The University of North Dakota opened voting Monday for a new nickname, with the ballot offering five choices to replace Fighting Sioux, and former UND hockey star Zach Parise has weighed in.
That nickname was erased in 2012 under pressure from the NCAA because of its potential to offend American Indians. New nickname options are: Fighting Hawks, Nodaks, North Stars, Roughriders and Sundogs.
Parise, a member of the Minnesota Wild who proudly wore the Sioux name on his jersey, said Monday that he doesn’t care for any of the names on the ballot.
Those eligible to vote anonymously online are students, alumni, university faculty and staff, donors and season-ticket holders.
If no name wins a majority of votes, a runoff will be held with the top two choices.
Opposition to scrapping Fighting Sioux has taken various forms, including a lawsuit filed in state court last week (a judge Monday denied the request for a temporary injunction), but all have failed to block this week’s vote.
The process of replacing Fighting Sioux began last year, with the naming of a task force to devise a plan. Out of that, another panel was formed, and the public swamped its members this past spring with thousands of suggestions, ranging from sarcastic to silly to serious.
Out of that process came five finalists.
A strong push was made for the team to remain nickname-free, but UND President Robert Kelley nixed that notion.