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ENGELSTAD ARENA: Ice Is Hot For Dollars
Figures show 300,000 people attended events in The Ralph, creating $66 million impact

Grand Forks Herald, April 11, 2002

Officials from Ralph Engelstad Arena released figures Wednesday indicating the facility's economic impact to the area in just the past six months.

According to Chris Semrau, marketing specialist for the arena, more than 300,000 spectators have attended events at the arena since its grand opening Oct. 5. That activity generated nearly $66 million in economic impact to Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, Semrau said.

The figures were calculated using recognized economic indicators from the North Dakota Department of Tourism and the International Association of Arena Managers. Those results were reviewed by the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"In its first six months of operation, Ralph Engelstad Arena is fulfilling Mr. Engelstad's wishes," said Todd Berning, arena general manager. " . . . He wanted the facility to be a benefit to the entire university and for the citizens of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, the region and the state.

"He expects Ralph Engelstad Arena to be an economic engine growing a vibrant university and community."

In addition to Sioux hockey games, since its opening, the arena has played host to two record-breaking state high school tournaments, professional skating and a basketball game between UND and top-ranked and Final Four contender Kansas University.

That game attracted more than 13,200 fans, the largest attendance for a basketball game in North Dakota history.

Berning said the arena management would announce more events in the near future.