Gopher Hockey Travel Blog: Arrival at "The Ralph"

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Go Gophers! Ralph
Go Gophers!
The Gophers have arrived at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks for tonight's game.
Go Gophers!

JAN 13, 4:55 P.M.

It's a long, and somewhat boring drive from Minneapolis to Grand Forks, North Dakota -- a lot of cold, hard tundra in between -- but the GopherSports.com crew has finally arrived at Ralph Engelstad Arena for the first game of tonight's critical Gophers-UND series.
Go Gophers! travel blog
Go Gophers!
Get the inside scoop from the Gophers' trip to UND all weekend long in our GopherSports Travel Blog!
Go Gophers!

First impressions of Ralph Engelstad Arena can be summed up in one word: Wow. This place is truly a palace on the prairie -- it's like a mini Excel Energy Center in the middle of a small town. Marble floors, leather seats, great video boards -- this is quite the facility. That being said, it would look a lot better if the colors were maroon and gold instead of black and green, but that's another issue.

This is supposed to be the first home series where North Dakota is to have abandoned their "Fighting Sioux" moniker, but you certainly wouldn't know it by walking into the arena. "Fighting Sioux" still appears on many signs, merchandise, and the logo still adorns the middle of the ice. Digital signage, however, doesn't appear to make any reference to the former nickname. We're told the university has been given a grace period until the end of the year to remove logos from the arena - it's certainly going to be a tall order.

We'll be blogging from Grand Forks all series long -- be sure to check back early and often for more updates throughout the weekend, and follow us on Twitter at @GoldenGopherHky and @GopherAthletics. Go Gophers!

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