Old Ralph Demolition To Begin Monday

The demolition of the old Ralph Engelstad Arena, in order to make way for a new indoor practice facility, will begin Monday.

The first game in the Ralph was a 5-4 UND victory over Colorado College in 1972. The final game played in the old Ralph was an exhibition game against Manitoba in September of 2001. UND won that game 4-1, which featured an Andy Schneider fight.

Share your favorite memories of the old Ralph in the comment section.

63 Responses

      1. Roger Federer

        Yeah that’s what I thought.

        You wouldn’t think they would need anything more than the Ralph for hockey.

  1. SM

    Fond memories include every game I saw as a kid in the Old “Ralph” before it was known as “Ralph”. The highlight games were the magical 1987 Championship season with “Hrkac Circus” and company. What a team that was!!! The building was electric with excitement during that season. Sioux Yeah Yeah!!!

  2. Nodak Fan

    One of my favorite moments came in the 1986-87 season against Michigan Tech. It was Jan. 23 when Bob Joyce scored six goals. The last few minutes of the game the team was setting him up several times to get No. 6. I felt sorry for Tech because everybody in the building knew what was going on and they still couldn’t stop it from happening. When Joyce did score it, the crowd littered the ice with those familiar white and green plastic cups they sold at the concessions. The ‘Hrkac Circus’ line seemed to score at will.

  3. Nick

    It would be nice to see the Herald run any old photos you may have on file. I e-mailed the athletic department and suggested that it might be nice to shoot a little more video in there before it’s gone forever, but I got no response. I’m sure there are quite a few people who’ve been to a lot of games there but never got to see the Sioux locker room, Zamboni area, etc.

  4. Brandon

    Watching Mike Commodore pummel a badger right in front of me. I was a teenager on the glass and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

  5. Guest

    Lots of great memories of Ralph Engelstad Arena from my time at UND from 1994-1999 (yeah, I took my time to graduate).

    My favorite memory from 1998 or 1999 when the Sioux played the Gophers. The Gophers, I believe, had a three goal lead in the third and the Sioux came back and won it. Weren’t many there that day (was a freezing cold day, perhaps also spring break?), but those of who were were about as loud as we could be. If someone remembers that game better than I do, please fill in some of the details.

    Then there are the little details — waiting in line for hours to get into Gopher games, using someone else’s ID to sneak friends from off-campus in, every seat seeming to be right on the ice. Very good times.

  6. Brad Olson

    While coming home from playing a late night intramural bb game at the Fieldhouse my friends and I noticed people already lining up to get hockey tickets at the Winter Sports Building. These were given out at 8:00 a.m. several days before the games back in 1981-82 season for free. We went over got in line and for the next 11 hours stood freezing our butts off with nothing to eat or drink. No one had chairs so we stood the whole time. I believe the series was against the Badgers. It might have been during that series that someone tied a badger to the rafters and when the Sioux scored someone pulled a cord that left the badger dangling. The funny part was it blocked the TV camera’s view from the press box. I still remember the look of disgust on broadcaster Jim Adelson’s face.
    Other great memory was always seeing Virg Foss ascend the steps to the press box carrying his portable typewriter and going to work.

    1. Big D

      Also waited all night for tickets in the middle of January. It was for the Badgers series. Long line outside of the old Ralph…..someone started a fire in an old barrel. My roommate and I brought a cooler full of beer. Too cold to drink it! And people gave us crap for needing a cooler in the middle of January!

  7. Sioux in the Cities

    Going to games with the Sioux Kids Club passes and wandering around finding open seats. One game, finding seats right behind the net and my friend and I starting the wave that the entire arena joined in on. Such a fun, cool place. Nothing beats that atmosphere.

  8. foreversioux

    Jawing at Medo Martinello over the boards and his chatter back. This was a man that could talk down a heckler with the best of them. Also, tossing sieves at Curtis Joseph and his swatting them away like it was batting practice. Tons of memories from the old Ralph.

  9. Sieve

    For some reason, nothing brings back memories of the old Ralph more than remembering the PA announcer introducing “David Hooooooogsteeeeeen.”

  10. Ted

    I wonder how many of us are still around that have seen games at the barn, the old Ralph, and the new Ralph?

    1. John

      I went to games in all three. In the barn sometimes it was colder inside than outside and the barn used to empty between periods so people could warm up, start their cars and have a snort from a thermos or flask. Chicken wire was the only thing between you and the game if you were sitting along the boards. Snow used to leak in the roof and build snow drifts in the rafters that would sometime fall on the fans. You could see your breath. It was great fun! During the week they had public skating at the barn in the evenings. I used to study for a while and then go over from Leonard Hall and skate for a break. I loved the old barn. I like the first Ralph too and I have season tickets at the new Ralph even though I live in Minneapolis. The best hockey program in the country! The NHL is loaded with great players that I’ve watched at UND.

  11. Keep Fighting Sioux

    We bought some of the old seats from The Ralph to convert to personal seating for watching Sioux Hockey at home.

  12. Boston Strong

    Wow…this story has really brought to the surface several memories from the Winter Sports Center (“Old Ralph”):
    1. Season tickets and attending games with my grandpa and brother during the “lean years” with coach Rube Bjorkman & AD Carl Miller. Allan Hangsleben, Pete Waselovich, Mihulka, Taylor…Also Dennis Gunderson on the Zamboni!
    2. Seeing live Gophers on the ice during the Minnesota’s series’, dead badger’s on the ice during the Wisconsin series’, etc.
    3. The start of the Gino years… Kevin Maxwell, Troy Murray, Chorney, Eades, Burggraf’s, Christian, Ludwig, Walker, Casey, Iwabuchi, etc…
    4. Sprinkled in there were the Red River – Central crosstown rivalry games.
    5. Also the ND high school state tourney including the 1977 8 OT tie between RR & Central.
    6. Able to attend hockey camp in the summer and then play in the crosstown rivalry games and two ND High School State Tourney’s. The highlight was being able to dress in the Sioux locker room.
    7. Moved away and the memories still linger….
    Thanks for sparking the trip down memory lane.

  13. Big D

    How about members of the FARCE pulling one of the Gophers over the plexiglass before the game even started. Entering the old Ralph, the FARCE was already there, chanting and yelling at the gophs. One of their players, can’t remember who, went over to the plexiglass, leaned against it with his back to the FARCE. Several members of the FARCE, decked out in referee stripes and yellow hard hats, reached over the glass and started to pull this gopher over. Immediately the rest of the gopher team came to his rescue, standing on the boards, hitting the UND crowd with their sticks. Total bedlam, don’t even think that the Sioux players were on the ice yet. If I remember right, I think the crowd kept the gopher player’s stick.

  14. Big D

    Also, back in the early 80’s, late 70’s, both of the Wisconsin goalies had their masks painted like members of KISS. Can’t remember their names, hopefully someone else can. Remember the crowd back in one of the corners just on them mercilessly during warmups. They started deflecting pucks right up into that corner (days before nets behind the goals), scattering the crowd. Too much fun!

    1. OETKB

      Yes, I remember the goalie lofting pucks way up into the top corner of the arena. Crowd was booing him pretty loudly, but he kept on doing it. Very memorable.

  15. Big D

    And who can forget the BIG Wisconsin/Sioux brawl BEFORE the game back in the late 70’s????? Used to be that both teams skated in a big circle around the rink during warmups TOGETHER, all the way around the rink. Severall players started jawing and before you knew it, there was a free-for-all. Think this had something to do with teams canceling that practice. Game started way late with whatever players left over.

    1. Tim

      I was at that game. I thought the fight was pay back for 20 stitches to Rick Zappernick’s (sp?) face at the game in Madison (no penalty called). I Thought Scott Marvin ended up with the person doing the slashing….
      There was no love lost between the two teams.
      Entire team was fighting, goalies included.

      1. TK

        January 1977 – Came to UND from western ND to start my first semseter at UND- I heard about the Wisconsin series that happened before the Christmas break and the non penalty incident. I moved into Walsh Hall which was the hockey players dorm. The talk in Walsh and maybe all over campus was just wait until Wisconsin gets here and they’ll get what’s coming to em. We got to the game “early” to get in line and when we finally got in the place was packed – walking with the masses down the isle we hear a huge cheer and I get a glimpse of the ice with the Sioux starting to skate followed by boos as Wisconsin enters the arena – the crowd blocks my view of the ice and and a roar nealy lifts the roof off the place – I push my way through to get a view of the ice and both teams going at it – I don’t think Wisconsin got in even one lap before they got hit. If memory serves me right: the zamboni driver tried to go on the ice – not with the Zamboni although probably wouldn’t have stopped it either – and got decked. Carl Miller got on the loud speaker and demaned repeatedly that both teams return to the locker room – didn’t happen. But the most peculiar sight was one Sioux skater and one Wisconsin skater standing side by side, leaning on their sticks and chatting while the mayhem issued around them. That was my introduction to Siuox hockey and a story that I have told numerous time over the years. I also stayed one semester in East Hall which went the way of the dodo bird a long time ago – East was practically at the front door to the Old Ralph although that wasn’t much of a help because you still had to stand in line to get into the games.

  16. Big D

    Chickens, huge inflatable pucks, huge sieves, badgers, gophers all being thrown on the ice, all the time. Remember watching one game, there appeared to be some fishing line hanging down from the rafters. Several people noticed it. We scored a huge 1st period goal against Wisconsin and someone yanked on the line and a dead badger, hangman’s noose around his neck, came swinging down from the rafters. Right in front of the TV camera.

    1. John

      I was watching on TV and couldn’t believe it when that badger swing down in front of the camera. I just howled!

  17. Sioux Dat Nation

    My favorite memory was anytime we were able to raise a national championship banner to the rafters. I miss those days :^(

  18. Sioux Fan

    Dave Hakstol vs Ben Hankinson at center ice. Hakstol had that jersey over his head in 2 seconds and took him to the woodshed! Will never forget that one!

  19. dj in egf

    Ted, right there with you. Kind of makes me feel old remembering going to the old barn, the first years in the new building and now still being in awe everytime I go to a game at the new Ralph. Sad to see the building go, but it’s going to pay dividends down the road for football and other sports. Go Sioux.

  20. Lance Gullickson

    try to find another ncaa barn that can say the same.
    i think it’s a crime that it hasn’t been maintained as a hockey facility.

  21. Mike

    My first game as a child…Sioux were down 5-2 early in the third, I was whining and wanted to leave, my dad said it wasn’t over, and boy was he right…they rallied for a 7-6 OT win…that day I became a die-hard fan and will never leave a game early.

    Other fond memories include The Teeder Wynne Show, UND Hockey Camp, Hooooogsteen, waiting outside the stairwell to get a stick after the game (I have a Toby Kvalevog stick in my living room) and the awesome atmosphere of State Hockey tournaments which included the Troops of Grafton and the hatred I felt for Grant Potulny.

  22. Missin those banners

    I was at the opening night and series with Cc. Don’t remember if it washed opening night or the next but Doug Palazzari (CC) shot a puck and it was deflected into the lights. They were fluorescent and a number of the broke…stopped the game for some time. I also attended the first game at the new Ralph. We won’t talk about that one, but in retrospect it was prophetic.

  23. John

    One of my favorite players in the first Ralph as Kevin Taylor (#7). I was standing in front of his picture at the World Juniors when I looked up and here comes Kevin Taylor!! He was scouting for the NHL. We had a nice chat and I told him how much fun he was to watch when he played for the Sioux. He said thanks and seemed tickled that someone remembered him.

  24. WWPKD

    In no particular order,
    Summer skates when you can’t see the other end because of the fog, Hooooogsteen glass-jump goal celebration, GFRR soph Ryan Moore putting the dagger into Aaron Walski and FN in 5th OT of 2001 State Championship, $1.50 nachos, drunk students holding someone upside-down with his legs spread to form the Y during the YMCA song, Dipping Dots emerging as the “ice cream of the future,” getting abused by the Supras in the ICE Breaker tournament, and thinking “man, I cant wait till I win a state title for Red River with all my friends and we all go on to play for Dean Blais.” Turns out it doesn’t work out that way like I thought.

    1. Sioux Fan3.0

      Well said! Minot High and the West Regions only state title with Tom Phillion (Sioux forward) in 93 also stands out!

      1. Viking1

        BTW, Bismarck High also won a State title, with a young Mike Peluso and several other future division 1 players…

          1. Viking1

            Ooops; stand corrected. 8-7 championship game loss to Minot in a classic defensive struggle. Time fogs the memory a bit…. 🙂

  25. Tom A

    Wow…..hundreds of memories….the old barn when we used to go out during period breaks and shovel the rink…Frenchy LaCrosse – who had Frenchy’s Tavern was a WCHA ref and he got beaned one night with a whiskey bottle thrown from the stands…the Ralph and the 1987 team was probably the best..Rube Bjorkman walking the boards as a coach during the lean years….standing in line to get tickets…on and on…that building will be missed…

  26. suture

    I remember players like Dean Daschisyn (sp?), Craig Ludwig and a couple other big boys getting into a number of fights. Dean Daschisyn got in a fight against Denver one year. They both went into the box where Dean went after this DU player and made a mess of his face. It was just crazy and the place went nuts. I think Dean got an extra 2 minutes for that incident……how times have changed….lol.

  27. John

    1987 team playing against the US Olympic team. My being a brilliant hockey mind at the ripe age of 7 TOLD my uncle that these guys have no chance against the Sioux.. 13-2 I believe was the final score..

    1. Sioux Fan

      I bumped into Doug on a flight a few years ago. He is doing well and was surprised that someone remembered him from is Fighting Sioux days. I said are you nuts….any Sioux fan that watched you back then remembers you.

  28. Big D

    Remember a great fight during the Craig Ludwig days. Sioux were playing Michigan State, I think. 5 on 5 fight, spread out all over the ice. Ludwig dispatched his opponent right away and then proceeded to sit on his back so that he couldn’t get up. Craig then sat and watched the rest of the battles. Every once in awhile, the player that he was sitting on would raise his head a bit. Craig would swat it back down and then go back to watching. This went on for at least 5 minutes. Craig had the best seat in the house!

  29. Ken

    How about the 1980 Olympic team playing an exhibition there, I believe against the Atlanta Flames? The Farce and Kermit. What about “who stole Kermit”? “Kermit’s luck guides our puck”. Let’s go Sioux from section Q. Fight like hell from section L. The haze in the concourse from all the smokers. The completely frosted doors from the bitter-ass ND winters.

  30. Sioux Fan3.0

    Best Memory: Growing up watching the Sioux and meeting the team in the locker room after a UND/Gopher game at the old’ Ralph. Was only 12 and got a Karl Goehring stick and it is sooooooooooo priceless! I will definitely shed a tear when they close the doors for good graduated from und and plan on sending the kido’s there as well. Green and White for Life

  31. Rob

    Great memories being a kid in the late ’70s early ’80s going to games with my Dad. Remember walking around the rink via the concourse and walking through the haze of smoke. Dusty Carroll, Bill Stankoven, Howard Walker, Jon Casey, Darren Jensen, Sioux pep band, Rick Zapernick, Ludwig, Archibald, Brennan, Nick Naumenko rushes (’90s), Thursday opening of the High School tournament, intramural games, park board games, walking up to the rink freezing are butts off though with great anticipation of the game ahead! Great times, great memories!

  32. Hayduke

    I remember the evil grin on Cary Eades face before he’d check a player on the boards near where the Farce sat. Why? I think he knew we would lock our feet on the boards and hold them up for him…keep those springs allowing the boards to move one inch. Jeez, we were mean back then!

  33. The UND Pilots

    Best memory has to be Hakstol vs. Hankinson at center ice, in ’89 or ’90 . If I remember correctly, Hankinson got his gopher butt handed to him.

  34. Joe

    Too many memories from watching games there from the 70s up to the last one against Manitoba in 2001 to pick out one. What a great place to watch a hockey game. One thing in particular though, whenever I skated there and walked onto the ice from behind the home bench, I would get goosebumps. Every time. Something about the way you walked up a couple steps and went through the steel gates and into that great arena where so much hockey history had taken place. I miss just being in that building most of all.

  35. Big D

    How about Howard Walker pinning one of the Broten brothers in the corner and telling him “Stay out of my corner or I’ll kill you. And tell your brother too!” Or at least something to that affect. Changed the complexion of the game, gophers quit chasing pucks. This was back when Herb was coaching the gophs. We also had quite the cheer for Herb. Imagine, all 500+ fans yelling “Heeerrrrb, Heeeerrrrb, Heerrrrbbbbb SUCKS! He loved it! Made him strut and preen even more.

  36. Coooop

    1976-1979; Starting the students SIOUX Fan Club with freshman player Erwin Martens giving us ideas. Cowbells and I ran the UND banner around the arena after the SIOUX scored a goal. I believe John Blum started the Farce. This history of the Fighting Sioux should be captured in print, in spite of the NCAA. We still have the First Amendment; freedom of speech and the press. Why not a Fighting Sioux museum. If UND wont host the museum then bet the Spirit Lake reservation would. I still have Fighting Sioux t-shirts from 1976-1979 that I like to donate, but want to make sure the museum site is worthy of them. Id donated programs in 1995 to the Chester Fritz archives. They should go with these. Email charliefunny@hotmail.com if you have better ideas. GO UND FIGHTING SIOUUUX. PS. Gr8 story about Mark Lamberts cheap shot on Rick Zaparnuik after UND was beating the Gophs on a Saturday night game; Game misconduct with 4 minutes left. Big whoop. Lambert sassed the crowd then in the penalty box a long armed fan hit him on the helmet. Pete Coe of the Campus Police never caught that fan. Theres more to Lamberts reaction. ROFLMAO.

  37. Viking1

    Playing in the North Dakota State High School tourney, and then taking the ice against that monstrous 81-82 NCAA champion Sioux team are memories I will never forget. Always tough to see an iconic landmark pass into the sunset….:-(

  38. Taz Boy

    Watching that ’87 team put on a show every night. Great seats as part of the pep band. Coach Gasparini let me keep my drums in a storage room in the Ralph during the season. Student section and the Farce. Wisco fans. Rubber chicken taunting the goalie. The “C’mon Sioux!” Lady. Crappy hot dogs. And of course, “The Comeback” game against the Gophers feb ’98. I was telling the wife we needed to get on the road early 3rd period, and god bless her for convincing me to stay. Moments later, the onslaught began and for the next 12 mins it was the greatest spectacle on ice.

  39. Dick Bluhm

    Coooop….close, but not John Blum. It was me, Dick Bluhm, from Smith Hall that started the Farce! Winter of 78. We bought about 55 helmets at Radio Shack in Fargo. We would be the first ones in and takeover the whole section next to the opposing penalty box and give them endless crap! Multiple flashbulbs, forwarding mail. We even learned the names of their girlfriends or sisters! Road trips were hilarious! We were in Duluth and Reagan was speaking next to the arena. A bunch of anti Shah of Iran protesters were there and thought we were some elite commando unit!!! Made national news. Had a 20 year reunion back in 98 or 99. BEST time of my life and the student president held our old seats for both nights! Classy move. The Farce was an absolute BLAST!!!

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