand Forks Greenway. Since the flood, Grand Forks has seen both public and private developments throughout town. Two new, large sports venues opened in 2001, including the Alerus Center and the Ralph Engelstad Arena. As of 2008, Grand Forks has a larger population than it did before the 1997 flood and area employment and taxable sales have also surpassed pre-flood levels.
This has makings of a close series. With DU leading the WCHA with 23 points and North Dakota tied for fourth with 20 points, DU is 7-0 in its last seven league games, while UND is 5-0-1 in its last six WCHA games, the usual physical, tough series is expected. UND swept DU 5-4 and 4-1 last season in a bloody beat down in Grand Forks, while DU got a nice measure of revenge with a 3-1 win in the semifinals of the 2008 WCHA Final Five in St. Paul, Minn.
UND has turned things around after a slow start and is starting to roll in the second half, destroying a very good Minnesota team two weeks ago in Grand Forks, and taking 3 of 4 road points in Houghton last week against MTU.
UND may be the only team in the WCHA with a comparable forward depth to DU with point producers on all four lines, and North Dakota has a seasoned defensive corps to back up a rookie goalie in Eidsness who is now rounding into a very good WCHA netminder.
With DU returning to action after having last weekend off, the fear in the Pio camp is one of rust. That said, the Pioneers lead the WCHA in scoring offense at 3.65 goals per game and scoring defense at 2.22 GPG, with the Sioux not far behind, and DU sports a four-game road winning streak after dropping its first three road contests this season.
On the upside, The Pioneers are 9-3-1 against ranked opponents, and DU is 14-1 when scoring three or more goals,12-1-1 when scoring first. Du also has 10 players with 13 or more points. Amazingly, the Pioneers are 7-1 when outshot by opponents.
North Dakota keys are likely to center on establishing a forecheck and trying to grind down the Pioneers by rolling four lines and making the Pioneers pay for every inch of ice with tenacity. Genoway is the key to making UND go in transition and on the power play, and I think the Pioneers will also have their eyes on emerging Sioux rookie Jason Gregoire, who verbally committed to play for the Pioneers, but reneged on his verbal commitment to play at UND.
Denver may have a slight edge in top end offensive talent, but UND may have more overall depth. UND will have a slight defensive edge on home ice, and Cheverie is a shade above Eidsness right now in goaltending. For DU to be effective in Grand Forks, it will need more leadership from upperclassmen and smart play to deal with what is always a physically and mentally difficult environment in Grand Forks.
All in all, I think Denver is good enough to win once, but not deep enough to win twice.