Bemidji’s Ben Stowe aids NDSU Bison, Hockey Day with behind-the-scenes effort
BEMIDJI -- Whether you look at a map, thermometer or workload, there’s no doubt about it -- Ben Stowe has had a whirlwind of a January.
Stowe, the founder of the Bemidji-based sound and light company NLFX Professional, had a hand in both Hockey Day Minnesota and North Dakota State football’s national championship run.
“I think this is the busiest couple of weeks I can ever remember in my life,” Stowe said. “Whereas the Bison thing has become routine… (Hockey Day) is just the opposite.”
NDSU has won seven of the past eight FCS national championships in Frisco, Texas, most recently 38-24 over Eastern Washington on Jan. 5. Stowe has taken care of the technology on the Bison sidelines for the past 10 seasons, including the set up of coaches’ headsets and the coordinating of radio frequencies.
“This is my seventh trip to Frisco with them, which is crazy because it almost starts to feel like routine,” Stowe said. “Although there’s no such thing as routine with national championships, it definitely feels like an annual trip.”
Stowe has taken what he can from a program that has seen unrivaled success.
“What an incredible, unprecedented experience that is to be around an organization that has cultivated so much success, to be around people who have cultivated so much success,” he said. “The character of that organization and the way that those people truly care for each other is why they’re so successful. It’s been inspirational for me. I think it’s made me a better leader of our company, just to see other good leadership.”
The Frisco experience has come in handy for Stowe, as NLFX also provided just about all things sound, light and video for Hockey Day Minnesota at the outdoor rink throughout last week, culminating with Hockey Day on Jan. 19.
Stowe also traded the balmy Frisco sunshine for the bitter cold of subzero hockey.
“We work with sound, lighting and video all the time, but the way this is being used (at Hockey Day), the conditions it’s being used in and the unique requests, they’re just that: They’re unique,” Stowe said. “At least 20 people in our company have had a hand in some of the various things that are here. It’s just mind-boggling seeing this thing come together.”
The record cold temperatures, which reached 26 below zero, couldn’t keep fans away. A total of 13,400 attendees took in the 13th annual event on Lake Bemidji’s South Shore, all under the watch of NLFX’s technology.
“So many people from our company have had such a role in this,” Stowe said. “Their brain power and their physical effort, every part of it, they’ve poured themselves out to make this successful. They’ve absolutely risen above, and we’re really proud of that.”