Sports Illustrated writes about the UND experience

Sports Illustrated writer Peter Richmond traveled to Ralph Engelstad Arena a couple of weeks ago to do a piece on the UND hockey experience.

He did a great job capturing it (and from a writer’s perspective, he’s obviously very talented).

What kind of idiot would wait until game day to book a hotel room on a road trip to Grand Forks, N.D., on a winter Saturday night? An idiot from a blue state who’d always thought that college hockey was played in tournaments with cute little names like Beanpot. An East Coast-centric fan in search of the best hockey being played during Bettman’s Follies who figured that if it was being played in a town in the state that time forgot, there would be an empty bed somewhere. This is, after all, the third-largest city in a state whose entire population is fewer than San Antonio.
“Sorry, we’re full,” the guy on the phone from Motel 6 or 8 or 11 said as I drove into town after the drive up from Minneapolis. I’d already tried all the chains I’d heard of, and some I hadn’t, like the “C’mon Inn” whose front desk guy gave me the bad news: There was no room to come on into.
“Got any recommendations?” I said, trying to keep the tone of desperation out of my voice.
“Not really, I mean, y’know … hockey,” he said, as if I were probably from an alien star system whose ignorance of the local seasonal mania deserved the benefit of the doubt.

Read the full story here.

7 thoughts on “Sports Illustrated writes about the UND experience

  1. It was a very entertaining article. Is it really true though that hotels fill up on just a normal weekend of hockey? I am surprised by that if true. You would think the vast majority of the 11,000+ would live right in the GF area. It would be interesting to see the typical % breakdown of fans from GF, local small town fans nearby, Fargo-ites, etc.

    • I live in St Paul but am from Grand Forks. If I am going down to visit on a weekend when the Sioux are in town, I have to make absolutely sure I book far in advance. Otherwise it’s very hard to find a room in the city.

    • Trust me, as someone who had family try to visit me on a hockey weekend without having a hotel ahead of time they are super full every weekend. It took over two hours on the phone and driving around to find a room.

  2. No proof of this, but I think the Saturday games have higher percentage of out-of-towners, which is probably why attendance is slightly higher on Saturdays as well.

  3. It always amazes me how many new hotels are popping up every time I come back to visit. Literally seems to be a new every three or four months.

  4. Thought it was a pretty good article but I really hate when reporters throw in “facts” that are completely base. The Ralph did not cost “more than a quarter-billion” to construct. For that coin you could build TWO “Ralphs” and propbably a “Betty”. Sensionalized journalizm or what?

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