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What's on my desk? Ross Richards

Ross Richards collects team pennants and other sports memorabilia. Dave Olson / The Forum

WEST FARGO – Ross Richards grew up on Minnesota’s Iron Range, where the game of hockey is a big part of the fabric of life.

The sport remained important to Richards throughout school and then a career in education as a geography teacher.

While teaching, he was also head hockey coach at West Fargo High School for 17 years.

After that, he was an assistant hockey coach at Concordia College for a number of years before taking on his current job as activities director at Sheyenne High School in West Fargo last year.

Richards’ office at Sheyenne High School reflects his passion for hockey and his lifelong interest in collecting sports pennants of all kinds.

His penchant for pennants began when he was a young boy and someone gave him a Minnesota Vikings football pennant and one celebrating the Boston Bruins hockey team.

“Those were my two favorite teams, and ever since I’ve kind of liked pennants,” said Richards, whose office pennants represent a fraction of the total number he owns.

Some flags he picked up during travels; others were gifts.

North Dakota State University and Concordia College pennants are significant because he graduated from those schools and has relatives working at both.

A pennant from the 1992 Olympics holds special meaning for Richards because it is signed by a cousin who played on the U.S. hockey team that year.

Here is an incomplete manifest of items Richards keeps in his office:

1. Pennants from a variety of sports teams.

2. A novelty ape’s head. The head makes sounds activated by remote control, a feature Richards said came in handy when students in his classroom needed perking up.

3. Photos of his grandfather, Ken Richards Sr., who scored the winning goal in the U.S. national hockey championship game in 1935.

In one picture, his grandfather holds the hockey stick used to slap in the winning goal. The stick now belongs to Ross Richards’ cousin, Todd Richards, former coach of the Minnesota Wild and current coach of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

4. Various memorabilia relating to Concordia College hockey, where he played on the team.

“What’s On My Desk” is a regular feature in which we ask members of the local business community to tell the story behind the items on their desk. To submit an idea, email

Dave Olson
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