Minnesota schools announce name of annual hockey tourney

MINNEAPOLIS — While the landscape of college hockey will change this year with the advent of Big Ten hockey, the schools in Minnesota hope to start a new tradition.

The University of Minnesota, along with four other Division I programs in the state, announced Thursday the name of a new all-Minnesota hockey tournament, which begins this year. It will be called the North Star College Cup and will debut next year in St. Paul.

The annual tournament will pit four of the five Minnesota schools — the Gophers, along with Minnesota State, Bemidji State, St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth — against each other, with one rotating school taking a year off each season. It will be held on Jan. 24-25 at Xcel Energy Center. The name of the North Star College Cup was chosen out of eight finalists; those eight names were all suggestions from fans.

“When we began discussing this tournament, one of the things we knew we needed was a tournament name that would instantly catch the attention of college hockey fans in the state,” Minnesota associate athletic director Tom McGinnis said in a statement. “We feel that the North Star College Cup accomplishes that, and we are looking forward to a great event at Xcel Energy Center next January.”

The Gophers will be joining the Big Ten Conference in hockey this season, while the other Minnesota schools will be split up between the National College Hockey Conference and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. That means their annual rivalries will change. This tournament — which was originally announced in March of 2013 without a name — hopes to help preserve those rivalries.

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