LAS VEGAS – The University of North Dakota, in partnership with Ralph Engelstad Arena and the Orleans Arena, announced today that it will play host to the 2018 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game against the University of Minnesota at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018.
The announcement was made jointly on Wednesday in Las Vegas by officials representing UND, the Orleans Arena and a special appearance by the Lieutenant Governor for the State of Nevada, Mark Hutchison.
“It doesn't get much better than this: a classic college hockey match-up between North Dakota and Minnesota in Las Vegas. What a great destination for our alumni and fans,” said UND Athletics Director Brian Faison. “And, thank you to the Ralph Engelstad Arena and the Orleans Arena for their partnership with UND in bringing the 2018 Hall of Fame Game to Las Vegas. We couldn't do it without their support.”
“We are extremely excited to be a part of a great college hockey marquee event,” said UND head coach Brad Berry. “This showcase game will give our players and our loyal fans an unforgettable experience and will hopefully continue to grow Division I hockey in the western United States, growth we’ve most recently seen with the NHL’s expansion into the great city of Las Vegas.”
Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Feb. 10, 2017 at 2 p.m. Central.
The North Dakota-Minnesota men’s hockey rivalry dates back to the 1947-48 season and has seen the two storied programs square off 284 times (Minnesota leads 139-130-15). The two teams, formerly longtime conference rivals, have combined to win 13 NCAA Division I men’s hockey championships, including eight by North Dakota (most recently in 2015-16) and five by the Golden Gophers.
UND’s men’s hockey program has sent 86 players to the National Hockey League, including current Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Ed Belfour. This past June, freshman forward Tyson Jost was selected 10th overall by the Colorado Avalanche at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, making him UND’s 14th first-round pick since 2000.
Five UND products played professional hockey in Las Vegas, most recently Robbie Bina with the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers in 2009-10. Additionally, Bob Joyce (1993-95), Nick Naumenko (1998-99), Russ Romaniuk (1997-99) and Paxton Schulte (1997-98) each played for the IHL’s Las Vegas Thunder.
Mark Coyle, University of Minnesota Athletics Director: “We are always interested in providing new and exciting experiences for our student-athletes and fans, and bringing one of college hockey’s best rivalries to Las Vegas certainly fits the bill. With these two programs facing off, you know you’re going to get a great game, and the University of Minnesota is excited to participate in a memorable event at Orleans Arena.”
Don Lucia, University of Minnesota Head Coach: “This is both a great experience for our student-athletes and an opportunity to grow the game in a non-traditional college hockey market. Taking our rivalry with North Dakota to Las Vegas will be great for both programs, our fans and college hockey, and we are certainly looking forward to it.”
Mike Snee, College Hockey, Inc. Executive Director: “This is another example of how college hockey continues to grow in our country, especially in the southwest. From Arizona State adding NCAA DI men’s hockey, the talented college players the southwestern states are now producing, and now Las Vegas hosting one of the most historic rivalries in the game, it’s exciting to think what might be next.”