GRAND FORKS, N.D. — If there’s a glow coming from Grand Forks, N.D., it’s probably from the smiles of everyone connected to the University of North Dakota and its hockey team as the university released plans for the new Ralph Engelstad arena, an 11,406-seat complex scheduled to be completed for the 2002-03 season.
The arena will replace the current Engelstad Arena, which seats 6,067, and compared to the current arena, which is strikingly devoid of amenities, the new arena will be something of a paradise.
There will be 40 luxury suites and two rental rooms capable of holding 140 people each. In a double-decked shape, the arena will hold 5,586 spectators in the lower level.
Plans also call for four elevators and four escalators, a pro shop, training facilities, at least eight locker rooms, 12 concession stands and an eight-sided scoreboard with replay screen.
Engelstad, a former UND goaltender and a Las Vegas hotel and casino owner, donated $100 million in December — half of which is going to fund the construction of the second arena that will bear his name.
The UND arena is the latest in a series of facility improvements in the WCHA. Colorado College opened the Colorado Springs World Arena in the 1997-98 season, Wisconsin made its debut in the Kohl Center last season and Denver will christen the Magness Arena in October. In addition, Michigan Tech’s MacInnes Student Ice Arena underwent a facelift in the offseason, including the construction of a new hockey education center adjacent to the arena.