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Hockey community reflects on the impact by the late Fargo Force owner

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 9:36 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The first ever puck drop for the Fargo Force was back in 2008. 13 years later, the hockey community mourns the loss of Ace Brandt, the man who brought the Force to Fargo.

“I think you see the fruits of his labor. His vision now, where 13 years later, still thriving and playing.” said John Kram, the general manager of the Force.

In a statement from the Brandt family, they said, ‘Ace was simply the very best dad, son, grandpa and husband. Fly high, Ace. We will miss you more than you know. All our love.’ From the junior level to youth hockey, Brandt’s impact reached all levels of the sport.

“Everybody here in this town kind of thrives off of hockey.” said Brady Vandervlde, the director of operations for the Fargo Youth Hockey Association.

Brandt died on Oct. 16 after a battle with cancer. His funeral happened earlier this week, giving those time to reflect on what the man meant to them.

“Well personally, he had a ton of impact. I mean he’s really developed and grown me, I feel very honored to have the opportunity to work for Ace for 11 years.” said Kram.

“I always remember walking the concourse after a game and walking past him and he’d acknowledge me and I would never expect him to know who I was.” said Vandervlde.

Jeff Nygaard, the executive director for the Fargo Youth Hockey Association, said in a statement, ‘Yet here I am in 2021, back in Fargo, helping navigate the Fargo Freeze through a hockey community that was greatly enhanced by Mr. Brandt.’ The Force have been a very successful franchise, culminating in the 2018 Clark Cup Championship. With those around Brandt being able to see what winning it all meant to him.

“That was outstanding that we gave that opportunity to A ce to be a champion. To win the Clark Cup and a winning team on the ice.” said Kram.

A memorial game is set for Friday, as the Force take on the Waterloo Blackhawks. Puck drops at 7:05 P.M.

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