I don’t follow NCAA Hockey all that much, even though I know I should. That’s where some terrific hockey is being played – and, bonus, the players are busy getting an education at the same time at some of the best campuses in the USA.
One of the universities that’s been in the news lately is the University of North Dakota. UND’s hockey team is in the NCAA’s 1st Division, and is currently 4th, up against powerhouse teams like Boston University, University of Michigan, Yale and Harvard.
UND came to my attention a couple of times recently in YouTube video highlights. The first was a WICKED — and I mean WICKED – tic, tac, toe sequence. The puck was passed five times after entering the offensive zone before hitting the back of the net by Verona, WI native, forward Nick Schmaltz, in his second season at UND. That bagged the 20-year-old’s first goal of the season and is a highlight you need to watch:
Then there was Whitby, Ontario forward Drake Caggiula’s masterful shorthanded goal where the 21-year-old deviated from the path of the puck to confuse the sole defenseman, regain control over the puck and score the goal. I’m pretty sure that this WILD move inspired hours of practice for thousands of hockey players everywhere, trying to recreate Caggiula’s deke.
Yesterday, on our way to hockey practice, I heard another story about UND, but this time it was about their teams’ names, on CBC Radio’s As It Happens program. Last year, their team names were changed to the Fighting Hawks, a change that was brought about because of an NCAA directive stemming back from 2005: their former name, the Fighting Sioux, had been deemed objectionable.
UND took the NCAA to court and won their right to keep the trademark.
And, in a bid to keep it, UND has brought back the Fighting Sioux logo on a limited array of merchandise – sweatshirts, caps and the like. Carol Off, the host of As It Happens interviewed UND spokesman Peter Johnson.
“Part of the stipulation of that settlement is that we have to make sure we don’t abandon the image and our legal counsel tells us that the only way to make sure we don’t do that is to actually make some kind of commercial use of it,” Johnson says. “Under trademark law, if you’re not making some kind commercial use out of your marks, you risk losing them.”
According to a report on FOX Sports, the 9,000 Fighting Sioux merchandise made available sold like hotcakes.
There’s a wide selection of UND merchandise available on eBay including jerseys from several current NHL stars who count UND as their alma mater: TJ Oshie (Washington Capitals), Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild) and Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks). UND counts amongst its former students 13 current NHL and 68 past NHL players.
In the meantime, brand building giant SME Inc. has been chosen to develop the new Fighting Hawks logo. SME has helped several professional sports teams develop their identities including the Miami Marlins, Detroit Pistons as well as the Kentucky Derby.