MOORHEAD-Moorhead Spuds sophomore defenseman Ethan Frisch was 6 or 7 years old when he went to his first college hockey game. It was at Ralph Engelstad Arena. That's when the dream to play college hockey began.
"The atmosphere in the rink and just the fan base was amazing," Frisch said. "I just knew I wanted to play at that level some day. It was amazing for me to see all of that excitement at one hockey game."
Other 6-year-olds could be dreaming of playing college hockey at the Ralph watching Frisch on the ice, as he announced Monday, Oct. 24, his commitment to the University of North Dakota. He's the first UND men's hockey commit from the Spuds since Chris VandeVelde in 2004.
VandeVelde is currently playing for the Philadelphia Flyers.
"The program has such a strong reputation with a great coaching staff that is committed to excellence," Frisch said. "Growing up in Moorhead I always dreamed of playing for North Dakota. I wanted to join the family there."
Frisch said his choices came down to UND, St. Cloud State, Minnesota-Duluth and Clarkson University.
"I know it's huge commitment on their part and my part," Frisch said. "It's a great accomplishment, but it's just getting started. They gave a commitment to me and I gave a commitment to them. They expect me to get better and that's what I plan on doing."
Frisch was a standout for Moorhead on the bantam level in 2015 and 2016, leading Moorhead to a third-place finish in 2015 and a second-place finish in 2016, before winning a VFW state title.
He was selected to the Team USA Under-17 select team that competed in the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Frisco, Texas, in August, and was drafted by Green Bay in the United States Hockey League in May.
Frisch grew up with hockey. His dad, Dan, and his uncle, Ryan, played hockey for Moorhead with Ryan playing at St. Cloud State. His two aunts are professional figure skating coaches, so he's been skating since he was 2 years old and had a stick in his hand by the age of 3. He hasn't let go.
"I just have such a passion for the sport," Frisch said. "It never gets old for me. It's been a lot, but I just never get sick of it. Love coming to the rink every day and getting better."
One dream down for Frisch, but a lot left to go.
"It's a dream come true," Frisch said. "It just hit me this last couple days that I have accomplished a dream, but I know I do have a lot of work to do. I want to be successful at the level, not just make it. There's a lot of work to do. It's not over for me yet."