Tuesday, January 24, 2012

'Minnesota Cup' coming? (updated)

College hockey fans in Minnesota have been waiting for a Beanpot of their own, and the breakup of the WCHA may be leading to one.

There have been whispers of an annual tournament involving the University of Minnesota and the four other Division I schools at the Xcel Energy Center for a couple of months, and now it seems like it's about to be a reality.

UPDATE: I got some comments from Minnesota State athletic director Kevin Buisman on this. Read more here.

The Star Tribune's Roman Augustoviz is reporting that a deal for late-January tournament in 2014 is close to being struck. Presumably, the Gophers would play in the tournament every year, with three of the following, Minnesota State, Bemidji State, St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth, making up the rest of the field. If that's the case, one team would have to sit out each year (who will have to sit out first and how will they decide?).

I wonder if Minnesota would play the left-out team on the road or maybe in a home-and-home series. No matter what happens, this is about the first positive thing to come out of the WCHA's demise. In 2013, Minnesota will go to the Big 10, St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth will join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and Minnesota State and Bemidji State will remain in a revamped WCHA.

"We want to play every one of them," Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi told the Strib. "(The tournament) is the way we are going to do it."

Maturi said finances will have to be worked out, but this could be a nice financial split for the teams, especially since the golden goose that is the WCHA Final Five will be killed after the 2012 event.

Jess Myers of Inside College Hockey, tweeted that he hopes the tournament is part of Hockey Day in Minnesota, especially when that event has often ignored MSU and the other outstate programs. The late-January date could mean that that's a possibility.

This should be an exciting event, certainly better than the DQ Cup.


Sam said...

Well hey, how's that for a bit of good news regarding the realignment? It's still depressing to see MSU left behind in a significantly inferior conference, but man am I happy to know there is an all-MN tourney in the works.

Unfortunately, I'm guessing the team on the outside looking in during the first tourney will be either Mankato or Bemidji. Here's hoping it's Bemidji, although I think most MSU fans are even bigger supporters of the Beavers after all of the re-shuffling that's been going on. You've got to stand by the teams in your conference, no matter how irrelevant it may now seem.

Troy said...

How will the Goofers end up playing everyone from Minnesota every year? If this is a bracketed tournament, they will only end up playing two of the three teams involved. Otherwise, it everyone plays each other once, then it would have to take place over a three day period. I don't like this idea at all. All it does is allow the Goofers to stay in the Twin Cities and make everyone else travel to their barn or to the X, which is basically a home game for the Goofers. The Goofers will never again leave the 494-694 loop to play another Minnesota team. I hope the financial incentives for UMD, SCSU, MSU-M and BSU are decent since the Goofers and the Big Ten are the ones that created this mess to begin with.

Ryan said...

Hmmmm lets see, have a tourney at the X and fill it up with 19,000 fans, or travel to Kato and have 4,000 fans. Of course they will hold it at the X and not at other schools, its all about money. And a one hour drive is nothing, it is essentially a home game for 4 of the 5 teams (Bemidji is a hike). There is just a much larger, as you call em "Goofers" (jealousy) following so of course it seems like a home game at the X. A larger amount of Goph fans live out state and travel an hour plus to attend Gopher games, so your logic is incorrect.

MNHockeyFan said...

Maybe the other 4 MN teams should have their own tourney and leave the Gophers out and each city can take a turn hosting to spread some $ to each of their markets. I'd travel to MSU, SCSU, UMD, or BSU to watch some hockey.