March 23, 2013
SAINT PAUL, Minn. –The University of Minnesota, in conjunction with Bemidji State University, Minnesota State University-Mankato, St. Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota Duluth, is pleased to announce plans for an annual tournament featuring Minnesota’s five Division I hockey programs beginning in 2014 at Xcel Energy Center.
The University of Minnesota will serve as the event’s permanent host with three of the other four institutions participating on a rotating basis over an initial four-year schedule.
“All five programs have put a lot of time and energy into planning this tournament with the motivation of what it can become and how important it will be to college hockey fans throughout the state,” said Minnesota associate athletic director and men’s hockey administrator Tom McGinnis. “There has been a lot of hard work and a great spirit of cooperation amongst all five schools that has brought us to this point, and we believe this tournament will be a something all of us can be proud of when the puck drops next year.”
The inaugural statewide showcase is slated for Friday, January 24 and Saturday, January 25, 2014 with Minnesota, Minnesota State-Mankato, St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth set to participate while Bemidji State will be idle in the tournament’s first year. The event will feature a tournament championship format with two semifinal games scheduled for Friday and a consolation and championship game to follow on Saturday. Tournament details, including ticket information and a contest to create a name for the tournament will be finalized and announced at a later date.
“Xcel Energy Center and the Minnesota Wild have a history of hosting successful hockey tournaments including the Minnesota State High School League Boys' and Girls' State Championships, WCHA Final Five, NCAA Frozen Four and Stanley Cup Playoffs. We look forward to being the home of this exciting tournament and building a new hockey tradition in the State of Hockey,” said Xcel Energy Center vice president and general manager Jack Larson.
All five of the state’s Division I men’s hockey programs currently compete in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), but recent changes in the college hockey landscape will now see the five schools competing in three difference conferences beginning in 2013-14 with Bemidji State and Minnesota State remaining in the WCHA, the University of Minnesota joining the Big Ten Conference and St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth entering into the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). The end result of this realignment may mean less frequent play amongst these former conference rivals –a scenario this tournament will address.
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