This might be a shock to some but Minnesota Duluth is in fact located in Duluth, Minnesota. Their colors, like all schools in the University of Minnesota system are Maroon and Gold. However, their mascot is not named Goldy and is instead a Bulldog named Champ.
The Bulldogs have been members of the WCHA since 1965 and have won the regular season title three times. Their lone national title came last season but Minnesota Duluth had reached the Frozen Four three other times. That includes a heartbreaking four overtime loss to Bowling Green in the 1984 Final.
Besides being the defending national champions, Minnesota Duluth play in the newest (well until this weekend when Notre Dame opens their building) arena in college hockey Amsoil Arena. This comes after years in the not quite regulation size Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC).
Minnesota Duluth, like any team from the Land of 10,000 Lakes and its neighbors to the east and northwest, looks at the Golden Gophers as their rival. They are 75-129-15 all-time against Minnesota but the Bulldogs have made strides in recent years and the two teams went 1-1-2 against each other last season.
Here's what the Bulldog blogosphere and mainstream media are talking about this weekend:
Run with the Dogs (a very vocal Duluth fan) at Northland News Center:
The Rodents, of course, are our opponent this weekend, and I am simply shaking in my skates at the match-up. If they can put up 15 goals against a powerhouse like Sacred Heart, then little ol' UMD is going to get slaughtered. I just hope once the Rodents' juggernaut offense reaches 50 goals on Friday night, they lay off a little in the interest of sportsmanship.
Bruce Ciskie (Bulldogs radio play-by-play guy) on Gophersports:
For UMD to get wins this weekend, Patterson has to be solved. The Gophers have firepower up front, including some recruits I think Don Lucia did a great job getting.
And here is Ciskie again on a non-Gophers website:
This is my seventh year covering UMD hockey. While I've never particularly cared for Minnesota, I've developed a great respect for coach Don Lucia, to the point where I took a lot of guff from Gopher fans for a column I wrote last year defending the work he's been doing. I think the world of new/old assistant coach Mike Guentzel, a superb hockey mind who will add to this program in every way. The media folks -- most notably radio guys Wally Shaver and Frank Mazzocco (welcome back!) -- are top-notch professionals and a joy to deal with on game nights. Hockey SID Paul Rovnak is a rock star.
Basically, from my standpoint, it's hard to root against Minnesota. The program may have a history of arrogance, and it may still come out in certain ways, but there are too many good people connected to the program. It's just not easy for me to "hate" the Gophers.
Of course, that doesn't mean I don't take great joy out of watching the Bulldogs beat them.
Here's also a preview from the Duluth News Tribune
And last but not least, an in-depth piece on Bulldog Cody Danberg being patient after tearing his meniscus by Jordan Doffing at MN Hockey News: