Can you hear the "sighs" of relief from sports fans all over the country? The year 2020 was a disaster in so many ways - The pandemic struck, and sports was one of the victims. One of the most popular events - March Madness - was canceled. High school, college was torn apart as well when it came to fans being in the stands. Now that we are slowly starting to be allowed back into stadiums and arenas, and how glorious is that? The University Of North Dakota Hockey team is making yet another attempt to reach the NCAA Frozen Four. Tonight they are in Fargo, North Dakota - Scheels Arena, and will face American International in the regionals. No doubt there will be a ton of Fighting Hawks fans rooting them on - one in particular who will not be cheering out loud.

Her name is Leah Hextall, and she will have a cozy seat in the press box doing play-by-play for ESPN along with analyst Dave Starman. The puck drops at 8:30 and you can check out all the action on ESPN3, an online streaming channel. If you have never sat in a press box, the true protocol is to stay neutral, but I'm sure deep inside Hextall will be pulling for the UND since she has strong family ties - according to Brad Elliott Schlossman from the Grand Forks Herald her uncle Dennis, starred at UND for two years and became the program's first NHL player in 1968. More than 100 have since followed. Her second cousin, Brett, played three years at UND, helping the program reach the NCAA Frozen Four in 2011.

An established announcer, Leah back in 2019 became the first woman to provide play-by-play for an NCAA Division-I men's hockey tournament game. Leah admits she's just a tad nervous since the last game she called was more than a year ago - (due to COVID-19) - If you listen close enough, you may hear a comfortable "sigh" from her once the game is underway.

 

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