In the preface and postscript of my novel Love on the Misty Isles, I have been very clear that I have fictionalized any references to real events and meshed their dates to fit within the timeframe of the novel. In this posting, I’d like to clarify further a few of these incidents.
Most of these clarification point focus on the University of North Dakota hockey team and the Canucks NHL team. In the 1971-72 hockey season of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, the team would have still been playing in the old Winter Sports Building, known as the “Barn,” rather than the newer Winter Sports Center, later known as the Engelstad, which opened in November of 1972. I placed it a year earlier so that there would be a setting with more modern equipment like an announcing system and spotlight where Deacon played and Sheryl sang the national anthem. It was also essential in order for Deacon’s career development with the farm teams’ associated with the Canucks, which had just entered the NHL in 1970: Rochester Americans (1970-72) and Seattle Totems (1971-74). These were real events around which I worked to create the plot twists and turns in Deacon and Sheryl’s love story.
I have already noted in the last post that I was able to create the meeting of Sheryl and Deacon as mature adults when I found an article that described the Canucks going on a team building trip to northern British Columbia and Haida Gwaii and used it to bring Deacon to Masset. The actual trip that the Canucks made to the islands occurred in September 2013. They encountered a very large and appreciative fan base there. I incorporated that event fictitiously within my story and its time frame. None of the characters represent real people associated with the Canucks team or its operation, and the autograph signing on the former parade square is total fiction. I understand the real celebration in 2013 took place in Old Massett, but I had to create a scene in which Deacon would see Sheryl within walking distance of her coffee shop in Masset. The reference to the Fergusons and Parkers’ naming their sons after Zach Parise and Jonathan Toews is also an anachronism, meshing their current NHL positions within the time frame of the story.
Sheryl and Deacon in their college years discuss the controversy surrounding the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo of the University of North Dakota athletic teams. In reality, the name was indeed controversial over the years, and it became complicated when Ralph Engelstad, a former hockey player, donated the money to build a multimillion dollar complex which opened in 2001. It was his desire that the Fighting Sioux nickname would be maintained forever. As Sheryl predicted, the ongoing controversy did come to a head when the NCAA stated in 2012 that sanctions on the UND teams would be imposed if they did not drop the nickname and logo. UND dropped the nickname in December 2012. After a cooling off period and a long process to choose a new name, in December 2015, the University of North Dakota teams became the Fighting Hawks. After a long history of being the Fighting Sioux with a nationally admired logo, it will take some time for fans to accept the new name. I am confident they will eventually, however, when they accept that it’s the long tradition and history of the hockey program that makes the team, not its name. As Juliet stated in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
The UND hockey team has won several national titles in past years, but although they had qualified for the Frozen Four several times in recent years, they had not been able to bring the trophy home. Last year, 2016, the hockey team brought home the national trophy in its first year as the Fighting Hawks. Is this perhaps a sign that it’s time to move on? Our family was very fortunate to be in Tampa Bay, Florida, to witness this exciting event.