Ben Strinden went to dozens of University of North Dakota Hockey games as a kid.
The Fargo native grew up with season tickets and loved to watch the now Fighting Hawks at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. On Tuesday morning, the former Northstar Christian Academy Knight’s childhood dream to play in the black and green became a reality when he announced his commitment to play at UND.
“It’s been my dream school for as long as I can remember,” Strinden said. “I remember sitting up in the suite with my grandpa, so it’s pretty special to be able to play for them. Growing up, my friends and I would always pretend like we were players on the team when we played pickup hockey. It’s pretty surreal, honestly.”
Strinden is still enrolled in school at Northstar in Alexandria but will be spending this season playing with the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the USHL. A two-year player for the Knights, Strinden tallied 55 goals and 62 assists for 128 career points in 100 career games. He also scored the first goal in NCA history. In the sixth round, he was selected by the Lumberjacks, 82nd overall in the 2020 USHL Phase II Draft.
Strinden was no stranger to Northstar’s staff before joining the Knights, as he has been involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes hockey since 2009. He has participated in multiple FCA camps and participated with team FCA in the Chowder Cup. He was also honored as FCA Hockey Athlete of the Month in June, 2019.
Taking the leap to Northstar was a calculated risk that paid off for him.
“It was the best decision of my life to leave high school and go to Northstar,” Strinden said. “It was the best two years of my life. It was definitely God leading me down the right path. Northstar was the perfect place for me, development-wise and as a person. They showed me how to play the game the right way, be a good father and a better man.”
The Northstar Hockey Director, Rick Randazzo, has watched Strinden develop from a young age into a Division I hockey player.
“Watching Ben grow from a seven-year-old to a college commit has been pure joy,” Randazzo said in a release. “His hard work, determination and competitiveness have allowed him to be recruited by one of the top programs in the country. His story is the blueprint for all current and future Knights who aspire to play college hockey. Ben exemplifies everything that we stand for: spiritual development, academic advancement and athletic excellence.”
Strinden’s recruitment started in the rink he will call home for four years. While the Knights were playing in a showcase in Grand Forks, N.D., Strinden had one of his best games of the season.
“I had a good game when we played at the Ralph last year,” Strinden said. “They reached out to me after the game, and I was super pumped. It kind of let me know that it wasn’t out of the picture. They reached out a few more times over the summer. More schools started contacting me, and that’s when UND gave me an offer I couldn’t turn down.”
When he got his first call from UND, Strinden shared an unforgettable moment with his family.
“We were so pumped,” Strinden said. “I got to tell my grandpa that it was a possibility for me to play there. I think he was more excited than I was.”