UND to host Providence in future Hall of Fame Game; destination games will take at least two years off
The Fighting Hawks and Friars are scheduled to meet in 2024 in Grand Forks.
GRAND FORKS — Providence last came to Grand Forks in October 2014.
The Friars went on to win the NCAA national championship later that season. UND followed by winning the national title a year later.
They've been two of college hockey's most consistent teams over the last decade, both sitting above .500 every season. They've been fixtures in the weekly top-20 polls, too. That should make the 2024 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game an intriguing East-West matchup.
The Fighting Hawks will host the Friars in the 2024 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
With that, UND's nonconference schedules the next two seasons are nearly complete.
In 2023-24, UND will open with the Ice Breaker Tournament against Army and Wisconsin in Ralph Engelstad Arena. UND's other home series are against Minnesota, Bemidji State, Minnesota State-Mankato and Alaska (Fairbanks). It will play on the road at Boston University.
In 2024-25, in addition to the Providence game, UND will host Boston University in a home series, play at Minnesota State-Mankato and Cornell, and take on Bemidji State in a home-and-away series. UND still has one more series left to book for 2024-25. Considering it's already playing five road nonconference games, it will almost surely wind up being a two-game home series.
Destination game hiatus
UND has been a frequent host of U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Games.
Sometimes, UND has used the game to play at an out-of-market destination. In 2018, UND played Minnesota in Las Vegas. Last season, the Fighting Hawks played Penn State in Nashville. Next week, they'll play Arizona State in Vegas.
But UND also has hosted plenty of Hall of Fame Games in The Ralph — Michigan Tech in 2019, RPI in 2016, Air Force in 2014, Michigan State in 2007, Minnesota Duluth in 2003 and Minnesota in Ralph Engelstad Arena's opening game in 2001.
The Providence game in Grand Forks also means, at a minimum, it will be three years before UND's next destination game.
There will be none in 2023-24 or 2024-25.
The Fighting Hawks had been doing them every two years. They did New York City in 2016 and Las Vegas in 2018. Nashville was originally supposed to be 2020, but was delayed for one year because of the coronavirus pandemic. They're back in Vegas in 2022.
UND will likely wait to land the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game to do another destination game. The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game is exempt from the 34-game regular-season limit.
Another option would be playing exhibition games in a foreign country, which teams are permitted to do once every four years. UND did this in 2014, playing a pair of exhibitions in suburban Vancouver.
UND's 2014 series against Providence was its first since the 1980s.
The Fighting Hawks won the series opener 6-1 behind four points from Drake Caggiula and three from defenseman Jordan Schmaltz. In the series finale, Providence pulled its goaltender for an extra attacker late and got a game-tying goal from Nick Saracino. Without that extra-attacker goal, the eventual national-champion Friars would have missed the NCAA tournament.
Both starting goaltenders in that series — Providence's Jon Gillies and UND's Zane McIntyre — went on to play in the NHL.
The other 13 meetings between the teams came in the 1980s. UND is 6-2-1 against the Friars in Grand Forks and 3-3 in Providence. UND has won three of its eight NCAA titles in Providence — 1980, 1982 and 2000.