Paul E. Rohde, originally of Drake, North Dakota, graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1953 with a degree in Commerce. While at UND, he was an active member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and was involved in ROTC. He earned his law degree from UND in 1959.
Rohde served in the U.S. Air Force, including stations in New York, Wyoming, and Germany. His career of governmental service extended beyond his time in the military, including service in the Minnesota Revisor of Statutes Office. He also served as a code revisor and later assistant counsel for the North Dakota Legislative Research Committee. He engaged in legal practice in Minot, North Dakota, in association with Moody Farhart, as well as Bottineau, where he was associated with A.S. Benson. He also served as an employee of the Federal Bank for Cooperatives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Rohde's collection of hockey cards and memorabilia cover "who's who" of UND hockey talent, including many players who went on to distinguished careers in the National Hockey League. He purchased the cards over several years, including several signed pieces, though did not personally have them signed. The criteria for inclusion in his collection was that the individual played for UND and also played at least one game in the NHL.
As an interested alum of UND and fan of the former Fighting Sioux Hockey Team (now the University of North Dakota), I started collecting cards of UND players who went on to play in the NHL in about 1990. My current collection begins with Dennis Hextall, the first UND player to appear on a hockey card following the 1968-69 season, and is fairly up to date through players such as Jonathan Toews and Matt Greene.
The collection consists of about 3000 cards of UND players issued by companies whose sole business is producing sports cards. In addition, I have in recent years acquired about 400 cards issued by teams and other companies as a sideline. I call these "odd ball" cards, and that term really fits. They range in size from about the size of a commemorative postage stamp to a bit larger than 8 1/2 x 11. Issuers include Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Sports Illustrated for Kids, and many varied companies. These odd ball issues may consist of entire team sets or only a small number of players whom the sponsoring company judges to be team stars.
A few observations on the collections are worthy of mention. There is no greater honor for an NHL player than election to the Hockey Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon former UND goaltender Ed Belfour in 2011. As of this date, Craig Ludwig or James Patrick played the most NHL games depending on whether or not playoff games are included. Jay Caufield played only one game at UND, but won more than one Stanley Cup as a Pittsburgh Penguin. Cliff (Fido) Purpur never played for UND, but after an NHL career with Chicago and Detroit, the Grand Forks native coached UND from 1949 through 1956 to a 94-75-8 record.
My hobby has given me many pleasurable hours over the past 25 years, and I believe that sharing this collection of memories with other UND hockey fans by placing it on display at UND would create a great center of attraction.
--written by Paul E. Rohde