In a press conference held today, March 21 at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, officials of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and the Xcel Energy Center, along with representatives of Minnesota State University and the University of Minnesota Duluth, jointly announced plans for the WCHA’s inaugural State of Minnesota college hockey showcase. The event is slated for November 1, 2008 and will feature all four WCHA men’s member hockey teams from Minnesota – the State of Hockey.I'm down with this idea. Sounds like an interesting concept, and it's indeed something college hockey fans in the state have been asking for, in a way.
The teams will compete in a doubleheader format on Saturday, November 1, with the University of Minnesota Duluth hosting St. Cloud State University in a 4:07 pm CT match-up, followed by Minnesota State University designated as the home team in a 7:37 pm CT face-off versus the University of Minnesota. The games will count as regular season WCHA games.
The Saturday night pairings will close off weekend-long series that will see all four teams in action the preceding night, with UMD hosting St. Cloud State in Duluth and MSU and Minnesota tangling in Mariucci Arena on Friday, October 31. The Bulldogs and Huskies will also meet in St. Cloud on Jan. 9-10, while the Mavericks and the Golden Gophers will also play a home and home series in mid-January.
All tickets for the event will be sold as a two-game package with no single game ticket availability. Prices are set at $40 for lower bowl and club level, $35 for upper deck seating along the blue lines, and $30 for upper deck end-zone tickets, with an additional $2 facility fee charge added to the final purchase price. Each school has been allocated a block of tickets that will be made available to their season ticket holders on a priority basis. Tickets for the general public will not go on sale until October 1.
(Fans have wanted an actual tournament between the four, independent of the WCHA playoffs. While this isn't going to be a Beanpot-like event, it's a start. Maybe someday we'll have our own Beanpot, obviously by a different name.)
I also like that UMD and Minnesota State will split the gate, which figures to be in the neighborhood of 13,000 or more. The WCHA does a great job promoting the Final Five, and I have to assume they'll do a good job promoting this concept, especially in the first year.