UND Hockey Getting Ready to Live the “Pod Life”
Team leaves for Omaha pod on Sunday
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — It’s March 7th and you’re feeling pretty good as a North Dakota hockey player winning your last regular season game 5-0 over Omaha and finishing as the number one team in the NCHC, until all was shut down due to COVID-19.
Now it’s time for those players to get redemption.
UND leaves for the Omaha bubble on Sunday playing 10 games in thirty days starting off a new season. It’s an environment that has never been experienced before. Games every other day in front of no fans. At practice, the Hawks have been replicating what’s expected with a hard practice one day and a lighter the next.
Seeing how the Stanley Cup Playoffs played out, the team won’t find it hard to create energy.
“The benches create a lot of the energy. You’re not going to have fans cheering you on,” defensemen Jacob Bernard-Docker said. “Your teammates on the bench will have to be loud and talking. Create your own energy and really just stay positive. It’ll be kind of funny to hear what’s been said with a quiet rink out there.”
“We’ll be excited to play and we’ll bring the energy on the bench because it’s been so long since we’ve played a game,” forward Mark Senden said. “I know we’ll bring enough energy as a group of guys on the bench so it shouldn’t be too much of a factor getting into the game.”
“Being able to play in general will be good for us,” defensemen Matt Kiersted said. “We’ve been playing against each other since July so go out to battle against another NCHC team will good whether there is fans or not.”
When UND enters the pod, it’ll be as a favorite to win the conference. The Fighting Hawks received 127 first place votes — to Denver’s one — who is picked second. Minnesota-Duluth comes in at three in front of St. Cloud State at four.
Hawks open up on December 2nd against Miami Ohio who is slated to finish last.