The Dakota Spirit Arena will once again play host to the North Dakota Amateur Hockey Association (NDAHA) State High School Hockey League Tournament March 3 to March 5.
Posted on 2/27/16
By Melissa Anderson
NDAHA was created by Harold Holien from Cando in the early 1950s. Holien started the league for the kids who didn’t or couldn’t play in the larger cities and deserved a hockey league so he encouraged smaller towns to start teams and participate.
In honor of Holien’s dedication to bringing hockey for youth to the smaller communities in the area, there is a traveling trophy called the Harold Holien Trophy. This trophy will be awarded to the winner of this tournament, and officials will bring it the week of the tournament. Overall, the NDAHA is for Class A or Class B hockey players and is not affiliated with any high schools, as the parents sponsor it.
There are only seven teams in the league this year, and each team has between 20 to 22 kids. The teams in the league include Langdon Blades, Mayport Ice Dawgs, Grand Forks Stallions, Crosby Comets, Minot Wolves, Watford City Oilers, and the Richland Rangers from Sidney, Montana.
The Dakota Spirit Arena is no stranger to hosting hockey tournaments as it has hosted bantam, peewee, and girls state tournaments prior to this. The boys league is the biggest one in the state. This year the tournament was suppose to be held in Grand Forks, but they gave it up opening the opportunity to host for the Langdon Blades.
Tournament manager Van Howatt hoping the tournament brings lots of people to Langdon as a lot of the businesses have donated to the tournament.
“A lot of the hockey rinks in the other towns are supported by tax dollars and run by the city’s park board,” Howatt explained, “The rink here is owned by the kids.”
The kids involved with the hockey and figure skating programs are responsible for getting donations to help maintain and keep the Dakota Spirit Arena open.
“Nobody is on the deed sothe Dakota Spirit Arena is owned by the kids,” Howatt said.
This is one reason why those attending the tournament and other events can expect to be charged a gate fee when they attend events at the arena as the funds are used to support the rink.
Howatt expects to have some very good hockey at the tournament.
“This should be the best hockey of the year,” Howatt said.
The last time Dakota Spirit Arena held the tournament, the championship game went into triple overtime. The game finished when the players were just two minutes short of playing two legitimate games.
Howatt has put together a fun-filled weekend not only for the players but also for the fans. Fans will have the opportunity to win some great prizes with the always popular puck toss that will take place each game with opportunities to win hockey jerseys and NHL memorabilia. Dakota Spirit Arena’s famous concession stand will be in full operation for fan’s enjoyment and Legion Post 98 will present colors for each day’s national anthem that will be performed by local entertainment. Friday evening at the Langdon Activity Center, the league banquet sponsored by Langdon Eagles Aerie #3454, will gather close to 200 parents and players for presentation of the All State team.
The Langdon Blades are seeded number four in the tournament this year. The Langdon Blades and the number five seeded Crosby Comets will kick off the tournament with the puck dropping at 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 3. The winner of that game will move on to take on the number one seeded Mayport Ice Dawgs.
The Blades are coached by Gavin Waslaski. He is assisted by Kevin Waslaski, Wayne Borgen, and Mike Muhs. The Langdon Blades is comprised of seniors: Jesse Lien, Logan Waslaski, Jace Ramberg, Nick Balsdon, Steven Kartes, Danny Kartes; juniors: Joey McGauvran, Sam Field, Stephen Tollefson, Jake Muhs, Cole Darling; sophomores: Brady Otto, Blake Gellner, Jayce Jenson, Wyatt Rieder, Jordan Blake; and freshman Alex Gronhovd.
For those unable to attend the tournament, your in luck as the award winning sportscaster Jake Kulland of KNDK will be broadcasting the Langdon Blades games on the radio as well as the championship game.
The cost of admission for day passes is $5 for student and $10 for an adult. Weekend adult passes are $25 and a family weekend pass is $50.
“We want everybody to come and watch. The fuller the house, the better the hockey,” Howatt said.