North Dakota committee takes away option for school to continue to play with no nickname

The North Dakota Nickname Committee has decided to remove the option of the school’s men’s and women’s hockey teams continuing to play without a nickname has frustrated the school’s hockey community, according to the Grand Forks Herald.

Five nicknames are reportedly under consideration for UND – Sundogs, Roughriders, Nodaks, Fighting Hawks and North Stars.

The Herald reports a public vote will make the final decision, but UND president Robert Kelley will also have a say.

“Over the next few weeks I plan to further review all the feedback received, and I will consider the possible addition of ‘North Dakota’ in the voting process,” Kelley reportedly wrote in an email to school staff and the community, according to the Herald. “The voting process, which has not yet been defined, will not take place until fall, and this will allow adequate time to thoroughly review the feedback and make a final decision.”

“I want to state here that we are ‘North Dakota,’ and we will always be ‘North Dakota.’ I believe it is in the best interest of the university to have a new nickname – something that will go along with continuing to be ‘North Dakota’ – just as other major universities have nicknames. I think students, alumni, and fans would benefit from having cheers, chants and songs that connect to a true nickname. But that doesn’t and won’t detract from the fact we will always be ‘North Dakota.’ ”

The only person on the nickname committee with hockey ties is former UND goalie Karl Goehring, who voted against the motion.

“Why not let the people have a say?” Goehring said at the July 21 meeting. “There’s a way to construct it to give people a say in the matter and still give them other name options as well.”

Past and current UND players made it clear that they wanted to continue playing as North Dakota, as the teams have done the last three years. Several current and former players took to social media last week to voice their opinions.

“If it can’t be Fighting Sioux, I don’t see what’s wrong with keeping it University of North Dakota. I liked that,” former UND and longtime NHL defenseman Mike Commodore posted on Twitter.

“I wish the higher ups at UND would listen to the people who support UND athletics,” added former UND captain and Grand Forks native Mario Lamoureux in the report. “Why not let the people decide on a final nickname?”

Reigning Mike Richter Award winner Zane McIntyre also was disappointed by the news.

“It is hard not to be upset about the news that was given [July 21] regarding the UND nickname and potential options,” McIntyre said.

Former UND captain Dillon Simpson added, “Very disappointed about the committee’s decision. Both frustrating and thoughtless. Hope UND realizes the mistake they are making. If the backlash doesn’t do it, no one purchasing the new merchandise should do the trick.”

And add former UND forward Mark MacMillan to the list of irritated parties.

“Not sure who the eleven voting members are, but it is pretty clear with the students and athletics alumni what the number one choice is,” said McMillan in the Herald report. “Everyone gets that for now we can’t be the Fighting Sioux, but nothing, no matter how good the nickname is, will ever compare or ever be liked. Can’t believe they aren’t just going to leave it North Dakota.”