WCHA annouces Beanpot-like event for Minnesota teams

Brian Deutsch

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association announced today that next season the four Minnesota-based conference teams will compete in the inaugural State of Minnesota College Hockey Showcase ñ a tournament which WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod likened to Boston’s Beanpot.

The event, which is scheduled for November 1 next season, will be hosted by both St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Mavericks and Bulldogs will both have to give up home conference series as a result of the event but will split the gate with the arena.

McLeod added that there future of the Showcase does not officially go past next season and Minnesota’s participation in the tournament was somewhat less than enthusiastic ñ at some point the Gophers will have to give up a home series themselves, which is a huge financial loss for the University.

“We have a long association with hockey in the state of Minnesota and the fans have been clamoring for an event like this for many, many years,” McCleod said. “Now that we have something initiated, we feel a sense of responsibility to keep it going.”

Unlike the Beanpot, which counts as non-conference games for its participants, the Minnesota tournament will count as official WCHA contests. The double-header format will feature the Bulldogs hosting St. Cloud State and the Mavericks hosting Minnesota.

“I also want to commend Bob Nielson and Kevin Buisman (UMD and MSU Directors of Athletics) for their vision, leadership, and cooperation in helping to get this off the ground,” McLeod said. “When it was first discovered that a quirk was already bringing the four schools together on the same weekend during the 2008-2009 season, we began devising a possible plan. To their credit, they have stayed with it and six months later we find ourselves at a point where the concept has now become a reality.

McLeod said a suitable name for the event is still being searched for. In comparison to the Beanpot, he suggested “The Hotdish.”