GRAND FORKS -- Don’t worry, Wisconsin.
He’s not actually playing.
Jim Archibald, wearing full hockey gear and his old No. 15, will be introduced during pregame warmups tonight in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
It’s the start of a new tradition where the University of North Dakota, will bring back former greats to skate “One Last Shift” in pregame introductions with the current team.
The choice to start the tradition with Archibald on Wisconsin weekend was no accident.
Archibald famously brawled with the Badgers during a game in 1981-82 in Dane County Coliseum. The massive fight -- which started after Wisconsin’s John Newberry squirted UND’s Cary Eades with a water bottle -- spilled out into the aisles and the beer gardens. Police officers were involved in breaking it up.
Archibald, UND’s single-season and all-time record holder in penalty minutes, was in the middle of it.
Archibald, who was a member of the 1982 NCAA national title team and later played in the NHL for the Minnesota North Stars, will take part in the pregame introductions tonight and stay on the blue line for the national anthem.
“He was the captain of our team,” said UND coach Brad Berry, who was a teammate of Archibald’s for two seasons. “He was a hard-nosed player, but he was also a skilled player. That emulates what North Dakota is all about.
“It’s going to be great to have him come back and share his experiences with the team and what it meant to play here and be a North Dakota player. We talk about our tradition and history and our past because that’s a big part of our future -- the blocks and foundation we’ve laid here.”
The idea came from the Chicago Blackhawks, who earlier this season introduced former UND and Blackhawks great Troy Murray, who retired in 1997. Wearing his old No. 19, Murray was introduced alongside former fellow UND player Jonathan Toews, who now wears No. 19 for the Blackhawks. Both were Chicago captains, too.
“Seeing that live on TV was pretty emotional,” Berry said.
When UND brings back other greats for “One Last Shift,” Berry said the hope is to line it up with an opponent that has a correlation to their UND careers.
What better way to start than Archibald and Wisconsin?
“It’s fitting with the history there,” Berry said. “The neutral-site games and destination games have been a great thing. This is another thing that adds to our tradition.”
UND will be without forward Jackson Keane, who sustained a leg injury during pre-game skate Saturday in Las Vegas. Keane has played one game for the Fighting Hawks so far this season.
Freshman forward Gavin Hain is questionable for the weekend series, too, with an undisclosed injury. Hain has been battling injuries for the past couple of weeks, but he played in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game against Minnesota on Saturday.
Wisconsin forward Linus Weissbach also is questionable with a hand injury, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Weissbach, who has eight points in six games this season, is expected to travel to Grand Forks.
The Badgers were originally supposed to practice in Grand Forks on Thursday, Nov. 1, but flight delays forced them to skate at LaBahn Arena in Madison instead.
UND center Nick Jones is a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award. . . Wisconsin associate coach Mark Osiecki was a former UND assistant coach. . . Wisconsin equipment manager Nate LaPoint used to work for UND’s team. He is the brother of former UND defenseman Derrick LaPoint.
No. 16 Wisconsin at No. 4 UND
When: 7:37 tonight, 7:07 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Ralph Engelstad Arena.
TV/radio: Midco Sports Network (GF Ch. 27/622); The Fox (96.1 FM).
Records: UND 2-2-1, Wisconsin 4-2.
Of note: UND earned a win and a tie against the Badgers in Kohl Center last season.