Tuesday, October 18, 2011

UND To Play Outdoor Hockey? Pro Sioux News, Etc.

A rumor had been floating around the past couple weeks concerning Nebraska-Omaha potentially hosting North Dakota in an outdoor hockey game sometime during the 2012-13 season, but details were pretty sketchy. Today, Nebraska-Omaha head coach Dean Blais was on Omaha's 1620 The Zone and he confirmed that UNO is indeed trying to make it happen and that North Dakota would be the opponent, mentioning Feb 8 or 9 as the potential date. The USHL's Omaha Lancers would also host their in-state rival Lincoln Stars, coached by former Sioux Chad Johnson. The Stars, barring any unforeseen transactions, should also have Sioux recruit Luke Johnson on their roster. The outdoor games would take place at Omaha's brand new baseball field, TD Ameritrade Park (the new home to baseball's College World Series) and would be part of what Blais called Hockey Week in Omaha.

When asked if the rumors were realistic talk, Blais laughed and said UNO Athletic Director Trev Alberts "told me to shut my big mouth about this. But I think so, yeah." Blais finished the discussion by saying, "Omaha's a big event city, and this would certainly be a big event, playing North Dakota outside."

Hopefully all those involved will be able to make this happen. It really has the potential to be a showcase event for an area of the country that isn't considered a traditional hockey hotbed.

You can check out the audio for yourself at 1620 The Zone. It's Oct 18, Seg 10, and they begin discussing the outdoor event at about the 12:40 mark. Thanks to the folks at mavpuck.com for spreading the word on this.

In other Sioux hockey news:
  • Toronto Maple Leaf Matt Frattin has yet to register a point in four games this season, but that doesn't mean his solid play has gone unnoticed. In fact, Maple Leaf head coach Ron Wilson bumped Frattin up from the third to second line in order to help the second unit generate more offensive chances. And Wilson says he won't hesitate to do it again, considering Frattin has probably created the most scoring chances on the team outside of Phil Kessel. Here's a Frattin interview following today's Maple Leaf practice: 

  • Former Sioux and current Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett is confident his Coyotes will continue their early season success.
  • Due to some early season injuries, TJ Oshie and the St. Louis Blues have been forced to make some adjustments to their lineup.
  • It's been nearly a year since Denver University's Jesse Martin was critically injured while taking on North Dakota at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The Denver Post recently published a three-part series detailing Martin's recovery: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
  • And finally, I had heard several people expressing concern early this season as to the whereabouts of the Ralph's Beer Grandma. Through five home games, she hadn't made an appearance on the big screen and there was concern for her health. Well, today we found out just why we haven't seen her offer up a cheers this season. Evidently it's because she has turned the University of North Dakota into a binge drinking party school.

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