Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's Always Something in North Dakota


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.

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.
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.

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.

33 comments:

alaskana said...

Donald, you hit the NAIL ON THE HEAD with this one. I (a Seawolves fan) attended several games at the Ralph while I attended UND. (Not that you should care, but just trying to add some 'cred' to my post).

Now, let me say a few things. This is an impressive place. I know you have an idea of how fervent the crowd is in Grand Forks at the Ralph, but one really has to experience the game there (at least once) to know really how energized the UND crowd can get in their own barn.

That's why I enjoyed your post so much. You haven't been there, but yet you managed to captured the essence, the 'energy' if you will, of the place and how, well, crazy the Sioux crowd can get.

Now as to options if you are a fan of the opposition there? #2, definitely #2. Sit down, and shut up. I know it's not a desirable option, but to get a chance to see the Sioux get their asses handed to them by the Seawolves? That's priceless. I was there in 2004 when it happened, and I LOVED it. By the way, I went to both UAA and UND and was Seawolves all the way.

JMO, of course, and love the blog.

Anonymous said...

Are you seriously encouraging violence in response to idiots who don't know when to shut up? Here's another option for you if someone is being an idiot, be the bigger person and walk away! EVERY FAN BASE HAS THEIR BAD EGGS! Please stop with the lumping of UND fans all together.

Donald Dunlop said...

Alaskana,
Thanks. I hope you continue to read and comment. My idea here is to try to provide an alternative or unique point of view from a fan's perspective. I'm always thrilled when someone tells me I've "captured" any part of the fan experience.

Donald Dunlop said...

Anon@924:
I didn't encourage any violence. I presented the options that I could think of with regard to being an opposition fan and attending a game at the REA. I also don't think I lumped "all UND fans together" ... it was an exposition of the well documented history of the place which oddly enough includes UND fans.

My interpretation of your answer would be that you'd recommend option #2?

If I was going ... I'd most likely apply option #3. I'm generally not obnoxious per se at a hockey game. No doubt I've expressed myself in ways that have irritated people. But it's certainly not my default state. I go to games looking to enjoy the game versus "some" UND fans who apparently go looking for trouble.

Janney said...

I understand and respect your sentiments, anyways we're all the same, this is just your way of venting. Good luck to all your endeavors.

alaskana said...

Thanks for your comments, Donald. I know that #3 would have been a far more worthy option to take, I guess I was just content (and thrilled) to see the 04' Wolves win at the Engelstad. I hope you can make the trip sometime when UAA plays there next (10'-11'?) I know ND is not exactly a vacation destination, but it's a nice change of perspective from Alaska and can make you appreciate living in Alaska all the more.

I should know :)

Donald Dunlop said...

Alaskana,
Certainly no shame in option #2. Avoiding confrontation isn't any sort of sin.

I'd go to the REA for a game. I have in the past been threatened with physical violence by a UND fan for expressing my views here. See the comments string from This provocative post I made last year for that event.

Donald Dunlop said...

Janney,
Interesting interpretation. I wouldn't call it "venting". I can be provocative and/or incendiary. Those things are part of what I see as the "milieux" of this internet exercise in fandom.

"Venting" though connotes an emotional attachment that honestly isn't there in my case. In general, I try to be more "esoteric" or dare I say "intellectual" (yes ... that's a bit arrogant or presumptive to self-apply such a label) in these sorts of efforts.

Not to say that emotion isn't ever a part of my efforts. But when it is I always try to keep it measured in some way.

alaskana said...

Donald, just got done reading the thread you posted (Re: UND Smack Talk) and all I can say is WOW, just... WOW.

The vitriol from most of the Sioux side in that post is well... breathtaking. Just to clarify, most people from Grand Forks are NOT like that, believe me. Well, maybe not in person, anyways. I know the anonymity of the 'net can bring out the worst in folks, but that is another topic. Not that I'm defending those trash talking punks by any means, but just sayin'.

But yeah, as you well know, the Sioux nickname issue is pretty contentious right now, and they are gonna hit hard because of that. I think they feel vulnerable. Myself? I think they should retire the name, but I guess that is beyond the scope of this post.

But anyways, I myself have always felt a close affinity with the Wolves' because they are, well, the underdog in the WCHA and they also represent where I come from, where I was born. When I was in Grand Forks I felt this welling sense of pride every time they played there, and even though I am back in Anchorage now, when they play the Sioux these feelings of intense pride come rushing back.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I feel like I can kind of feel where both sides (UAA & UND) are coming from since I was born and raised here (Anchorage) but also spent considerable time in Grand Forks and graduated from UND). Many from there might consider me a traitor so to speak, but I have always felt better rooting for the Wolves' than I have the Fighting Sioux.

Alot of those fans don't think UAA is worthy of playing in the WCHA, but clearly they are not paying attention to the direction they Seawolves are going. We will show them.

alaskana said...

And PS. They can smack talk all they want about 'backwards' Alaska, but until they've actually BEEN HERE and witnessed the absolute grandeur and beauty of Alaska, they should shut their flatland mid-west pie holes! They are just jealous that they can't live in as cool a place.

Hah!

Donald Dunlop said...

Alaskana,
That post was one of the most provocative things I've written here. It was calculated to get a certain type of response in an effort to cast light on the issue in a way that nobody in college hockey had done before.

I'd estimate that better than 95% percent of folks commenting about the Sioux name and log in the college hockey world support it's continued usage.

Prior to it becoming an issue I had no position with regard to its use. But I have followed the entire saga over the years and years it has existed. Here in this state there was been a significantly different attitude and treatment of Native Americans partly because of the mistakes that other states have made. Knowing that makes it easier to see the subtle racist acts and ongoing repression of Indians in North Dakota.

Long held "traditions" and a general resistance to change (common amongst all humanity) keeps the otherwise fine people of North Dakota from seeing it. However, I don't let those socio-cultural issues keep me from speaking out.

I'm self-righteously correct in my continuing calls for the logo and nickname to be retired. There's about another 6 weeks before the last "grace period" issued by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education runs out.

At that point, without specific and demonstrable permission from all the Lakota peoples the "Fighting Sioux" name will come to an end. I'm not sure of this but I'd expect we won't see it after this season. It could be that they can continue to use it for one more season after this one.

I'm hoping their future name is "Zephyrs".

And it isn't only North Dakotans who are typically less than informed about strides UAA is making. I hope (and believe) that you're right about proving them wrong. This is the first year of better things to come I think.

I hope to meet you at at game sometime.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame we don't play at und this year, but to sweep them at home would put uaa on the hockey radar. This team has a good chance of taking the first game, we did last year in und, I was there we were up 3 to 0 than the referres got on our team, and und scored two late goals in the third. Walking out of the game last year I spoke briefly with Johnathan Toews Dad, he was impressed with our team. Remember we are a stronger and bigger and faster team this year.
Now is our chance to prove it.
Go seawolves.
Fill the Sully Friday nite, all the und fans will be watching on gci.

Fan

Anonymous said...

The SIOUX will kick your bottom feeding asses as usual.

Anonymous said...

really i dont think holding a 13-14 record is kicking are ass as usual.

alaskana said...

Donald, thanks for your input on the logo issue, you definitely know what you are talking about and are well informed. Would be great to chat with you at a future game as well.

I must apologize for my 'ranty' posts last night, I did not mean tot get too off topic. I guess I am passionate about this rivalry, as well! And no offense was meant to any readers from N.D., I was just getting into the spirit of 'smack talk' that precedes any college hockey game, and was not meant to be taken seriously. I think ND is a great place, and I respect the people that live there.

Anonymous said...

Alaskana apology accepted.You seem to be a good person unlike the one who writes this blog.GO SIOUX!!!!!

A Seawolves Fanatic said...

I would love to get in a fight:

http://community.adn.com/adn/node/144363

A Seawolves Fanatic said...

I would love to get in a fight:

http://community.adn.com/adn/node/144363

A Seawolves Fanatic said...

Former Seawolf, playing first line with one of the, if not the best all-around player in the NHL, he's got 4-1-5 already in only 9 games:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Fantasy-Injury-emergencies-Jumbo-Joe-plummeti?urn=nhl,197652

Ted said...

So, I am relatively new to this blog and wanted to see what the conversation was on the UND version. Is there something different than Dirty's Diatribe? Because his posts draw almost no comments.

It was really disappointing. I really like the banter. Even that of the Fighting Racists Fans.

You know that whole tradition thing and what it would cost was the argument against abolishing slavery too, but we got over it and did the right thing.

A Seawolves Fanatic said...

Tommy Grant, when you had the puck last weekend, take the puck into the zone instead of passing the puck to Clark, most of the time it didn't work and twice(kept count late in 2nd period against Bobby Mo) you had a linemate who had open ice to work with you and Clark, so my advice, use more of your power foward when you got the puck going to the Sioux's ice.

Anonymous said...

Option 3. "Reasonably" cheering for your team at a NCAA event should not pose a problem anywhere in the USA. If so they need to step in.

Anonymous said...

To score more goals this year, (they need to), the Seawolves have to storm the net more. Grant, Clark, Lunden, Lafranchise, Tuton and Cartwright all have the speed and strength to carry that puck deep into the Sioux zone. Make it happen this week-end and 4 points are yours!

GO SEAWOLVES!!!! !

Anonymous said...

Seawolves hit them hard, hit them often…. make them pay. trust me ….. They will slow down later in the game after you make them a “Bug on the Windshield”
You are Big team ……. they skate on a dinky rink at home. Make them tired, sore and not really wanting to go in the corners after the first period. Make the Dak Rats Turtle up. They will fold as they won’t be able to take the grind.

Donald Dunlop said...

Ted,
Dirty seems to be the only non-insipid North Dakota blogger. The rest of them irrelevant or language challlenged. There are two fan forums which you could take a look at.

Siouxsports.com has one ...
USCHO.com has the other ...

I'd recommend USCHO as it is designed for fans for all over. SS.com tends not to be welcoming to non-Sue fans.

Anonymous said...

Dirty sucks. And Cartwright graduated a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

whoops. Meant Parkinson, not Cartwight. Anyhow, Go Seawolves!

Anonymous said...

Deleting my posts now I see.Goon was right.

Donald Dunlop said...

I have deleted a number of ignorant crowing anonymous posts that had no purpose and/or added nothing to the discussion. It's simple to add an equally anonymous moniker to differentiate yourself from all the other anonymous crowing twats. Perhaps next time you come here you'll attempt to add something interesting or at the very least add some sort of ID to separate yourself from all the other sheep.

Which ignorant anonymous poster were you? The one at 12:16? The one at 11:38? The one at 2:44? It's impossible to tell. All you UND rubes crow the same shit and pop your jerseys in exactly the same way.

Donald Dunlop said...

And which part of these sentences in the last two paragraphs didn't you read?

"So which option would you choose? Did I leave one out? This comments section will be dedicated to answering those questions."

"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 think I could have been any more clear. I allowed my obvious UAA readers to post comments here that didn't meet those requirements. I have no interest in chasing them away.

vizoroo said...

It seems only reasonable to me that a fans/students/alums from both teams should be able to attend college hockey games without fear of physical violence. Cheering for your team is part of the sports fans' experience. You shouldn't have to sit on your hands and quietly watch your team score a goal or be afraid to take exception to a bad call by the ref. (Didn't the officials used to be the bad guys?) Good natured exchanges between rivals is expected, but the key is good natured.

If the Ralph is the Palace of college hockey, fearing reprisals from sioux fans should not be part of the equation. I'm sure the UND admin is aware that fans drink before and during the game. It is time they stepped up to prevent the drunks and cretins drom despoiling their Palace.

Anonymous said...

"Drunk, fat and being a stupid Sioux Fan is no way to go through life". - Dean Wormer

Anonymous said...

The good news is the guy has been upgraded to satisfactory condition and will be okay.That's the bottom line.

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