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.