Big Ten and Hockey East to battle for new hardware
Inter-conference challenge begins in late October: Minnesota's nonconference series against Boston College on Oct.25 and Oct. 27 at Mariucci Arena will be part of the inaugural Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge.
Eleven different institutions will participate in 13 designated games to be played between October 18-27, with six games in Hockey East arenas on the first weekend, followed by six games in Big Ten arenas and a single game on neutral ice on the second weekend.
"The Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge will offer a tremendous opportunity to build a relationship between our two conferences and to promote the strong traditions of college hockey on a national level," said Big Ten Associate commissioner Jennifer Heppel. "The student-athletes will also benefit from the chance to take part in meaningful non-conference competition against other top programs."
"The college hockey landscape is going through a major change this season and each conference needs to look beyond its familiar boundaries," said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna. "We have great respect for the hockey playing institutions in the Big Ten and we hope to develop this concept to allow all of our programs to participate in this competition in future years."
New cup to be awarded based on points: A Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge Cup will be presented to the conference that records the most points from the 13 games. Here's how the points will be awarded: two points for a win, one point for a tie and a bonus point for a road win. Should a Big Ten school utilize a shootout in any of its home games, it will not factor into the result. Should each conference record the same number of points, the results of the Penn State-Vermont game, played on neutral ice, will serve as the tie-breaker.
The seventeen schools that play in these two conferences have compiled an unparalleled record of success in the history of college hockey, combining to claim 33 national championships during the 66 seasons that the NCAA has sponsored the sport. Of the 11 schools participating in the inaugural Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge, five took part in last season's NCAA Championship.
The Gophers open the 2013-14 season with an exhibition game against Lethbridge on Oct. 4 at Mariucci Arena before hosting the Ice Breaker Tournament the following weekend to kick off the regular season.
Doug McLeod will call the action on FOX Sports North's schedule of Gopher hockey games again this season. The puck drops Friday, October 11 against Mercyhurst.