April 9, 2010

Sioux name will be retired

It's been a struggle for many years. And there has always been the fear that it might come down to a group of elitists that can tell other what is right for them. That decision came yesterday when the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education ruled that UND must retire the Sioux logo.

Check the article out here.

Essentially, this decision was not left to the majority. Over 2/3rds of the Spirit Lake Tribe voted to keep the nickname and while the leaders of the Standing Rock Tribe have not let a vote happen yet, over 1000 signatures have been collected from members of that tribe in support of the nickname and logo. Combine that with ridiculous support throughout the alumni base and the students. Yet somehow, a few people who might consider the nickname offensive voiced their opinion and since we live in a country where the majority doesn't rule anymore, UND will no longer be called the Fighting Sioux.

This name, this logo, what exactly does it mean? There's a lot of pride in this logo. Students, faculty, and alumni are proud to say they are members of Fighting Sioux nation. It symbolizes what the University of North Dakota is in all sports. Courageous. Tough. Decisive. Teamwork. It is a logo that was voted best in ALL of hockey. Let me repeat that. It was voted best in ALL of hockey. You know who came in 2nd?? The Blackhawks logo!!

This is frustrating beyond belief as a Sioux fan. The team I have been cheering for since I was about 16 will no longer be. And in the end, it boils down to money. UND has been trying to join the Summit League for awhile now, but the Summit League wouldn't consider UND until they had the logo issue "resolved." To me, that always meant that the logo would have to go. Now that it is gone, UND can finally join it's precious Summit League and make some money playing in a D1 conference. The dumb thing is, we all know where the school gets its revenue from athletics. It's not from football, basketball, or baseball. It's hockey.

The good news in the short term is the team will still be the Sioux this next season and the Engelstad arena is not going to undergo any changes, since it is a private facility. The NCAA said as long as the logo issue is there, it won't award any regionals to Grand Forks, but I could care less about that. Keep the arena as is. Keep the Sioux logos everywhere. Let those nickname opponents stare at them every day they drive by the arena.

Sad day for any hockey fan...

April 7, 2010

What do the Badgers need to do?

You take a look at the Frozen Four and aside from RIT, it's a surprisingly sterile Frozen Four. You have three number one teams and a number four team. In 2007, we saw no number one seeds and last year, we saw a three and a four seed. Although I'm guessing very few had this Frozen Four predicted, it makes a lot of sense that the three number one seeds that are in it made it.

Wisconsin is the only WCHA representative that made the dance. Does this Wisconsin team have what it takes to win it all? That's going to depend on a few things:

1. Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending. We know how serious and important net-minding is this time of year. The Badgers have a good goalie, not a great goalie. At this time of year, good is rarely enough to get the job done. The Badgers certainly have the offensive firepower to get in a shootout with any team in the league, but that's not how you want to win at this time of year. Gudmandson is going to have to be outstanding against an RIT team that has won it's last 12 games.

2. Don't overthink it. Wisconsin is the superior team in its matchup against RIT, no question. But to borrow a very old cliche, RIT is playing with house money and really has nothing to lose. People are talking about how RIT is going to be like Bemidji with stars in their eyes and just happy to be there. The problem with that is, RIT coach Wayne Wilson is one step ahead of that. He called up Bemidji St. coach Tom Serratore who said that the game in DC was second fiddle to the team winning the regionals. Wilson posted that message in RIT's dressing room. Wisconsin can beat this RIT team if it doesn't overthink the game.

3. Crack RIT's goalie. Jared DeMichiel has allowed 14 goals in their last 11 games. Granted, a lot of those games came against weak AHA opponents, but you can't overlook the fact that he held Denver to one goal and a New Hampshire team that had just shelled the best goaltender in the nation to two. Wisconsin certainly has the offense to do this, but they need to get the lead early. Crack DeMichiel early and the rest of the pieces should fall into place.

It should be a great Frozen Four. You have high-quality teams in place and with Miami of Ohio fighting for what should have been theirs last year, it's going to be exciting.