SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 2012
10:56 a.m. -- Greetings from friendly Manitoba!
When this game, featuring two U.S. college programs traveling north of the border, was originally scheduled, some rightfully wondered if it would pay off.
It's been just under 24 hours since the team departed Grand Forks, and I can say with full conviction that this experiment has already been incredible (that the team would unexpectedly choose 'Cool Runnings' as the bus movie certainly got things off on the right foot).
From the moment we arrived, the folks with True North Sports and Entertainment and the MTS Centre have been nothing but welcoming and helpful. With the Winnipeg Jets on the road, tonight's game is the hockey show in a hockey town.
From a media standpoint, the local coverage has been outstanding. CBC was here yesterday to interview Dave Hakstol and Winnipeg native Taylor Dickin. The Winnipeg Free press featured the game and Brendan O'Donnell in a lengthy article in today's paper. CBC French and the Winnipeg Sun will be at today's morning skate to chat with Hakstol and the Manitoba trio of Dickin, Brendan O'Donnell and Stephane Pattyn. CJOB radio will also be covering for tonight's game.
The program has always appreciated the tremendous coverage it has received in the Winnipeg market. Tim Campbell of the Free Press makes multiple trips to Ralph Engelstad Arena each year. Radio folks like Bob Irving, Gary Lawless and Andrew 'Hustler' Paterson have also been very kind with their coverage over the years.
Last night I also had the chance to catch up with an old Walsh Hall roommate, former UND goaltender and Winnipeg native Andy Kollar. Meanwhile, the coaching staff got together with former UND and Winnipeg Jets forward Russ Romaniuk, also a Winnipeg native.
Ticket sales have also been solid, approaching the 6,000-7,000 mark. The lower bowl of the MTS Centre holds approximately 8,800, so we should have the makings of a good atmosphere tonight.
So far, so good. Check back later and hopefully I'll have some lineup news.
5:33 p.m. -- From high atop the MTS Centre (in the press box, not on the roof), finally some good injury news for North Dakota.
29 Nelson--27 Rowney--7 Kristo
16 MacMillan--21 O'Donnell--13 Gaarder
14 Dickin--9 Lamoureux--20 Gleason
8 Senkbeil--28 Pattyn--15 Parks
2 MacWilliam--5 Mattson
18 Simpson--24 Blood