In case you hadn't heard (been in a cave eh?), there was an incident at Uncle Ralphies marbled palace after this past Friday's game versus Minnesota. Here's the way it went down as best I can gather from the various sources.
Two brothers (one on crutches) were walking out of the arena and (as will be since it's North Dakota) there was some minor amount of shit talking going back and forth between opposing fans along the lines of "The Gopher's better bring their 'A' game tomorrow". Apparently, the guy on crutches added something more incendiary to the mix and as the two small groups got closer some sort physical contact occurred.
A quick escalation lead to an apparently Gopher-sweater festooned dude to put his hand on the guy in crutches. Guy in crutches' brother takes offense and the physicality intensifies at which point a UND alumni friend of Gopher sweater guy fires off a massive punch on crutches guy's brother. He guy goes down hard and his cranium is shattered on contact with the pavement, leading to screws, plates and an induced coma at the local hospital. UND alumni punch throwing guy then goes to the hoosgaw.
The Internet then has it's classic series of "God, I hope crutches dude is ok" by all parties. Local paper then does questionable job of properly detailing the incident (quoting the injured parties Dad who wasn't even there) and straight up makes it look like a Gopher fan did the punching. The friends/family of the punch thrower show up in all venues defending what a nice guy punch thrower really is.
It's a shame someone was seriously injured, but by all accounts he's going to be fine. Apparently, there was no discernable brain injuries associated with his broken crown. I say it's a shame because the humor the of "It was a Gopher fan" ... "Wrong! It was a UND fan" pissing contest surrounding the event was classic.
My take? Who the hell cares if it was a Gopher fan or a UND fan or a UND alumni who may or may not be a Gopher fan. Let's focus on the site of the incident. That's what matters. Slightly muted versions of this crap happen every week at that forlorn and accursed joint. Why? Because, UND fans think they have an NHL franchise. They've so overpumped themselves with self-importance regarding their program that serious goading, intense shit-talking and physical confrontations happen there as frequently as any sporting venue. There's a word for it ... Hooliganism.
How many black eyes does this particular college hockey program have to get before they clean up their act? I understand that the only cops that attend hockey games at the Ralph is the school's police department. Beer is available throughout the arena. I understand there is a shit-load of underage drinking. I haven't been to the place, but I can only imagine the crowd is something like WWE meets MMA meets ECHL. There are few good options for those of you thinking about attending a game at the Ralph as an opposition fan.
1. Change your plans and don't go. Nobody will care if you don't go. They won't lose any money cos the joint is pretty much always sold out. But instead of quietly not going. Send a letter to UND and the Arena and explain why you aren't going. If enough people were to do so then you'd think that things would eventually get cleaned up.I recommend option #4 only to those of you with stalwart constitutions. The shit storm surrounding such a series of events would likely be draining. But the fact they sell so much beer and have such lax security in place would make this an easy case for a good lawyer. A good lawyer could also obfuscate the facts of the events well enough to get you out of whatever criminal charges might come or at minimum have the charges reduced substantially.
2. Go. But sit on your hands and keep your mouth shut. This is what the locals want you to do. It's why the hooliganism and intimidation exists. The last thing the UND fanbase wants is to hear opposition fans cheer for thier team. This option will almost certainly allow you to get out of the place unscathed.
3. Go. And don't allow any amount of intimidation and/or hooliganism dissuade you from reasonably cheering from your team. Be prepared though to defend yourself. Don't turn your back on any UND fans. Get out of the arena first and walk backward to your vehicle.
4. Go. Be every bit as obnoxious and irritating as the shit-talking hooligans. And when the inevitable physical confrontation starts (history says it will). Get off the first real punch. Seriously. End it early. Knock the fucker out. If you don't then he's likely to do so to you (history says so) you're wrong. Just make sure you have these guys number in your pocket.
Make sure nobody associated with you makes any statements regarding the incident to the press. Don't talk to the cops until your lawyer shows up. After he gets you out of the pokey, file a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the arena, UND and the city of Grand Forks. Don't include whoever you punched. It's not their fault that all those entities enabled them to be an asshole. And being an asshole isn't against the law anyway. Their price for being an asshole is the shiner you gave them. Be satisfied with that.
The long history of hooliganism and intimidation is however strongly on your side. See ... you had no choice but to defend yourself. The history of hooliganism and intimidation dictates that you'd do so. It's by no means a slam dunk to multimillions. But for the right person in the right situation ... it could be a bonanza of cash.
So which option would you choose? Did I leave one out? This comments section will be dedicated to answering those questions. If my account of the specific events is somehow flawed then I apologize. I'm restating what I've read in a wide series of previous accounts that I've read.
I'm not interested and won't tolerate comments that aren't related to the options that opposition fans have with regard to attending "Fighting" Sioux hockey at the Ralph. I don't care about the parties involved. Bad unjust shit happens to people all over this country everyday. Whether crutches dude or his brother or punch throwing dude or his friend are at fault don't matter to me. Your opinion on what is the best option for visiting fans is my interest.