Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Boys are Back in Town

The college kids have moved back in their dorms and apartments thus creating a “rush hour” between the hours of 3 and 6. You have to look both ways multiple times before turning, because there could be a scholar crossing the street that meets your blind spot. Campus rules; pedestrians always have the right-a-way, whether they look or not!

There has been more traffic in the arena as well. Our employee gym hours are now graced by student athletes from time to time. And if you notice some distant thumping and back beat while walking on the north end of the building, you’ll realize that the team is beneath you in the gym doing their strength training, getting out of “summer mode” and preparing for the upcoming season.

Just off a successful weekend where the Ralph hosted Sioux Fan Fest; a chance for the general public to meet the members of the 2009-10 Men’s and Women’s hockey teams as well as Head Coaches Dave Hakstol and Brian Idalski. This event also showcased both teams’ new jerseys. The women’s team has three different jerseys including a retro-style green sweater with script “North Dakota” across the chest. The men’s team, also donning new jerseys, this year will include “Reebok” on the neckline as they are the new suppliers of jerseys and other equipment for the men’s team. While the main look of the jerseys is similar to those of the past Nike ones, the noticeable change is the horizontal stripe across the bottom in lieu of the diagonal ones from years past.

In its introductory year, Sioux Fan Fest was a fun event for the fans and student athletes alike. Autograph, photo, and Q&A stations were set-up to give the fans, both young and old, a treat to whet their appetite in anticipation of the upcoming season. Following a successful ’08-’09 year, the WCHA McNaughton Cup was also on display to give fans another photo opportunity. Sioux Hockey radio play-by-play announcer Tim Hennessey served as MC to the Q&A sessions where the most entertaining sessions were targeted toward the children. Imagine a 5-year old with a hockey grin trying to say the word “thistle”.

The next preparatory step for the upcoming season is getting the ice ready for the team. With the first game just over two weeks away (exhibition vs. Manitoba, October 4th), the REA Maintenance crew will take two days to lay the initial layers of ice, paint lines and the logo and then top off the artwork with an inch of ice. What seems so thin, especially when it only takes an hour in Mid-January to produce this on the doors of your car, this can be one of the most important factors in maintaining good skating conditions.
As the weather finally starts to cooperate, I can’t be more excited about the mid-grade temps in my office. I have the ice out my door and the sun out my window. Fellow hockey fans please join in saying HOCKEY SEASON IS UPON US!

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