Visiting the Taj Mahal of Hockey

By , The Hockey Goddesses
December 10, 2015

Ralph Engelstad Arena

Fans mill about in the upper concourse at a UND game.

As I wrap up my weekend at the University of North Dakota and, more specifically, the Ralph Engelstad Arena, I can say I’ve never encountered anything quite like it in all my years of hockey fandom.

“The Ralph,” as the rink is affectionately known, has an atmosphere like no other I have ever experienced in collegiate hockey.  Walking its gleaming marble floors, shoulder-to-shoulder with the sold-out crowd of ultra-enthusiastic fans I knew I was in for a special night in this truly grand hockey palace.

Perhaps what makes a game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena such an amazing experience is that the venue not only rivals but exceeds many professional arenas, yet it has the energy and enthusiasm college sports are known for.  

 Attend a pro hockey game and you’ll very often observe fans being treated as if it is a privilege to pay their hard-earned money.  Attend a UND game and you’ll feel like you are an integral part of something bigger — an experience that you’re sharing with more than 11,000 friends.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the state-of-the art facility that helps make this experience possible — the opulent suites, each with their own attendant and big screen televisions, the large, leather seats and the third-level bars that engulf both ends, yet allow for great game viewing — all making the Ralph Engelstad Arena a very special place to enjoy a hockey game.

In my upcoming feature story, I will do my best to give The Ralph the accolades it deserves, but this is one rink that must be seen to be appreciated.

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