(Following is my column, which appeared in the Tues., Oct. 16th edition of the Devils Lake Journal http://www.devilslakejournal.com/ where I am a reporter/writer. For more info about my hometown of Devils Lake, North Dakota, visit http://www.devilslakend.com)
Over the past couple of weekends, UND kicked off its hockey season with some exhibition games, which I was able to enjoy on TV, something I haven’t been able to do in a long time.
I am an avid longtime hockey fan. When I was in high school at the old Central High I went to pretty much every hockey game. I was pals with a few of the players, some of whom had funny nicknames like Stumpy and Fido, although I am not sure if those names were related to hockey (I know at least one of those “boys” reads my column so maybe he can enlighten me!) My gal pals and I also enjoyed the holiday hockey tournaments, when the cute Canadian boys came to town with their long hair and cool Canadian jeans! The annual state high school hockey tournament was, and still is, held around my birthday in late February. My two younger brothers both played hockey – one was a defenseman, the other a goalie. I didn’t get to see them play much because they are quite a bit younger than me. My goalie “baby” brother lives in Wisconsin now with his family, including my nieces now ages 9 and 10, who have been playing hockey since they were around four years old.
It’s great that girls can play hockey now, beginning at a young age and playing all the way through college. If I remember right, back in the 70s girls could play some kinds of broomball recreational hockey, but not the real deal. Since I learned to skate at a very young age and enjoyed it so much, I think I would have liked to have played hockey, or at least given it a shot!
When I was going to college at UND, I remember standing in line in frigid temps to get student tickets for hockey games, and the Fighting Sioux won at least one national championship during my time there. I haven’t been to a Sioux game at home in years, and have never been to the Ralph Engelsted Arena. I have seen the Sioux play – and yes, I can refer to them as the Sioux because that’s what they were called back then – other teams on the road, including the Wisconsin Badgers and the Denver Pioneers. Denver is home to a large number of UND alum, and they have an annual alum hockey watching party at a local sports bar that attracts a sea of fans decked out in green!
During recent years in Denver not many Sioux hockey games were televised especially on my Poor Girl’s cable lineup. Fast Eddie would text me the scores on Friday and Saturday nights during hockey season. It was fun to cheer the Sioux on via the mobile phone network lines. Every once in awhile Fast Eddie would fall asleep before the game was over, and I would have to get the final score the next morning.
So I am thrilled to be here in North Dakota for an entire UND hockey season and am looking forward to attending at least a couple of games in Grand Forks, and watching some of the rest on TV with the parents or my brother and his family. Go Sioux!