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Shhhh … North Dakota can’t admit they’re the Fighting Sioux during NCAA hockey tournament

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

The NCAA has dropped the hammer in recent years on the University of North Dakota's storied nickname, the Fighting Sioux, mandating that the school's athletic teams no longer use the name or mascot when competing in NCAA-sanctioned events.

Like, for example, the 2012 NCAA hockey championship tournament, for which both North Dakota's men's and women's qualified.

View photo

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Star Tribune

Here's the tricky part: The state of North Dakota requires, by law, that the team be known as the Fighting Sioux. Challenges to that law could eventually be heard by the state Supreme Court, but for now it's mandated, too.

So the team is still the Fighting Sioux, and the university president told the Grand Forks Herald that "we will still be competing officially as the Fighting Sioux" when the men's team takes the ice in the NCAA hockey tournament.

You just won't see or hear anything about the nickname on the road to the Frozen Four, from the jerseys to the game programs.

From Tom Miller of InForum.com:

The University of North Dakota will wear new hockey jerseys Saturday against Western Michigan in a first-round NCAA West Regional game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. But fans likely will have to wait until the pre-game skate to see what they look like.

The jerseys have no reference to the school's Fighting Sioux nickname due to the NCAA sanctions. Under NCAA sanctions, UND is not allowed to use the Fighting Sioux name or logo in any NCAA-sanctioned tournament.

The lab rat for these sanctions was the North Dakota women's hockey team, which was eliminated from the NCAA women's hockey tournament by Minnesota earlier this month. They skated in uniforms seen above (via the Star Tribune), sans any Fighting Sioux references.

According to the Jamestown Sun, there was no UND photo in the official program because the team couldn't organize to take a new one, minus the Sioux imagery.

The ban extends to coaches, team personnel and the school band; UND President Robert Kelley has told fans they can still rock Fighting Sioux jerseys at games without fear of being gagged and stripped naked before getting ejected for their cultural insensitivity (we may be paraphrasing here).

The NCAA, he told the Grand Forks Herald, has "been fairly silent on the presentation of our fans."

So the Fighting Sioux … er, North Dakota will wear white jerseys that state the college's name during their NCAA tournament games.

Until they return home, where they can be the Fighting Sioux again.

This would be so less complicated had the college simply worn the HOLLYWOOD sign on their hockey sweaters …

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