Ralph Engelstad Arena

Ralph Engelstad Arena

Infobox_Stadium | stadium_name = Ralph Engelstad Arena
nickname = "The Ralph" "REA"

location = One Ralph Engelstad Arena Dr
Grand Forks, North Dakota 58203-2205
broke_ground =
opened = October 5, 2001 cite web|url=http://www.theralph.com/asp/default.asp?p=13 |title=The Ralph |accessdate=2007-10-19 |publisher=Ralph Engelstad Arena]
closed =
demolished =
owner = Ralph Engelstad Arena
operator = Arena Network
surface = 200' x 85' (hockey)
construction_cost = $104 million
architect =
former_names =
tenants = North Dakota Fighting Sioux hockey
(Men's & Women's)
seating_capacity = 11,640
"For the arena with the same name in Thief River Falls, Minnesota see Ralph Engelstad Arena (Minnesota)."

"For the pre-2001 arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota see Ralph Engelstad Arena (old)."

Ralph Engelstad Arena (REA) is an indoor arena located in the University Village development on the campus of the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The arena is used primarily for ice sports such as hockey and was built by UND alumnus Ralph Engelstad. Some people refer to the arena as simply The Ralph.


Ralph Engelstad Arena, which seats 11,640, opened on October 5, 2001 and is located on the UND campus. The REA is used by the UND men's and women's Fighting Sioux ice hockey teams. The arena also hosts many non-athletic events including concerts and a yearly circus. The $104 million arena was built with materials that would not usually be found in such a facility. For instance, the concourses of the REA are covered in granite flooring, each spectator seat is made of cherry wood and leather upholstery, escalators bring spectators between levels, and full-color LCD displays dot the arena. The REA has been called one of the finest facilities of its kind in the world.cite web|url=http://www.thesportsroadtrip.com/ralphengelstadarena.html |title=Ralph Engelstad Arena |accessdate=2007-10-19 |publisher=thesportsroadtrip.com ] Former NHL hockey player Wayne Gretzky has called the structure "one of the most beautiful buildings we have in North America." [cite news | first=Terry | last=Vandrovec | coauthors= | title=Gretzky down on future | date=January 03, 2005 | publisher= | url =http://www.in-forum.com/articles/index.cfm?id=79541 | work =The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead | pages = | accessdate = 2007-10-19 | language = ]

The REA complex has evolved to include more than just the main arena. A second Olympic-sized sheet of ice sits adjacent to the main arena. An addition to the main arena was completed in 2004 and is now the home of UND's Fighting Sioux basketball and Fighting Sioux volleyball teams. This addition is known as The Betty Engelstad Sioux Center or simply The Betty.


Midway during construction, Ralph Engelstad threatened to withdraw his funding if UND's Fighting Sioux sports teams were renamed in deference to political pressures.cite news | first=Sal | last=Ruibal | coauthors= | title=N. Dakota at center of 'hostile' debate | date=September 28, 2005 | publisher= | url =http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/other/2005-09-27-sioux-arena_x.htm | work =USA Today | pages = | accessdate = 2007-10-19 | language = ] In an effort to make the prospect of removal a prohibitively costly measure, the Fighting Sioux logo was strategically placed in thousands of instances in the arena, including a large granite logo in the main concourse. After the National Collegiate Athletic Association barred several universities that use Native American imagery from hosting post-season tournaments or wearing such imagery in post-season play, UND sued the NCAA. A preliminary injunction was granted that would have allowed the Fighting Sioux to both host post-season events and wear their regular uniforms while the lawsuit was in progress. The legal papers filed in support of UND pointed out that the Florida Seminoles have not been required to change their name, thus raising the possibility that the decision regarding the UND Fighting Sioux was arbitrary and capricious. In addition, the legal papers noted that UND has a Native American Studies program, has Native Americans on its faculty, and has a significant Native American student population.

The lawsuit with the NCAA was settled under the condition that UND has three years to gain tribal support from both Sioux nations in North Dakota, or retire the Sioux name and logo. While UND supports the settlement conditions, the Ralph Engelstad Arena has declined to commit to removal of the Sioux name and logos from the arena, even if they are retired.

Notable events

REA's inaugural hockey game was on October 5, 2001 and featured the UND Fighting Sioux against WCHA rival the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the US Hockey Hall of Fame Game. Minnesota defeated the Sioux 7-5. The REA played host to the West Regional in the 2006 NCAA Hockey Tournament on March 24 and 25 with seeds Minnesota, North Dakota, Michigan Wolverines, and Holy Cross Crusaders.

The REA has also hosted a number of non-NCAA ice hockey events, notably the 2005 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships with over 195,000 tickets sold. The REA also hosted the 2008 World Men's Curling Championship. The Minnesota Wild NHL team has played several exhibition games at the arena. Family ice shows such as Stars on Ice and High School Musical On Ice also routinely perform at the REA. Non-ice events at the REA have included concerts such as Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, and Clay Aiken and a tennis match between Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick.


External links

* [http://www.theralph.com/ Ralph Engelstad Arena website]

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