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UND hockey fans' marriage is on ice -- on center ice at the Ralph Engelstad Arena

No one could blame Shelley Klippenstein and Marc Duval for having cold feet on their wedding day.

The couple exchanged vows Saturday afternoon at center ice in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The Ralph has hosted wedding receptions in its lobby and vows have been spoken in REA suites, but this was the first center-ice nuptials in the arena's seven-year history, according to Chris Semrau, director of events.

The Duvals had been attending UND hockey games together for about 2½ years when the thought of a center-ice wedding came up.

"It was her idea at the start," the groom said. "We like the arena. We like the team."

"I threw it out as a joke," the bride said. "I said, 'Hey, wouldn't it be cool to be married here?' "

"I made a phone call, and they said they could make it happen."

About 100 guests found their seats on the east side of the arena. The couple did not want to wear skates, so carpeting was rolled out from the UND locker room to center ice.

Once the bridesmaids had taken their place, the processional piano music stopped, and the lights went out. The droning synthesizer chord of the Alan Parsons Project's "Sirius" shook the public address system, and green strobe lights flickered.

It was just a little fun before the walk - er, bunny-hop - down the aisle. "I was tripping over my dress and had to do a bunny-hop," Shelley said afterward. "It was my favorite part of the whole thing."

That the wedding was being held in UND's cathedral of hockey wasn't lost on the wedding officiant.

"It is a monument to the game, a mecca to all who love it," Barbara Schauer told those gathered. "But these surroundings do not compare with the love Shelley and Marc share."

Moments later, she pronounced them husband and wife. As the couple kissed, the horn that sounds after a UND goal blared. The recessional, fittingly, was a recording of the theme to CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada."

The Duvals are from Manitoba, as were many of their guests.

Semrau said the REA charges $140 for an hour of ice time, and $500 to rent the lobby, which has room for 350 people.

Semrau called it "a weekend of love at the Ralph" for good reason. Chase Sillingham rented the ice Friday night to propose to Kari Leftwich. She accepted, but their wedding will be in Bismarck.

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