Future clouded for long Gophers-UND rivalry

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 4, 2011 - 1:34 PM

The 80-year hockey feud between Minnesota and North Dakota could begin fading soon.

hide

Minnesota and North Dakota often have spirited hockey meetings, such as this 2006 game with the Gophers' Ryan Potunly and the Sioux's Andrew Kozek tangling in front of the Sioux bench.

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune file photo

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

In his first game ever against North Dakota last January in Grand Forks, then-freshman Nick Bjugstad of the Gophers found himself underneath senior Brad Malone at the end of the second period. He was being choked by the Sioux player.

"I really didn't expect that," Bjugstad said. "I wasn't really ready for it."

But as those who have seen and experienced the skill, intensity and volatility of the series would say: Welcome to the rivalry. The 283rd and 284th meetings in a border battle dating back to 1930 will be played Friday and Saturday at Mariucci Arena. Expect dramatic goals, physical play and sellout crowds. Only standing-room tickets remain.

But a big question looms: What will become of eight-plus decades of tradition?

The Gophers will visit North Dakota in January. Next season the Fighting Sioux are expected to make one last visit to Mariucci for a WCHA series. Starting in 2013-14 season, the Gophers will be in the Big Ten Conference and North Dakota in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. This weekend's series is their first meeting since the formation of the Big Ten Conference was announced in March and the NCHC in July.

"This is the best week of the year," said Gophers defenseman Seth Helgeson, who helped pull Malone off Bjugstad in last year's melee. "It's our rival, North Dakota."

That status will be harder to sustain in the future.

"I think you will see us continue to play," Gophers coach Don Lucia said. "Is it going to be every year? That might be difficult to do."

There are three stumbling blocks, Lucia said, to scheduling nonconference series with North Dakota annually:

• The NCHC has eight teams and it could play as many as 28 conference games, leaving North Dakota with only six nonconference games.

• The Gophers play 20 home games every season -- and any nonconference agreement would be for a home-and-home series over two seasons, meaning the Gophers would have to travel for one of them.

• The Fighting Sioux have to change their nickname. The University of Minnesota has a rule its athletic teams can't play teams outside their conference who have American Indian nicknames deemed offensive. All signs pointed to the North Dakota Legislature repealing a law it passed earlier this year which mandated UND keep the name. But this week the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe and nickname supporters with the Standing Rock Tribe filed a lawsuit in federal court against the NCAA, saying its efforts to force North Dakota to change its nickname violate the tribes' constitutional and religious rights.

Must keep series going

Doug Woog, Lucia's predecessor, said the series has to continue.

"There is no reason not to play. You can't give me one," Woog said.

Lucia said the rivalry really amped up in the late 1970s after the Gophers beat UND in the NCAA title game.

"Then North Dakota got really good. When both teams are really good and you are playing each other at the end of the year" a rivalry builds, he said.

The Sioux have won seven NCAA titles and 15 WCHA regular-season titles, while the Gophers have five NCAA championships and 12 conference crowns.

"It has been a dandy [rivalry]," former Sioux coach Gino Gasparini said. "In the earlier days, North Dakota was a small institution and basically it is something that just evolved between two very successful programs with NCAA and WCHA titles in their pockets. Through the years, it grew bigger and bigger."

Woog said the Sioux used to recruit primarily Canadians while he recruited only in Minnesota, so Gophers fans used to infuriate their counterparts with "USA" chants.

Ben Hankinson, a Gophers forward from 1988-91, remembers the team bus arriving at the old Ralph Engelstad Arena. UND students, already in line for seats, were there to "welcome" them.

"It was great," he said. "I used to go out on the bench to tape my stick before the game, and they would scream over the glass at me."

As a senior he was involved in a scrum in front of one of the nets. After some words, he and Dave Hakstol -- now UND's coach -- skated to center ice and started fighting. Both team captains were thrown out of the game.

"We were so excited we didn't take our helmets off," Hankinson said. "We pounded each other's face masks and the referees let us go."

Gophers assistant coach Grant Potulny grew up in Grand Forks, but he and his brother Ryan played for the Gophers. The North Dakota game he remembers best is the Gophers' 5-4 victory over the Sioux in the 2004 Final Five final. "I had the [game]-winner," Potulny said. "That was fun. Superstars were being superstars that game and I found a way to sneak one in."

Sometimes the offbeat makes an impression, too.

Lucia and Helgeson both fondly recall defenseman Keith Ballard pulling the jersey over the head of a Sioux player on the ice, then scoring an overtime goal as the Gophers beat North Dakota in the first round of the 2002 WCHA playoffs.

The Gophers are only 3-6-2 against the Sioux the past three seasons, but that's partly because nine of those 11 games were at the Ralph. Minnesota wants to take advantage of these two games; after all, who knows how many there will be against UND in future years?

"When you play up there, it's crazy. The fans really don't like you and give it to you," Bjugstad said. "It will be nice having everyone cheering on our side, and we will hopefully get them going."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Detroit 6:00 PM
Washington
Atlanta 6:30 PM
Miami
Toronto 6:30 PM
New York
Memphis 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Brooklyn 7:30 PM
Dallas
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Utah
San Antonio 8:00 PM
Phoenix
Buffalo 2:00 PM
Florida
Detroit 2:00 PM
Nashville
Carolina 4:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 4:00 PM
Columbus
Arizona 4:30 PM
Boston
Toronto 6:00 PM
Montreal
NY Rangers 7:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Colorado
St. Louis 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Ottawa 9:00 PM
San Jose
Kennesaw St 75 FINAL
Lipscomb 94
Navy 57 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 47
Bucknell 71 FINAL
American Univ 69
NC State 63 FINAL
Boston College 79
East Carolina 71 FINAL
UCF 66
Georgia Tech 63 FINAL
Clemson 70
Lehigh 55 FINAL
Colgate 61
Louisville 81 FINAL
Florida State 59
Missouri 44 FINAL
Georgia 68
Army 64 FINAL
Lafayette 74
Michigan 56 FINAL
Maryland 66
Georgetown 70 FINAL
St Johns 81
Rhode Island 58 2nd Half 0:25
La Salle 55
Western Carolina 52 2nd Half 10:00
Citadel 38
Nebraska Omaha 57 2nd Half 12:26
IUPUI 50
Maine 50 2nd Half 1:53
New Hampshire 63
Samford 50 2nd Half 13:45
Va Military 38
Presbyterian 41 2nd Half 9:42
Winthrop 57
Utah State 19 1st Half 7:51
Air Force 15
Vermont 22 1st Half 6:35
Albany 25
UMBC 13 1st Half 7:39
Binghamton 23
Indiana State 13 1st Half 7:21
Bradley 13
Butler 22 1st Half 5:42
DePaul 14
Illinois State 18 1st Half 8:38
Evansville 11
Wright State 0 1st Half 7:48
Ill-Chicago 16
Fla Gulf Coast 18 1st Half 7:26
Jacksonville 23
Ole Miss 19 1st Half 7:53
LSU 15
North Carolina 22 1st Half 9:56
Miami-Florida 16
Wagner 17 1st Half 5:30
Mount St Marys 21
TCU 23 1st Half 7:22
Oklahoma 24
Delaware 15 1st Half 7:15
Towson 17
Cincinnati 25 1st Half 5:30
Tulane 6
Dayton 18 1st Half 6:54
VA Commonwealth 21
Northern Iowa 20 1st Half 7:01
Wichita State 23
Drexel 23 1st Half 5:46
William & Mary 20
Oakland 24 1st Half 6:42
Green Bay 24
Villanova 28 1st Half 6:37
Xavier 26
Campbell 8 1st Half 8:28
Longwood 19
Sarah Lawrence 1:30 PM
NJIT
Middle Tennessee 2:00 PM
UAB
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
Liberty
Southern Utah 2:00 PM
North Dakota
Utah Valley U 2:05 PM
Chicago State
ULM 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Bowling Green 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Long Island 2:30 PM
Sacred Heart
West Virginia 3:00 PM
Baylor
Holy Cross 3:00 PM
Boston Univ
MD-Eastern Shore 3:00 PM
Delaware State
Wofford 3:00 PM
Furman
Montana State 3:00 PM
Idaho
Hofstra 3:00 PM
James Madison
Iowa State 3:00 PM
Kansas State
Arkansas 3:00 PM
Kentucky
Missouri State 3:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Fordham 3:00 PM
Massachusetts
Nicholls 3:00 PM
McNeese State
East Tenn St 3:00 PM
Mercer
Coppin State 3:00 PM
Morgan State
San Diego 3:00 PM
Portland
Gardner-Webb 3:00 PM
Radford
St Francis-PA 3:00 PM
Robert Morris
Duquesne 3:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Creighton 3:00 PM
Seton Hall
Oklahoma State 3:00 PM
Texas Tech
Alabama 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Virginia Tech 3:00 PM
Virginia
Bethune-Cookman 3:00 PM
NC Central
St Francis-NY 3:00 PM
Bryant
Drake 3:05 PM
Southern Ill
High Point 3:30 PM
Char Southern
Central Conn St 3:30 PM
Fair-Dickinson
Eastern Mich 3:30 PM
Western Mich
Texas 4:00 PM
Kansas
Chattanooga 4:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
SE Louisiana 4:00 PM
Central Arkansas
South Dakota St 4:00 PM
South Dakota
Montana 4:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Georgia State 4:15 PM
Troy
Old Dominion 4:30 PM
North Texas
Arkansas State 4:30 PM
Texas State
Texas Southern 5:00 PM
Alabama State
Tennessee St 5:00 PM
Belmont
Princeton 5:00 PM
Brown
Dartmouth 5:00 PM
Cornell
Tennessee 5:00 PM
Florida
Jacksonville St 5:00 PM
Morehead State
San Jose St 5:00 PM
Nevada
Florida A&M 5:00 PM
NC A&T
Iowa 5:00 PM
Penn State
Loyola Marymount 5:00 PM
Pepperdine
Miss State 5:00 PM
South Carolina
Savannah State 5:00 PM
SC State
Miss Valley St 5:30 PM
Jackson State
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Southern U
Prairie View 6:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Harvard 6:00 PM
Columbia
George Washington 6:00 PM
Davidson
Syracuse 6:00 PM
Duke
Tenn Tech 6:00 PM
Eastern Ky
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
Elon
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Hartford
Hampton 6:00 PM
Howard
Northwestern 6:00 PM
Illinois
Western Ill 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Kent State
Incarnate Word 6:00 PM
Lamar
Cal State Fullerton 6:00 PM
Long Beach State
TX-San Antonio 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Marshall
Richmond 6:00 PM
Saint Josephs
George Mason 6:00 PM
Saint Louis
Austin Peay 6:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Murray State 6:00 PM
UT Martin
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
Penn 6:00 PM
Yale
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Stetson 6:00 PM
North Florida
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Grand Canyon 6:05 PM
UMKC
Abilene Christian 6:15 PM
New Orleans
Northeastern 7:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
Tulsa 7:00 PM
Memphis
Wyoming 7:00 PM
UNLV
Central Mich 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Denver 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Rice
Boise State 7:00 PM
San Diego St
St Marys-CA 7:00 PM
Santa Clara
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
Sam Houston St 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
New Mexico St 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
FIU 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Ga Southern 7:15 PM
Louisiana
Ark-Little Rock 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Grambling St 7:30 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Auburn 7:30 PM
Texas A&M
Arizona 8:00 PM
Utah
Northern Ariz 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UC Davis 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
New Mexico 9:00 PM
Fresno State
BYU 9:00 PM
Gonzaga
Pacific 9:00 PM
San Francisco
Idaho State 9:00 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 9:05 PM
Portland State
UC Riverside 9:30 PM
CS-Northridge
Washington 9:30 PM
USC
CS-Bakersfield 9:30 PM
Seattle
UC Irvine 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Michigan 60 FINAL
Illinois 72
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
Kennesaw St 75
North Florida 38 2nd Half 4:59
Stetson 67
Samford 52 2nd Half 7:51
Mercer 48
Liberty 46 2nd Half 7:04
Campbell 42
North Texas 28 2nd Half 14:31
Old Dominion 51
St Francis-NY 41 2nd Half 6:45
Bryant 46
St Francis-PA 30 2nd Half
Robert Morris 30
Long Island 44 2nd Half 10:57
Sacred Heart 43
Sam Houston St 39 2nd Half 7:50
TX A&M-CC 44
Kent State 44 2nd Half 5:26
Miami-Ohio 49
ULM 44 2nd Half 9:23
Appalachian St 61
Boston U 56 2nd Half 3:20
Holy Cross 67
Nicholls 40 2nd Half 14:26
McNeese State 47
Akron 19 1st Half 4:21
Buffalo 26
Ball State 1:00 PM
Western Mich
MD-Eastern Shore 16 1st Half
Delaware State 17
Northern Ill 12 1st Half 12:30
Eastern Michigan 8
Bowling Green 13 1st Half 6:34
Ohio U 25
Central Michigan 9 1st Half 12:18
Toledo 18
Coppin State 1:00 PM
Morgan State
Bethune-Cookman 32 1st Half 4:52
NC Central 8
Central Conn St 35 1st Half 3:10
Fairleigh Dickinson 17
Memphis 4 1st Half 7:47
(1) Connecticut 32
Georgia Tech 15 1st Half 7:13
Wake Forest 21
East Carolina 18 1st Half 6:27
Temple 12
Marist 11 1st Half 9:44
Rider 22
Michigan State 14 1st Half 12:30
Purdue 4
Fairfield 19 1st Half 10:43
Manhattan 8
Niagara 11 1st Half 11:45
Iona 19
East Tenn St 13 1st Half 3:08
(18) Chattanooga 29
Furman 8 1st Half 13:30
Wofford 5
Longwood 23 1st Half 2:16
Charleston Southern 20
UNC-Asheville 36 1st Half 4:15
Coastal Carolina 22
Northern Ky 22 1st Half 7:23
USC Upstate 11
Winthrop 18 1st Half 6:25
Presbyterian 21
Western Ill 1:30 PM
South Dakota
Detroit 1:35 PM
Valparaiso
Cleveland State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Lafayette 2:00 PM
Army
Arkansas State 2:00 PM
Texas State
Georgia State 2:00 PM
Troy
IUPUI 2:00 PM
South Dakota St
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Belmont
Eastern Illinois 2:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Jacksonville St 2:00 PM
Morehead St
Kansas State 2:00 PM
TCU
Cincinnati 2:00 PM
SMU
SE Louisiana 2:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Denver 2:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Tulane 2:00 PM
Tulsa
IUPU-Ft Wayne 2:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Air Force 3:00 PM
Utah State
San Diego State 3:00 PM
Boise State
Fresno State 3:00 PM
New Mexico
Florida A&M 3:00 PM
NC A&T
Gonzaga 3:00 PM
BYU
South Florida 3:00 PM
UCF
UCLA 3:00 PM
Washington
(3) Baylor 3:00 PM
Iowa State
Miss Valley St 3:00 PM
Jackson State
Tenn Tech 3:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
UMKC 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Seattle 3:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Texas Southern 3:00 PM
Alabama State
Santa Clara 3:00 PM
St Marys-CA
UNLV 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Savannah State 3:00 PM
SC State
Alcorn State 3:00 PM
Southern U
Bucknell 3:00 PM
American Univ
Oakland 3:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Eastern Washington 3:00 PM
Montana
Idaho 3:00 PM
Montana State
Weber State 3:00 PM
Idaho State
Radford 3:00 PM
High Point
Green Bay 3:30 PM
Youngstown St
Austin Peay 3:30 PM
SE Missouri St
Wagner 3:30 PM
Mount St Marys
Portland 4:00 PM
San Diego
Nevada 4:00 PM
San Jose St
Stephen F Austin 4:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Incarnate Word 4:00 PM
Lamar
Abilene Christian 4:00 PM
New Orleans
Pepperdine 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
San Francisco 4:00 PM
Pacific
Prairie View 4:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Hampton 4:00 PM
Howard
Chicago State 4:00 PM
Utah Valley U
Murray State 4:00 PM
UT Martin
Cal Poly 4:00 PM
Cal-Irvine
Marshall 4:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Portland State 4:00 PM
Sacramento St
UC Santa Barbara 4:00 PM
UC Davis
Western Ky 5:00 PM
FIU
UAB 5:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Georgia Southern 5:00 PM
Louisiana
Grambling 5:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Ark-Little Rock 5:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Cornell 5:00 PM
Dartmouth
Columbia 5:00 PM
Harvard
Brown 5:00 PM
(14) Princeton
USC 5:00 PM
Washington St
(24) California 5:00 PM
(7) Oregon State
Yale 6:00 PM
Penn
Loyola-Maryland 6:00 PM
Navy
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
(21) Fla Gulf Coast
Long Beach St 6:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Rice 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Colgate 6:30 PM
Lehigh
CS-Northridge 7:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Kansas 7:00 PM
Oklahoma
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northern Colorado 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close