Chip Scoggins: One of college hockey's best rivalries losing out to power of dollar

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 17, 2012 - 12:44 AM

North Dakota-Gophers playoff battles soon will be a thing of the past.

Three guys shared a table and a few pre-game beers Friday evening at a restaurant in downtown St. Paul. Two were decked out in Gophers hockey attire. The other wore a North Dakota jersey.

Normally, that kind of fraternizing might lead to trouble. But like peace talks between warring nations, their conversation appeared remarkably civil, which required further explanation.

"I let him marry my daughter," said Gophers fan Mark Hofmeister, nodding across the table to Justin Geerdes.

Wonderful. Bitter rivals and in-laws. What possibly could go wrong?

"I just like to torment him," Geerdes said, laughing.

The two -- along with family friend David Madsen -- agreed on one thing: It will be disappointing if Friday served as the final meeting between the Gophers and North Dakota in the WCHA Final Five at Xcel Energy Center.

The two hockey rivals met for the 287th time, and this one had to rank among the strangest. Thoroughly dominated for the first 30 minutes, North Dakota climbed out of a 3-0 hole to win 6-3 on a flurry of goals in rapid-fire succession.

"If you coach long enough, you see it all," Gophers coach Don Lucia said.

Unless we're treated to another matchup in this same tournament and venue again next season, we won't see it again in the WCHA playoffs before the teams go their separate ways. The Gophers are set to join the Big Ten's newly formed hockey league starting in 2013 with North Dakota moving into the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

The Big Ten's decision to create a hockey conference altered the sport's landscape, and not necessary for the better. Yes, the Gophers will be aligned with their traditional rivals from other sports, and the Big Ten Network will receive more programming for its lucrative and wide-reaching brand.

It's hard to consider the upside, however, when the cost is a watered-down version of the Gophers-UND rivalry. And that's the best-case scenario.

"For a niche sport, Minnesota-North Dakota is a premier rivalry," said Gophers fan Craig Lamp, who attended the game with his brother Mark. "I think it remains to be seen if the Big Ten will measure up to the WCHA in terms of top-to-bottom competition. Or whether it's just going to turn into more of a corporate atmosphere around the sport."

You felt that emotion and electricity all around St. Paul on Friday. Seventh Street was a sea of green and maroon. Fans walked up and down the street, cheering and singing and, yes, taunting their opposition. It was a feisty, festive atmosphere.

It's just a shame this is going away after next season.

"I'm mixed on it," Mark Lamp said, agreeing with his brother. "It's going to bring a lot more money into college hockey, which is great. But you're going to lose the tradition of the WCHA."

We understand that times change. Conference realignment has reconfigured college athletics in recent years. Money drives those decisions, and rivalries take a back seat in the discussion. (Just ask Missouri and Kansas basketball fans.)

That doesn't mean we have to like it. Or agree with it.

The hope, at least, is that the Gophers and UND will schedule a nonconference series every season, but that's not even certain at this point. The Gophers won't proceed until North Dakota changes its Fighting Sioux nickname. That's the first step. Then the schools must find room on their schedules.

"It would be disappointing if we didn't play," Craig Lamp said.

Most agree the passion in this rivalry is too intense for it to disappear completely.

"It's an intense rivalry, but it's also respectful," Madsen said.

Especially when the rivalry bleeds into the same family. Geerdes actually attended Minnesota State Mankato, but he became a North Dakota fan about five years ago. He and his wife, Marissa, have two young kids.

Hofmeister used to buy his two grandchildren Gophers clothing, hoping to convert them, but he gave up because the attire "went to rummage sales."

"Nobody bought it there," Geerdes joked.

Geerdes' favorite team remains Minnesota State, but he had to pick sides Friday so he wore his North Dakota jersey.

"At least here, half the people are Sioux fans," he said. "I only get grief from half the people. If I come in Mankato stuff, everybody yells at me."

That just doesn't feel the same, does it?

Chip Scoggins •

  • wcha final five gophers vs. north dakota Today's championship game: Xxxxxxxx vs. Denver • 7:07 p.m. • Xcel Energy Center • TV: xxxxx
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Chicago 14 2nd Qtr 12:55
Detroit 10
Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 7:00 PM
ULM 40 2nd Half 11:14
Robert Morris 51
Santa Clara 30 2nd Half 13:32
Tennessee 35
Oklahoma 14 1st Half 11:38
Butler 8
Austin Peay 1:00 PM
Princeton 1:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Coastal Carolina 1:30 PM
Kansas 1:30 PM
Rhode Island
Wisconsin 2:30 PM
FIU 2:30 PM
USC Upstate
Long Island 3:00 PM
Stony Brook
San Diego 3:30 PM
Illinois 4:00 PM
Indiana State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Cal State Fullerton 5:00 PM
Wright State
Michigan State 5:30 PM
UCLA 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 7:30 PM
Western Mich
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Rice 8:30 PM
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Ohio U 24 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 21
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Hartford 12 1st Half 11:54
Furman 13
Clemson 4 1st Half 17:18
Ohio State 7
Idaho State 1:00 PM
San Diego State
East Carolina 1:00 PM
(22) Syracuse
Santa Clara 2:30 PM
Texas-El Paso
Florida State 2:30 PM
Wichita State 2:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Wisconsin 3:15 PM
(1) South Carolina
BYU 5:00 PM
Kansas State 5:00 PM
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Illinois 5:00 PM
(9) Kentucky
Central Michigan 7:00 PM
Oklahoma 7:15 PM
South Florida
Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pm




question of the day

Poll: Will the Gophers bring home The Axe?

Weekly Question