I'm a life long fan of the sport of hockey. I played it during my youth. I tried to ref and coach youth teams, but found I couldn't tolerate a lot of the parents. So now days I just watch. The most fun I have watching has been watching some of my younger cousins play. Of course I watch the pros too. Some of my favorite memories growing up were going down to the old Met Center to watch the Minnesota North Stars.
When I can't watch my family members play in person, my preferred way to get my hockey fix is watching college hockey. The games are a faster pace and played with more passion than at the NHL level. Especially now with the lock out threatening the season!
For the last several years I've been attending the WCHA tournament, that is held to see which teams from that conference will advance to the NCAA tournament. It's held in St. Paul at the amazing Excel Energy Center. The home of the Minnesota Wild NHL team, an awesome place to watch a hockey game.
This is the last year this tournament will be held because the WCHA is, for the most part, disbanding. Wisconsin and Minnesota are leaving to join the new Big Ten Conference and the other hockey powerhouse schools Denver, Colorado College and North Dakota are joining a different conference as well. It is a shame, in my opinion, because this was one of the oldest conferences with some outstanding rivalries.
Another shame, also in my opinion, is what is happening to the University of North Dakota itself. North Dakota has been my favorite hockey team for many, many years. They are one of the oldest college teams around and one of the most successful too. 7 NCAA championships, 19 appearances in the NCAA frozen (final) four, 27 total NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 conference tournament championships and 15 total conference regular season championships. Besides their success, the main reason they're my favorite team is they play a very aggressive, fast place game. They're just a fun team to watch and they have a huge, loud, loyal and (for a college team) well behaved fan base. But in recent years, they've been a team under a lot of pressure from the NCAA itself.
The have not been under the scrutiny of the NCAA for cheating in the classroom or on the ice; not for recruitment violations, bad behavior of players or coaches. They have been pressured by the NCAA to change their name and logo. They are known as The University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux and their logo is a profile of a Native Warrior. I personally find it a fitting tribute to the native people of the state and the logo an awesome image of a proud person, which I can not help but respect. But that is just me. Some find it offensive, or fear it may offend native people.
That is a touchy issue, but there is no doubt some Native Americans that do find it offensive. Although from what I've seen, most do not. In fact some view it as a nice tribute to their people. One tribe in North Dakota actually petitioned the school to KEEP the name and logo. I could babble on and on about both sides, but there is no point. The University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux with their indian head logo are now The University of North Dakota with the words "North Dakota" across their jerseys.
So be it. In the days of being overly politically correct, out of fear of offending someone, this should be expected. With the Sioux name stripped from The University of North Dakota, some more school names need to be address as well. Of course the Florida Seminoles, University of Illinois Fighting Illini, and any other school with a name referring to Native Americans. We also need to change any school name with any other reference to race or ethnic heritage as well, such as Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
We shouldn't call anyone Pioneers, Settlers, or Cowboys either. After all, these are the people who treated the Native Americans so poorly in the first place. Vikings may offend people of Scandinavian heritage, and we can't have that don't-you-know. Pirates, Raiders, and Buccaneers may offend people with a criminal history in their family. Admirals, Bombers, Crusaders, General, Patriots, Warriors and Volunteers may promote or glorify war; and Angels, Demons, Devil or Saints might push someone's religious view on another. Barons, Dukes and Knights could even promote a class system and hurt the feelings of a kid whose parents are in the lower-upper-middle class. The name Lumberjacks might promote deforestation and Brewers make light of Alcoholism. Animal names, forget it! Aren't pitbulls misunderstood enough already? We can't go simply with colors either, gang related.
We are just going to have to go without nicknames or logos. The University of North Dakota with the words "North Dakota" across their jerseys is all we dare have anymore. Someone's feelings might get hurt and we make rules that prevent that kind of thing. I guess that works out the more I think about it. We don't keep score in youth sports anymore so nobody's feeling get hurt, so why should we bother naming the teams.
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