North Dakota avoiding ‘Fighting Hawks’ references in arena

North Dakota avoiding ‘Fighting Hawks’ references in arena

The battle over North Dakota’s athletics nickname has been protracted and bitter. Generations of fans will either identify the school with the Fighting Sioux or, at best, summarily ignore the new nickname – the Fighting Hawks – to simply call the school’s teams “North Dakota.”

It comes as no surprise, then, that the school’s die-hard hockey fans haven’t necessarily taken to the Fighting Hawks moniker. In fact, they’ve booed references to it at games. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that the North Dakota game-ops team has decided not to mention the name during certain parts of the game.

From Ryan Laughlin at WDAZ:

Derrin Looker, Fighting Hawks hockey PA announcer: “The first night of the boos we were announcing the Fighting Hawks at full strength, and then we got to the end [of the] second period and did the one minute announcement, and in protest the student section didn't say thank you. And so that stuck a little bit more than the boos did at a personal level. But you know, that's what makes it fun.”

The university fully adopted the new nickname as of November 18, but now it's being judicial as to where and when to announce the name. Starting recently: not after penalty kills.

Looker: “I don't think it's very effective if you kill that penalty and it's met immediately with 11,000+ people booing.”

That’s not really something you want to hear.

Honestly, the only thing that’s going to make this better is time. The name had to be changed. The majority of North Dakota alumni settled for Fighting Hawks. But many of the students and fans aren’t going to accept it in the short term.

And if you think this is bad, just wait until that new logo!

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.