So it's not exactly a secret that I graduated from the University of North Dakota. I try not to broadcast this fact, but I'm not shy about it either. It's also no secret that I really REDACTED hate their hockey team and their hockey fans, even the fans that I consider friends. If you don't understand why I hate them, then you clearly didn't live in Grand Forks for five years and have to listen to them talk about hockey.
A trip to the Ralph Engelstad Arena is like a trip into another dimension. A dimension where the most important parts of hockey are carrying the puck in the neutral zone (the crowd goes wild) and dirty late hits which fail to change possession (the crowd REALLY goes wild). I've asked several UND fans what type of forecheck their team runs. Apparently UND runs a "REDACTED you, REDACTEDhole," forecheck. To this day I'm still not sure how many forwards attack the puck carrier in the "REDACTED you REDACTEDhole" forecheck.
I know this isn't exactly news for you, our readers, who are fans of hockey. Real hockey. Sure, we laugh when we watch "Slapshot," but we don't treat it as a VHS version of The Hockey Bible, as if every game should look the movie's climax.
I'm not going to rehash UND's sordid and damn-near overtly racist history with the "Fighting Sioux" nickname. All of that is public record. I also won't go into detail about the whole state's epic, stubborn, chronic, decade-long case of the butthurts over being forced to change the nickname by the NCAA.
I will say this, the school could tell the NCAA to go REDACTED itself, keep the nickname, and join the Western Hockey League in Canada. I think the whole state would be happier with this outcome, but I digress.
The end result of fifteen years of good old North Dakota ClusterREDACTED (a nickname not approved by the search committee), is that the university is now stuck with choosing between five generic, uninspiring, and plagiarized nicknames. Since I graduated from UND, I get a vote in this process. Ain't life grand?
Since the search committee already rejected my best, funniest, and most vulgar submissions, I don't feel qualified to choose between the five REDACTED options my alma mater has presented me. That's where you, our dedicated Gopher fans, come in. You can choose how I vote, with one exception which I'll explain below. First, a discussion of your options.
If you tried to come up with the lamest, most-generic, most-sterile, corporate-friendly, stupidest REDACTED nickname you could muster, this would be the result. What's the name of the state? North Dakota? Well, let's be the University of North Dakota North Dakotans. Brilliant!
Oh, that's too long and repetitive? Let's just cut some letters and come up with something shorter.
It works with other schools too, like the St. Cloud State Sucks, or the Minnesota-Duluth Duls, or the Mankato State Toes.
Speaking of generic FCS teams, the Fighting Hawks are on par with the Directional Montana Skol Tins. You know when your football team schedules an opponent that you've never heard of, and then after the game you can't remember the name of the school or it's non-descript uniforms and style of play? This the perfect nickname for that.
Are there Hawks in North Dakota? Maybe. It's not there are so many that you would say, "wow, this state should be known for the number of hawks you see when circumstances outside your control force you to travel to this REDACTED state."
Sundogs are what you see when you stare straight at the sun on a freezing cold awful day in North Dakota. Ice crystals in the air deflect sunlight something something who cares. A sundog is a rare meteorological event. Vote for this option if you want the UND logo to be a white REDACTED circle.
If you're a big fan of innuendo, this "Roughriders" is your obvious choice. If you're a fan of the Bloodhound Gang, this is your choice. If you're a fan of a nickname that's probably as racist as "Fighting Sioux" but in the exact opposite direction, this is your choice. I just hope they resurrect Ole Miss's Colonel Reb as the mascot.
Sorry folks, you're not allowed to choose this one. It belongs to the state of Minnesota. The NHL robbed us of our God-given team. That's not UND's fault. However, it would be right up UND's wheelhouse to adopt/steal Minnesota's state motto "L'Etoile du Nord" as their nickname. Not only is this nickname lacking in all creativity and a theft of intellectual property, but it's just plainly ridiculous.
Here's the focus group:
"Who's our biggest rival?"
"What should we rename our team?"
"How about Golden Gophers? Is that too obvious?"
"How about the North Stars?"
"By God, we've done it."
You are not allowed to vote for this nickname.
A Call For Solidarity
If you're a UND graduate, I implore you to base your vote on the results of the poll below. Do the right thing. Let Gopher fans have a real say in UND's nickname.
But enough talk.
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