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Local hockey pioneer Bernie Burggraf has died

WEST FARGO – Bernie Burggraf, a local pioneer whose last name is synonymous with hockey, has died, according to AM 1100 The Flag’s Steve Hallstrom. He was 88.

Burggraf, who suffered from dementia, was formerly residing in a West Fargo nursing home before he died Sunday, Aug. 19.

“Saddened to hear of the passing of a hockey and broadcasting legend,” Hallstrom’s tweet reads. “Bernie Burggraf passed away last night. We had the honor of working with him over the last year or so. Oh how he loved @UNDmhockey. RIP Bernie!”

When you hear the name “Burggraf,” the sport of hockey immediately comes to mind.

In 1953, Burggraf married his wife Nancy, who -- despite never playing the game of hockey herself -- started Burggraf Skating Skills clinics in Roseau, Minn. Nancy died in 1999 from Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Her legacy lived on through the Burggraf Skating Skills clinics, which still thrives today under the direction of her son, Frank.

Following his wife’s death, Burggraf organized an annual golf tournament in her name, and in 2001, the “Nancy Burggraf Memorial Tournament,” which raised money for Lou Gehrig’s Disease, was born.

Burggraf had a passion for University of North Dakota hockey that was unparalleled.

Mike and Frank Burgraff, sons of Bernie, played for UND in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Burggraf’s enthusiasm and passion for hockey could be heard on local radio waves, as he was a former commentator and play-by-play announcer.

In 2005, Burggraf began hosting “The Big Hockey Talk Show: The Puck Stops Here” on KVOX 1280 AM, formerly known as "The Fan." The show covered West Fargo, Fargo North, Fargo South, Fargo Shanley and Moorhead high school hockey.

Most recently, Burggraf hosted “Bernie Burggraf’s Face Off” on Fargo-based radio station AM 1100 The Flag with co-host Jeff Bredahl, but his diminishing health ultimately forced him out shortly thereafter.

Burggraf was also a former clothing store owner, radio broadcaster and mayor of Roseau.

Ross Torgerson

Digital Reporter for Forum Communications. Native of Moorhead, Minn. Have a question or story idea? Email me at rtorgerson@forumcomm.com. Follow me on Twitter @RossTorgerson