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UMD's Cole Spicer not expecting another standing ovation for latest return home to Grand Forks

Grand Forks native Cole Spicer makes his first appearance at Ralph Engelstad Arena as a Bulldog this weekend against North Dakota.

college men play hockey
Minnesota Duluth forward Cole Spicer (11) skates against Bemidji State defenseman Kyle Looft (7) at Amsoil Arena on Saturday, Jan. 7 in Duluth.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — This weekend will not be the first time Grand Forks, North Dakota native Cole Spicer has played against the University of North Dakota at Ralph Engelstad Arena. He played the Fighting Hawks a year ago in a New Year's Day exhibition game as a member of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program's Under-18 team, winning 2-0. At that time, Spicer was a North Dakota recruit.

Spicer said Wednesday he received a standing ovation from the crowd that day, but he's not expecting the same reception this weekend when the Hawks host Minnesota Duluth at 7:07 p.m. Friday and 6:07 p.m. Saturday in NCHC play. Spicer is expecting the exact opposite reaction, despite all the friends and family that he'll have among the 10,000-plus fans.

"I'm expecting a lot of boos," Spicer said.

Spicer, who played high school hockey at Grand Forks Central, signed a National Letter of Intent in the fall of 2021 to attend North Dakota in 2022-23, but the Hawks asked him to defer his enrollment a year. He requested and received his release from his NLI in the spring, and a few weeks later committed to Minnesota Duluth for 2022-23.

A 2022 fourth-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins, Spicer has two goals and two assists in 20 games this season.

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"Obviously I'm looking forward to this one," said Spicer, who grew up cheering for Jonathan Toews, Zach Parise and Drake Caggiula. "It'll be a pretty emotional week going home, going back and playing North Dakota. I'm from there, was committed there for forever. I feel I can prove myself and just show that I am ready to play at this level. Hopefully we'll have a good outcome."

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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