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Weight room renovation begins in Ralph Engelstad Arena

The $5-million project is expected to be finished by Labor Day.

reaweights.jpg
A view of Ralph Engelstad Arena's weight room, which has been cleared in preparation for this summer's renovation.
@TheREA / Twitter
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GRAND FORKS — Every summer, Ralph Engelstad Arena tackles projects — large and small — to upgrade the 21-year-old venue and maintain it as one of the best sports facilities in North America.

This summer's project is a big one.

A $5-million renovation of the weight room and recovery room in Ralph Engelstad Arena is underway. The project began Monday and is expected to be complete by Labor Day.

The project is being funded privately by the Engelstad Foundation.

The new weight room will include a nutrition area, a high-altitude training room, a 40-yard stretch of indoor turf, a larger area for players to practice shooting the puck and a full replacement of all weight room equipment.

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Both the men's hockey and women's soccer programs will use it.

Since 2019, the old hockey visitor's locker room has been used as a space where players go after games and practices to participate in recovery activities, but there has never been any major change to it. Now, the area will be renovated and new equipment will be added.

"We're excited about it," Ralph Engelstad Arena general manager Jody Hodgson said. "It's going to be the best strength and conditioning space, and best recovery space, in college hockey when we're done."

The old weight room equipment has been moved to the arena floor, which is where the players will work out this summer.

They will skate in the Olympic Rink when they return to campus in July.

When the ice goes in the main rink this fall, the old weight room equipment is expected to be moved elsewhere on campus.

"I've heard a lot of people ask, 'Why do we have to do that? What are we doing?'" Hodgson said. "Our goal is to provide the best development experience for our student-athletes possible. Everything we've done is how we can make our student-athletes bigger, stronger, faster and help them maintain their bodies given the pounding they take as a Division-I student-athlete."

This will be the first major renovation since the coronavirus pandemic started in March 2020. UND replaced its center-ice scoreboard, its LED ribbon circulating the arena, its lighting system and media control room in 2019.

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Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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