Ralph Engelstad Arena
For the arena with the same name in Thief River Falls, Minnesota see Ralph Engelstad Arena (Minnesota). For the pre-2001 arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota see Ralph Engelstad Arena (old). For the Buffalo Bills stadium in Orchard Park, New York see Ralph Wilson Stadium. Ralph Engelstad Arena ( REA) is an indoor arena located in the University Village development on the campus of the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The arena is used primarily for ice sports such as hockey and was built by UND alumnus Ralph Engelstad. Some people refer to the arena as simply The Ralph.

Ralph Engelstad Arena, which seats 11,640, opened on October 5, 2001 and is located on the UND campus. The REA is used by the UND men's and women's ice hockey teams. The arena also hosts many non-athletic events including concerts and a yearly circus. Called the "Taj Mahal of hockey," $110 million arena was built with materials that would not usually be found in such a facility. For instance, the concourses of the REA are covered in granite flooring, each spectator seat is made of cherry wood and leather upholstery, escalators bring spectators between levels, and full-color LCD displays dot the arena. The REA has been called one of the finest facilities of its kind in the world. Former NHL hockey player Wayne Gretzky has called the structure "one of the most beautiful buildings we have in North America." The REA complex has evolved to include more than just the main arena. A second Olympic-sized sheet of ice sits adjacent to the main arena. An addition to the main arena, The Betty Engelstad Sioux Center (or simply The Betty) was completed in 2004 and is now the home of UND's basketball and volleyball teams. Although located within the campus of the University of North Dakota the arena and land itself is owned by The Engelstad Family Foundation and rented conditionally to UND each year for $1. This setup was created to give the Engelstad family control and final say regarding the facility.

Midway during construction, Ralph Engelstad threatened to withdraw his funding if UND's Fighting Sioux sports teams were renamed in deference to political pressures. In an effort to make the prospect of removal a prohibitively costly measure, the Fighting Sioux logo was strategically placed in thousands of instances in the arena, including a large granite logo in the main concourse. After the National Collegiate Athletic Association barred several universities that use Native American imagery from hosting post-season tournaments or wearing such imagery in post-season play, UND sued the NCAA. A preliminary injunction was granted that would have allowed the Fighting Sioux to both host post-season events and wear their regular uniforms while the lawsuit was in progress. The legal papers filed in support of UND pointed out that the Florida State Seminoles have not been required to change their name, thus raising the possibility that the decision regarding the UND Fighting Sioux was arbitrary and capricious. In addition, the legal papers noted that UND has a Native American Studies program, has Native Americans on its faculty, and has a significant Native American student population. The lawsuit with the NCAA was settled under the condition that UND has three years to gain tribal support from both Sioux nations in North Dakota, or retire the Sioux name and logo. While UND supports the settlement conditions, the Ralph Engelstad Arena has declined to commit to removal of the Sioux name and logos from the arena, even if they are retired.

Notable Events
REA's inaugural hockey game was on October 5, 2001 and featured the Fighting Sioux men's team against the WCHA rival Minnesota Golden Gophers in the US Hockey Hall of Fame Game, in which Minnesota defeated the North Dakota, 7-5. The REA hosted the West Regional in the 2006 NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey Tournament, with North Dakota playing in its home building. The REA has hosted a number of non-NCAA ice hockey events, notably the 2005 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships with over 195,000 tickets sold. The Minnesota Wild have played several exhibition games at the arena as well. The REA also hosted the 2008 World Men's Curling Championship, along with family-friendly ice shows such as Stars on Ice and High School Musical On Ice. Non-ice events at the REA have included concerts, by artists such as Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, Kelly Clarkson, Reba McEntire, Melissa Peterman, Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town, Clay Aiken and a tennis match between Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick. The REA is the primary host of the North Dakota High School Activities Association State Boys' and Girls' Hockey Tournament. This event typically takes place in the last weekend of February.


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