Scheels Arena is setting the scene for the NCAA Men's Hockey West Regional Tournament

This is the fifth regional tournament in eight years for the Scheels Arena staff

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A photo of the starting line-ups between Boston University and the University of North Dakota in the 2021 NCAA West Regional Tournament.

For the last eight years, Fargo, North Dakota has become a college hockey hot spot. This year, the NCAA Men's Hockey West Regional Tournament is returning to Scheels arena. The rink staff is thrilled to, once again, be able to host such a high caliber tournament in their building.

“Every experience has been amazing.,” shared Scheels Arena general manager Jon Kram. “We started in 2015, and this will be our fifth one. We've had some epic overtime battles, which I think was the second longest in NCAA history. We've had sold out crowds, we've had some amazing events. It's just fun to see the NCAA come at a championship level, and then the fan engagement in the players how they compete. It's so enjoyable to see.”

Scheels Arena is no stranger to preparing for the tournament in a time crunch. From replacing the boards, repainting the ice, changing out the banners in the rafters, all within a week? By the fifth time around, they've mastered their craft.

“The first year was probably very stressful when we did it,” laughed Jon. “But, now that we've done it a few times we know what to expect. There's a different level of stress. It's maybe more of an excitement. We look forward to it every year, and as soon as one’s done, we start looking out two years to do it again.”

Amidst the anticipation this tournament brings, what's most rewarding is the reunion for those that played their junior hockey days in this arena.


“What we see more exciting is when these college players return, and there's Fargo Force players that played here that now are coming back, and they're just thrilled to be back in the building where it may have all started for them.”

Hosting a tournament like this one would not be done without the help of the hockey community in North Dakota.

“I think the whole community is excited about it,” shared Jon. “Way back when we first announced it, people were shocked that we'd be able to host the regional. The partnership we have with UND athletics and bringing it in here it's been a huge win. The CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) in Fargo, West Fargo-Moorhead really endorsed them. It's really exciting to see everyone come together.”

Scheels Arena will host four teams for the tournament. Puck drop between the St. Cloud State Huskies and the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks is set for Thursday, March 23rd at 4 p.m. The number one-seeded Minnesota Gophers will play Canisius later Thursday night at 8 p.m.

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