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Ralph Engelstad Arena to install largest centre-hung in college hockey

Daktronics has continued a partnership with Ralph Engelstad Arena to install the largest centre-hung LED video display in college hockey in Grand Forks, North Dakota. 


Jody Hodgson, General Manager of Ralph Engelstad Arena, said:

We are constantly searching for ways to enhance the fan experience. Our new centre-hung video board will be the biggest and best in all of college hockey. It will provide approximately four times the amount of video space compared with our current display. Consistent with Mr. Engelstad’s original wishes, every fan, in every seat, will have the same viewing experience because of the square dimensions and rounded corners selected for our new video board.


Hodgson added:

We’re not going to stop with a new video board. Our goal is to create the most digitally advanced hockey arena in the country. The new fascia, new entrance displays, new control room, new cameras, and new lighting system are going to be fantastic improvements for our fans. The lighting system will produce a theatre-like atmosphere for players and spectators, while also significantly reducing energy consumption.


The total project cost is estimated to be US$6m. The Engelstad Foundation has committed US$4m to the project and the remaining US$2m will be provided from the Ralph Engelstad Arena’s long-term repair and replacement reserve fund. The project donation is further evidence of the Engelstad Foundation’s commitment to providing an unparalleled world-class game experience for UND fans.


In addition to the new centre-hung video display and ribbon display, the following arena upgrades will also be made during the summer of 2019:

  • A new media control room, including new high-definition cameras, will be installed to allow the arena to maximise the technological improvements associated with the new video boards.
  • A new state of the art LED lighting system will be installed in the arena bowl. It will provide a truly customised lighting solution, meeting the needs of players, spectators and fans watching UND home games around the world. The Ralph will partner with Musco Lighting on the new LED lighting system, which will drastically reduce glare, enhance playability for the athletes, and offer the highest quality light for high-definition broadcasts.
  • Current video boards on the top row of the current centre-hung will be moved to both the North and South ends of the arena.


Kris McGarry of the Engelstad Foundation, said:

We’re very happy to help fund this project. The fan experience is extremely important to my family. We remain committed to the UND hockey team and to the fans that are the lifeblood of the hockey program. We also know that time stands still for no one. We share the vision of the arena’s management team to make sure that Ralph Engelstad Arena remains one of the most technologically advanced arenas in the country.


The new centre-hung display will measure approximately 15.5ft high by 135ft wide to bring a massive viewing experience totalling 2,100sqft for Fighting Hawks hockey fans and special event goers. It will feature 6mm line spacing to bring high-resolution imagery to every seat in the arena.


This display is capable of variable content zoning allowing it to show one large image or be divided into multiple zones to show any combination of live video, instant replays, up-to-the-minute statistics, graphics, animations and sponsorship messages.


Matt Warnke, Daktronics Sales Representative, said:

We are excited to continue our long-standing partnership with Ralph Engelstad Arena. Since the building opened, we have been trusted with enhancing an already great game-day environment and this new display system will entertain and impact the game-day atmosphere even more. This system, which includes the largest centerhung in collegiate hockey, will provide a digital canvas in a variety of areas within the arena offering many opportunities to inform and entertain fans. We are excited to see this new system in operation this upcoming summer and next season.


The centre-hung configuration will also include an upper ring measuring 145.5ft in circumference and a lower ring measuring 129ft in circumference, both rings measuring 3ft high. Two underbelly displays will each measure 9.5ft high by 11.5ft wide to appeal to those seated closer to the ice. All centre-hung displays will feature 6mm line spacing.


A new ribbon display mounted to the seating fascia will be added to the venue along with 34 LED vomitory displays above entrances to the seating areas. The ribbon will measure 2.5ft high by 889ft wide, while each vomitory display will measure 2ft high by 6ft wide. These displays will feature 10mm line spacing and allow for the opportunity to provide supplemental information to the main displays, as well as highlight sponsors throughout events.


To integrate and control the new LED display system, two Daktronics Show Control user stations will be included with the installation. This industry-leading system provides a combination of display control software, world-class video processing, data integration and playback hardware that forms a user-friendly production solution.


Installation is slated for the summer of 2019 and will be ‘live’ for the following hockey season.




About Ralph Engelstad Arena

Ralph Engelstad Arena, commonly referred to as “The Ralph”, is a sports and entertainment arena located on the campus of the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The Ralph serves as the home of the North Dakota men’s hockey program and seats 11,642 for hockey. The Ralph opened on October 5, 2001.


About UND Athletics

The Department of Athletics at the University of North Dakota serves approximately 350 student-athletes that compete at the Division I level in 17 sports programs. The mission of the department is to support the University of North Dakota through intercollegiate athletics while providing student-athletes with theopportunity to compete, learn and grow. The North Dakota men’s hockey program is a member of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) and competes in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Ice Hockey. North Dakota is considered one of the premier college hockey programs in the country, and is regarded as one of the most powerful, successful, and storied college hockey programs in NCAA history.


Conceptual rendering, courtesy: Daktronics


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