Since the Fighting Sioux are no more, the University of North Dakota has been work-shopping a new nickname for quite some time. It presented five options to a number of eligible voters, and they’ve narrowed the field to a three-choice “runoff” vote for the school’s new mascot.
So, what will North Dakota hockey be known as next season?
The results from the preliminary vote, which ended on the night of Oct. 23:
Fighting Hawks: 6,960 votes (31.20 percent)
Roughriders: 4,687 votes; (21.01)
Nodaks: 4,571 votes; (20.49)
North Stars: 3,231 votes; (14.48)
Sundogs: 2,858 votes; (12.81)
So it’s either the Fighting Hawks, the Roughriders or the Nodaks in the new vote, which will take place for a week starting on Monday, Nov. 2.
As we said, it’s a runoff election, because none of the choices got above 50 percent. What’s interesting is that it’s a runoff between three choices instead of two. From UND:
As the number of votes for the second- and third-highest vote-getters, Roughriders and Nodaks, differed by only 116 votes, UND President Robert Kelley has determined that both of these names should remain on the runoff ballot along with Fighting Hawks.
Did Kelley want Nodaks in the mix because that’s his preference? “I don’t think he had any particular motivation in wanting to include that name,” UND spokesman Peter Johnson told the Grand Forks Herald on Sunday evening. “He just thought it was a slim margin so it deserved a chance to be on the final ballot.”
The vote is open to current UND students, faculty and staff; UND retirees, alumni and donors; and season-ticker holders to UND athletic events.
If it can’t be Fighting Sioux, might as well be Nodaks. The Fighting Hawks might as well be from the Generic Scholastic Team Nickname generator, even though it’s apparently the choice of the student body. (If it couldn’t just be “North Dakota.”)
Ultimately, the fans are going to half-heartedly accept this name, at least for a generation or two. Because they’re the Fighting Sioux, as the metric ton of gear you see around campus and games indicates. As Eric Burton of Goon Blog writes:
I know I have said this 100 times. I love the Fighting Sioux nickname. I also realize that this fight should have taken place about 5-7 years ago. It seems like some have been late to the party. The Fighting Sioux nickname is gone and not coming back. If UND had refused to change the Fighting Sioux nickname, there’s no way that UND would be able to host a NCAA regional.
… I am pro-Fighting Sioux nickname, I will always be. I am worn out with the argument surrounding the nickname. I am (reluctantly) ready to move on, I will vote for a nickname in October. That being said, I will always wear my Fighting Sioux gear with pride when the opportunity arises. Last Wednesday, I wore a golf shirt with the Fighting Sioux logo on it to the hockey presser. I didn’t even realize I was wearing it. Just came out of the wash that way.
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