UND legend John Noah dies

John Noah, UND’s first All-American hockey player and first Olympic medalist, died this morning in Fargo.

Noah played at UND from 1948-51, joining the team during the program’s second-ever season. Noah, who was born in Crookston, won a silver medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Oslo, Norway.

Noah had stayed connected to the North Dakota hockey program throughout the years. Here’s a story that Virg Foss wrote on Noah in 2003:


By Virg Foss
Herald Staff Writer

He was UND’s first All-America hockey player. He played for the United States in the 1952 Olympics, helping his country win a silver medal.

And he played for the Crookston Pirates, an amateur hockey team that won the 1951 national amateur championship with a win over the hockey-playing New York Mets.

Tremendous accomplishments, all. “Not bad for a little Lebanese kid from Crookston,” Noah said.

From the days when Noah lived in UND’s football stadium and played on a hockey team that wore old Sioux football jerseys, he’s seen UND hockey go from the bottom to the top.

He played on the 1948 Sioux team that marked the school’s entrance into major hockey with a victory over Michigan – with Noah scoring the winning goal in a 6-5 triumph in Ann Arbor.

His pride in UND athletics has carried over.

“I’m very proud because of the heritage that has been developed over the years,” Noah said, “and the fact I was a part of that.”

Today, UND plays in a $100 million-plus arena built by a former Sioux teammate of Noah, Ralph Engelstad. It’s a far cry from the days when Noah and Engelstad and hundreds of others played in “The Barn,” UND’s unheated facility.

“Those were good old days in the barn,” Noah said. “I wouldn’t give them up for anything. But at the same time, I feel good about the developments that have taken place at UND.”

In a sense, sports opened the world to Noah.

He traveled to such countries as England, France and Switzerland with the U.S. National hockey team and he played in the 1952 Olympics in Oslo, Norway, where only a loss to Sweden kept the United States from a gold medal.

Times were far different at UND when Noah attended school.

“Living in the old football stadium was like a rat hole, but a lot of guys came out of there to go on to outstanding careers in medicine and law,” Noah recalls. “It was a lot of fun. You had all those veterans coming back to school after the Korean War and the card games would go on into the wee hours of the morning.”

Noah originally went to St. John’s in Collegeville, Minn., to play football. But he returned to Crookston after a month and stayed out of college for a year.

“I played hockey in the States Dominion League that year away from school, and I remember hitchhiking over to UND and talking to them,” Noah said. “They told me that if I was going to go back to school, I should think about UND.”

He did. In his senior year, he became the school’s first All-America player in hockey.

He can’t pinpoint any honor or feat that stands out No. 1 to him.

“To me, it’s been a honor all the way for the son of a mother who came through Ellis Island on her own from Lebanon to have had the opportunities I’ve had in life,” Noah said.

“We live in a great country,” he said. “You can’t beat the United States.”

Regional bids for 2017 are in

Bids for the 2017 NCAA men’s ice hockey regionals have been submitted and a decision is expected to soon be made on the hosts.

UND submitted a bid for Scheels Arena in Fargo, which hosted last year’s West Regional. UND did not bother submitting a bid for Ralph Engelstad Arena, as it has no chance of winning and would be a waste of time and resources. The NCAA is still going for non-home venues.

The Ralph has helped put together the Scheels bids, though.

Who might Scheels Arena be up against to host the 2017 West Regional? Here are three guesses:

  1. Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul. The X has been a staple of West Regionals with Minnesota frequently submitting bids to play there. It has been of huge help to the Gophers, who have gone to the Frozen Four every year they’ve played in a Twin Cities regional under the current format and have gone to no Frozen Fours when they’ve had to travel.
  2. CenturyLink Center, Omaha. Now that the Mavs have moved their home site to Baxter Arena, it opens up the CenturyLink Center as a viable option. It’s certainly large enough.
  3. Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls. Yeah, this one is outside the box, and I’m not sure who would bid on it, but it’s a brand new hockey arena within driving distance of several NCAA schools — and its assistant GM/booking is Chris Semrau, who knows a thing or two about booking hockey events. He did it for a long time at The Ralph.

Again, I want to point out that I don’t know if any of these venues actually did submit a bid, these are just possibilities that I’m throwing out there.

What’s interesting to me is that the NCAA only took bids for 2017. It didn’t collect bids for 2018 to catch up to where Frozen Fours are booked out to (the next three are in Tampa, Chicago and St. Paul).

The NCAA originally didn’t award regional bids for 2017 and 2018 a couple years ago because it was aware that there could possibly be a chance in the way that regionals are held.

But after last year’s resounding 52-6-1 vote to keep the regionals the same, it’s doubtful that change is on the table for 2018.

When the NCAA does start accepting bids for 2018, expect UND to submit another bid for Scheels Arena with the backing of The Ralph.

Colby’s highlight reel goal

Former UND standout Colby Genoway scored quite a shootout goal in the KHL yesterday.

Check it out here.

After playing the last five seasons in Switzerland, Genoway signed a one-year deal with Medvescak Zagreb in the KHL. He’ll be playing int he same league as his brother, Chay, who is with Spartak Moskva.

Colby played at UND from 2002-05. He was the leading scorer on the 2004-05 team that played for the national championship.

How quickly will UMD series sell out?

UND fans planning to attend the road series in Duluth could run into problems getting tickets, depending on how quickly Bulldog fans snatch them up.

Single-game tickets go on sale in three weeks for Minnesota Duluth home games, but it will NOT include the UND and Minnesota series.

Tickets for UND’s series at AmsOil Arena (Dec. 11-12) won’t go on sale until Nov. 3. The first hour they are on sale will be in-person only at UMD and DECC ticket offices. An hour into the sale, they will open up for online and phone purchases.

The same policy exists for the Gopher series.

UND is 4-1 at AmsOil Arena since its opening on Dec. 30, 2010, and all five games have been sellouts.

UND fans very well may have plenty of chances to buy tickets for the Minnesota Duluth series. Depending on how many tickets are available, it could be hard to sell out via in person sales only in an hour.

Policies aimed to bring in the home fans and keep out UND fans are becoming common in the NCHC as over half of UND’s league opponents have instituted new policies for the North Dakota series in the last few seasons.

Denver (two years ago) and St. Cloud State (this year) forced fans to purchase flex packs — tickets to other games — in order to get single-game tickets to the UND series. Omaha didn’t allow fans to purchase single-game tickets online and quickly sold out. Denver has since removed the flex-pack policy.

They’re back



Another sign that the season is getting close: The UND men’s hockey team is back practicing at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

No, these aren’t full practices, as the NCAA doesn’t allow coaches to join the team for another two weeks, but everyone was participating in a captain’s skate this afternoon at The Ralph.

It’s tough to judge anything from one captain’s practice, but I do feel comfortable with one assessment: Paul LaDue is a good hockey player. Groundbreaking, I know.

The players will continue skating on their own until practices start up. Then, they will prepare for the first exhibition game on Oct. 3 against the University of Manitoba Bisons.

On the other side of the rink, Ralph Engelstad Arena has been putting up more women’s hockey photos around their locker room area, including a big team photo of the program’s first-ever squad in 2002-03. There’s also a mural of UND scoring against BU in the Lamoureux twins’ first-ever game at North Dakota.

I’m starting to compile lists for our preseason preview. One of them that’s extremely difficult: top 10 NCHC recruits. Eight of the top 14 scorers in the USHL last season — and four of the top five defenseman scorers — are headed to the NCHC this season. And that doesn’t even include NAHL goalie of the year Matej Tomek and NTDP standouts Jack Roslovic and Troy Terry. Paring that list down will be quite a task.

There are still some former players floating around the rink right now. They will soon be reporting to camps, though.



Will extra benefits help in CHL battle?

Last week, UND confirmed that it is paying its hockey players $3,400 per year (for full-ride scholarship athletes) under a new NCAA rule that allows the extra money.

It also started cooking its players meals every afternoon under new NCAA legislation that allowed it.

Will these extra benefits help UND in the battle against the CHL for top-end players?

Only time will tell.

I think most players have generally made their decision on factors other than money, but giving an athlete more than $3,000 — in addition to the scholarship — has to be attractive to the players.

UND and Colorado College are the two NCHC schools who have publicly stated that they will be paying their athletes via the new NCAA rule. Others in the NCHC are expected to follow.

The Herald will have a full story on this soon. In the meantime, do you think these stipends can help in the CHL battle?

Grimaldi pitches college hockey


College Hockey Inc., held a showcase for prospective players in southern California on Thursday, and Rocco Grimaldi stopped by to give his thoughts on playing college hockey.

He also told a little-known story.

Grimaldi said he almost left the NTDP early to go play major juniors.

“It didn’t work out and I’m glad it didn’t,” he said. “Going to North Dakota was one of the best things that’s happened in my life.”

Grimaldi touted not only the thrills on the ice, but also how much he enjoyed off the ice stuff as well. He noted that he met his fiance at UND and that the groomsmen who will be standing next to him at the wedding are people he met at UND as well.

“I went to North Dakota and I believe it’s the best school in the world and I’m always going to try to sell the program,” he said.

But Grimaldi also sold college hockey as a whole. He said that once you go to a school, you are always part of that school.

“For me, I’m a Fighting Sioux alum,” he said. “I’ll always be a Fighting Sioux. You are always welcomed back. I’ve been to North Dakota three times already this summer to visit guys.

“You build relationships with friends, teammates and students, wherever you go to school. You have a family there with all the different people you meet, especially the guys you play with and the freshmen you go in with. You guys go in together and you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re not the smartest guys. I was lucky to go in with a great class. There were 10 of us. I made special bonds with everybody, but those 10 guys in particular. I’ll always be alumni there.”

Grimaldi was at UND for three years, but took full-time online classes to graduate from UND in the spring. He returned to college to walk for his graduation ceremony.

He said the hockey was second-to-none, too.

“A lot of major junior guys tell me today that they wish they would have gone to college,” Grimaldi said. “You’ll never get that atmosphere again.

“You’ll never be able to play in front of students like college. It’s the greatest atmosphere you’ll ever play at.”

At the end of Grimaldi’s presentation, he asked the players if they had any questions. One asked about travel.

Grimaldi laughed.

“At North Dakota, we’re spoiled. We had charters everywhere, and when you get on the plane, there is a basket on your seat with a meal in it.”

St. Cloud State the latest to adopt ticket policy

Add another school to the list of those trying to keep UND fans out.

St. Cloud State has posted on its ticket site that it will not allow fans to buy single-game tickets to the UND series until the day of the game. Instead, fans will have to buy a flex-pack.

Details of the flex-pack are not listed on the website, but presumably fans will have to buy tickets to a few other non-UND games to get UND-SCSU tickets prior to game day.

It appears that group tickets of 20-plus would be an option. Waiting until game day could work since St. Cloud State usually does not sell out its home games.

The UND series is St. Cloud’s only home series of the year where single-game tickets are not available.

St. Cloud State is the third school in the last couple of years to put up roadblocks to UND fans for buying tickets. Denver tried a similar move two years ago.

Omaha barred fans from buying single-game tickets online earlier this month, forcing fans to get them in person or try by phone. Several UND fans told the Herald that they couldn’t get through on the phone. Both games sold out within 90 minutes.

NCHC adopts 3-on-3 OT

The NCHC announced Monday that it will go to 3-on-3 overtimes prior to a revamped shootout this season. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Sixty-minute regulation.
2. Five-minute, 5-on-5 overtime.

If there’s a winner in either regulation or the 5-on-5 overtime, the game will officially go down as a win or a loss for the teams involved. In conference standings, the winner will get 3 points, the loser 0 points.

If teams are still tied after the 5-on-5 overtime:

3. Five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime.
4. Sudden-death shootout.

Games decided in the 3-on-3 or in the shootout will officially be counted as ties. The winner, however will get an extra point in the NCHC standings. So, a team that wins in the 3-on-3 or the shootout will get 2 points in the standings, the loser 1 point.

Other key points in the legislation:

  • Statistics accumulated in the 3-on-3 will NOT count.
  • If someone gets a game misconduct or a game disqualification during the 3-on-3, that WILL count. It is the exception.
  • The shootout will be moved to sudden death this year instead of the three-man event.
  • The coaches wanted the 3-on-3 overtime to cut down on shootouts.
  • If there’s a penalty during the 3-on-3 overtime, it will go to 4-on-3 (or 5-on-3 if it’s a two-man advantage). When the person comes out of the penalty box, it will stay 4-on-4 until the whistle.
  • The 3-on-3/sudden death shootout will occur only in NCHC conference games. However, if both teams agree in a nonconference game to try it out for fun, they can do it.

The NCHC will be the first college hockey conference to experiment with the 3-on-3 overtime. The NCHC and the Big Ten are the only leagues to hold shootouts.

I wonder why the WCHA isn’t trying any of this.

Some WCHA teams are looking for extra revenue sources any way possible. Some are hurting attendance-wise. Adding a little excitement to the end of tie games with 3-on-3 action or a shootout could help get some new fans in the building or help fans enjoy their experience more when they do attend.

Are they gimmicks? Sure.

Do they add excitement: Yes.

Do the results of the gimmicks have heavy consequences in teams’ seasons? No.

So why not try it?

Locals, UND players make USA-CAN rosters

Lexi Shaw was the backup goaltender for UND last season. That means UND may have some depth at that spot.

On Monday, Shaw was announced as one of three UND players to make the U.S. roster for the upcoming U22 series against Canada.

Forward Amy Menke and defenseman Gracen Hirschy also made the roster, a landmark achievement for each player.

The selections were largely based on their performance at camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., which bodes well for UND’s upcoming season. That’s especially true at the goaltender position.

It is unclear whether Patty Kazmaier Award finalist Shelby Amsley-Benzie will be able to start the season on time after having offseason surgery. UND will be more than comfortable letting Shaw take the net at the start of the season, though.

Two other current UND players made the U22 squad for Canada in forward Becca Kohler and defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak. Kohler has consistently developed year-to-year at UND and could be a top scorer this season.

There are also several notables to make the U18 roster for the U.S.-Canada series as well.

UND defenseman recruit Abigail Stanley is on the team, along with East Grand Forks’ Mak Langei, Thief River Falls’ Patti Marshall (Minnesota commit) and Fargo’s Alex Woken (Minnesota commit).

UND commit Ryleigh Houston made Team Canada for the U18 series.

The U22 series will be played Wednesday through Saturday in Lake Placid. The U18s series will be held Thursday through Saturday.