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UND crowd gives Engelstad ovation


GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Ralph Engelstad may have been one of the most controversial figures in the history of Grand Forks.

However, it didn't stop the capacity crowd from paying their respects to the man who donated a $104 million hockey arena to the city with a standing ovation.

Engelstad -- who passed away late Tuesday night -- was honored with a video piece thanking him for his contribution and a moment of silence prior to the University of North Dakota's game with Minnesota State, Mankato Friday.

Following the 30-second pause, the video screen played a piece in which the former Sioux goalie addressed the crowd saying

"May this building house the best hockey team in the country and may the Fighting Sioux name and logo stand forever," which brought the crowd to its feet.


Engelstad, who has played a large role in the nickname controversy at UND the past few years, died Tuesday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 72.

The funeral will be Tuesday in Las Vegas. Many relatives and friends from the Red River Valley are making the trip to pay their respects.

Todd Berning, general manager of the Ralph Engelstad Arena, said he's been spending hours on the telephone arranging for family and friends to be flown to Las Vegas Monday. So far, he's booked 174 seats for the flight. They'll stay in Engelstad's Imperial Palace hotel.

The funeral will be at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church at 10 a.m. PST.

There also will be a memorial service Dec. 6 at the UND hockey game against St. Cloud State University. Employees at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas are also planning a memorial service there for next week.

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