Two Dawgs Travel to North Dakota For the DU-ND Series

North Dakota Trip 2016

Dawgs Jon Meredith and Bill Miller with North Dakota Coach Berry

By Jon Meredith

Bill Miller and I flew up to Devil’s Lake, North Dakota and drove 90 miles to Grand Forks for the Fighting Hawks Vs. the Pioneers recent two game test. Denver did well, tying Friday 1-1 (losing a point in the NCHC standings on an ESPN Plays of the Week goal in the last minute of the 3 on 3 second overtime) and then winning Saturday 3-2. Miller is a Dawg Nation Board member and I am an ambassador and Captain of the Old Dawgs team.

I have always wanted to go to Grand Forks to enter the Taj Mahal of hockey facilities, Ralph Englestad Arena. Having the chance to go, I was not going to miss it. The University of North Dakota has been a longtime supporter of Dawg Nation, last year giving a team signed jersey from the National Champions for the Dawg Bowl auction. Prior to that, they have given something for the auction or directly to a Dawg nation recipient for years. At the Frozen Four last March, the University representatives encouraged the two us to come up for a weekend.

Luckily, Indian summer weather followed the two up there so it was around 45 degrees during the days, clear skies and 50 MPH winds. Perfect for Denverites, too warm for the Nodakians. We were given tickets to both games, the first night in the lower bowl and the second night in the UND Presidents box. The box was fully catered, Miller and I, being the classy guys we are, only ate half the food (I eat the whole dessert try myself) and drank most of the free beer.

Ralph Englestad Arena is by far the most impressive hockey facility I have ever been in, with the exception being the home of the Old Dawgs, Old Foothills Arena. Granite floors, leather seats and full capacity crowds make for an atmosphere unlike anywhere else in college hockey. The first night we were seated next to Tyson Jost’s (the Avalanche’s 2016 first round draft choice) mother and she was given a full dose of Dawg Nation propaganda. She will have Tyson supporting Dawg Nation when he gets here. She also knows just a thing or two about hockey.

North Dakota trip locker room

UND Men’s Hockey Locker Room

The next morning we were treated to a tour of the North Dakota men’s locker room and facilities. Coach Brad Berry gave us a tour of the facilities and answered most of my really stupid questions, like “is there any free stuff I can have or can I have breakfast too.” Coach Berry politely said no and went on with the tour. He is very familiar with our foundation and is especially appreciative of what we have done for Butch Mousseau’s family.
Dawgs Jon Meredith and Bill Miller with North Dakota Coach Berry

The facility for the men’s hockey team is first class all the way. The have their own catered eating area with a huge big screen TV. The weight room is the second largest of any college other than Nebraska and the actual locker area rivals any NHL team.

Finally, Saturday evening, Miller wore his Dawg Bowl Survivor Jersey and I, ignoring the magnitude of the moment, was inappropriately dressed in red converse sneakers. We were treated to the President’s Suite, introductions with the President and many other UND benefactors and luminaries including the Head football coach.

North Dakota trip president box

The View from the President’s Box

The Dawgs brought Dawg Nation scarves and hats for the North Dakotans as a token of our sincere appreciation. North Dakota has been a great partner with Dawg Nation and they know all about what we do. We both want to thank everyone at the University for their continued support, hospitality and generosity.

If you ever get the chance to go to The Ralph, as it is affectionately called, please don’t miss it.

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