Series nominated for regional Emmy

AWARD Show will transform from weekly web series to twice-monthly TV series.


“Though These Doors” produced its first show in the 2011-12 season. This season, the production team will take coverage one step further and provide new and unique content for viewers. Photo Courtesy of

Entering its third season, UND’s own series, “Through These Doors,” showcases the UND men’s hockey team from a new perspective — and this season will feature even more unique angles from inside and outside the locker room.

The show was nominated for a 2013 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Award, the winner of which will be announced Saturday in Minneapolis.

The production team won’t be there for the awards ceremony — it will be working at the Ralph Engelstad Arena for a weekend of hockey and UND athletics.

With many episodes to choose from, the team chose to submit the last episode it created during the 2012-13 season.

“We submitted the final episode that we did for the Emmy — we were really proud of that,” producer Eric Classen said. “We thought we should give it a shot, and luckily, it got picked amongst however many they had, and I think for us its really cool because of the other programs that are up there like (the Minnesota Wild’s) ‘Becoming Wild’ show.”

“That’s really cool because some of those other programs are really good, and just to be able to see some of our work up there is really cool.”

“Though These Doors” will be competing against five other nominees in the Best Sports Program Series category, including: Minnesota Wild Hockey Club’s “Becoming Wild”, Midco Sports Network’s “Midco Sports Magazine”, and FOX Sports North’s “Vikings GamePlan”, “Wild Live” and “Woog Remembers.”

This season, the show will be transitioning from a weekly web series to a television series that will air twice a month on Midco Sports Network.

“It gives us two weeks to compile all the footage and edit everything,” Classen said. “Before, it used to be really pushed for time and really fast, so hopefully the two weeks will allow us to make our segments better.”

Starting out

“Through These Doors” got its start when UND men’s hockey coach Dave Hakstol encouraged the idea. It fell into the hands of interns at the time, Peter Bottini and David Folske, who asked Classen to help in his second week interning with UND athletics.

Using their own cameras and equipment, the team produced the first episode during the 2011-12 season, which lasted only five minutes. The episodes increased in time and sound quality, the team added better lighting and took advantage of each other’s talents.

“It’s really a team effort,” Classen said. “As we did it as a team, one would shoot and the other would ask questions. We could get better video quality and ask better questions.”

 A focus on the team

Every Friday, the team convened for a production meeting and brainstormed relevant ideas for the upcoming week.

“The reason that worked out nice was because we could talk about what we want to do, come up with an idea and then go to the game in a few hours and start shooting,” Classen said.

The focus was just hockey. It wasn’t a debate regarding UND’s nickname or an argument between opposing fans — it was about the game and the passion that emanated from players and fans. It was different from what the community was used to.

“The premise from the beginning was to showcase the team and players and not other things that were going on at the time,” Classen said. “Even if other things were happening, we want to keep it about the team and not on external factors. That allowed us to distance ourselves from those things and focus on the game and the guys and their lives.”


With a successful first season, the second season featured a deeper look into the lives of the players.

The Ralph welcomes dozens of reporters and media personnel for weekly press conferences and games. They’re there with cameras and the microphones, interviewing players and coaches just like the “Though These Doors” crew. But they aren’t there from the afternoon hours into the evening and leaving at 11 p.m., capturing a different side of the players than other media outlets.

The “Through These Doors” crew is at the Ralph filming on the weekends and putting footage together on weekdays — building trust within the team.

“They’d see us there every day for hours and hours, and you really get to know them, and they eventually get to know you and talk to you,” said Classen. “The interviews are about what the fans want to see and hear about the players’ lives and what they’re actually about and not some typical media answer, which is why that’s really cool.”

With new opportunities and a new format, the show will take its coverage one step further.

“We’re going to try and stay away from the stuff that we did in the past that was boring after awhile — like showing a whole bunch of practice footage or game footage,” Classen said.

Coming this season

Instead, the crew will continue digging deeper into the lives of the players and the little things that are otherwise kept unspoken, leaving behind the repetitive game footage.

“We want to expand it,” Classen said. “Our thing that we call it is ‘outside of the Ralph.’ A lot of the stuff that we’ve had has been inside of the Ralph and practice and stuff, but we want to showcase more outside of the Ralph — what the players do, working in the community and even just being at home playing video games or whatever they do.”

In addition to the casual interviews, following around Corban Knight with a camera from the time he wakes up until he goes to bed, and the occasional glance at Brendan O’Donnell’s UGG boots he tried to hide, the access given to “Through These Doors” is what keeps viewers coming back to see more. While the team has the opportunity to do what it loves, it also gets to tell the stories of players and coaches others may look past — the stories much deeper than the save of the game or the pass across center ice that led to the game-tying goal.

“I think the best part is being there and working with the players and doing something that I really enjoy doing — working with the cameras,” Classen said. “Most of the players are really good at talking to the media, so it makes it a lot easier for us to talk to them and get interviews and get what we need to help showcase them. That’s probably the best part.”

The “Through These Doors” team consists of: Producer/Showrunner, David Folske; Producers Eric Classen and Peter Bottini; Assistant Producer/Audio Technician Andrew Parr; Assistant Producer Brian Gendreau; Executive Producer Matthew Schill and Supervising Producer, Jayson Hajdu.

Elizabeth Erickson is the sports editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at