ST. PAUL, Minn. — This weekend marks the last of the WCHA Final Five as we know it. Several teams will be leaving the conference, giving the annual tournament a new look.
Starting next year, it will also have a new location.
The WCHA announced Saturday that the Final Five will rotate sites between Grand Rapids, Mich., and St. Paul. The games in Grand Rapids will be held at 12,000-seat Van Andel Arena, while the games in Minnesota will continue to be played at Xcel Energy Center, which has hosted the event since 2001.
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The Final Five will be played in Grand Rapids in 2014 and 2016, while St. Paul will play host in 2015 and 2017.
“We just couldn’t be more pleased to be able to host the best conference postseason hockey tournament in the country in two of the premier facilities in the Midwest,” said WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod.
The University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin will be leaving the WCHA after this season to join the Big Ten Conference. A few other schools will be joining the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference. That means the WCHA will be a 10-team league for the 2013-14 season. Those schools include the University of Alabama Huntsville; Alaska Anchorage; Alaska Fairbanks; Bemidji State; Bowling Green; Ferris State; Lake Superior State; Michigan Tech; Minnesota State; and Northern Michigan.
During Saturday’s press conference at Xcel Energy Center, the WCHA also unveiled a new-look logo, which includes several modifications to the existing conference logo. The biggest noticeable difference is the movement of the hockey player from the right side to the left. Also, the logo now uses a red color in place of the previous teal.