The January tournament featuring four of the five Division I hockey teams in Minnesota has a name. On Thursday, it was announced that the event will be called the North Star College Cup.
Read more about the name here.
The tournament, which people have been calling the Minnesota Cup as a working title since it was announced last year, will take place Jan. 24-25 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Minnesota State will play Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State will take on Minnesota on Friday, with the two winners and two losers facing off the next day.
The state's fifth team, Bemidji State will rotate into the brackets next season. The plan is to have Bemidji, Duluth, St. Cloud and MSU rotate through, with Minnesota staying on as a permanent, host participant.
The North Star College Cup was chosen from a group of eight finalists that included: the Herb Brooks Classic, the Hot Dish, the Minnesota College Hockey Classic, the Northern Lights Cup, the Star of the North Classic, the 10,000 Lakes Classic and the Taconite Cup.
A fan vote and consideration of the five coaches and administrators from the five schools involved led to the decision.
So what do you think?
My thoughts? Simply the North Star Cup would have been good; didn't need College in there. I didn't mind naming it after Brooks, and I'm sure fans would have called it the Herbie for short, which would have been cool. Hot Dish would have been a nice play off Boston's Beanpot. I liked it but know others didn't. I suggested on Twitter that they could have used the French translation of star of the north, since that's Minnesota's state motto: L'Etoile du Nord.
In other news, I'll be taking over the WCHA preseason coaches poll, since, due to the conference changes, the Grand Forks Herald is out after doing it for 42 years. It likely will be called the Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches Poll. It will have a predicted order of finish, as well as preseason player and rookie of the year and a preseason all-conference team. Ballots will be sent out to coaches next week, and the league hopes to release it at the end of the month.
Chris Dilks of the Western College Hockey blog has picked five WCHA players who might be Hobey Baker candidates by the end of the season. His list includes two Minnesota State players, junior forward Matt Leitner and sophomore goaltender Stephon Williams. Leitner is one of the nation's top returning scorers, while Williams was the WCHA's rookie of the year and first-team goaltender a year ago. Dilks also mentions Bowling Green forward Ryan Carpenter, Michigan Tech forward Alex Petan and Ferris State goalie C.J. Motte. Read more here.