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N.D. high school hockey tournaments heading out of Grand Forks

(From left) Dustin Meagher, Peter Fetsch, Spencer Kuntz and Alex Kreis wear body paint and Jason Stadstad's initials during championship night at Ralph Engelstad Arena. (2005 file photo by Eric Hylden.)

GRAND FORKS—Local high school hockey fans might want to take advantage of Grand Forks hosting the North Dakota state boys and girls hockey tournaments starting Jan 21 at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The state tournaments won't be so close to home for a while.

The events will head to Fargo for the next three years—the longest break for Grand Forks since the state tournament began in 1967.

The North Dakota High School Activities Association has agreed on future schedules for state tournament sites for all sports through the 2025 season. For hockey, Grand Forks hosts in 2018, 2022 and 2024. Fargo and Scheels Arena will host in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2023 and 2025.

The state boys hockey tournament has been held in Grand Forks every year but three: 1971, 2015 and 2017.

The NDHSAA elected to start rotating the state tournament when Scheels Arena became an option in 2015. As a smaller venue than REA, Scheels provides a more intimate environment for the event and also outperformed the Grand Forks event financially.

The boost at the gate is weighed by the committee with the REA's appeal as one of the premier hockey facilities in the country, said Mark Rerick, athletic director of Grand Forks Public Schools.

Rerick said the NDHSAA Tournament Committee had agreed on a rotation that would allow Grand Forks to land the state hockey tournaments in even years and the Class B girls basketball tournament at the Alerus Center in odd years.

The lone change to that system is the 2020 state hockey tournament, which was switched to Fargo because the University of North Dakota men's hockey team has a home series that weekend at REA.

Prior to the 2020 hangup, UND and its league, the NCHC, was on a rotation that put the Fighting Hawks on the road in even years during this weekend in February. Rerick said the NDHSAA and the NCHC didn't shift calendars in the same manner, leading to the conflict in 2020.

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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