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Gophers Hockey: Big Ten Announces Hockey Conference Tournament Sites In St. Paul & Detroit

The Big Ten, which will begin as a hockey conference in 2013-2014 announced Thursday that the first four conference tournaments will be rotated between the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Gophers Stick Salute After A Sweep (photo from Gophers Athletics/Paul Rovnak)
Gophers Stick Salute After A Sweep (photo from Gophers Athletics/Paul Rovnak)

When the Minnesota Golden Gophers move from the WCHA with Wisconsin to the Big Ten in 2013, they will still be trying to win a title in St. Paul. At least every other year.

Today the Big Ten, which will also consist of Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State from the CCHA and newly formed Penn State, announced that they will alternate their conference tournament between the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and Joe Louis Arena in Detroit for the first four seasons. The tournament will be in St. Paul in 2014 and 2016 while Detroit gets it in 2015 and 2017.

The format will also differ from the WCHA Final Five. Per the press release:

The tournament will feature all six teams - Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin - in a single-elimination format. Thursday's quarterfinals will feature the No. 3 seed facing the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed battling the No. 5 seed. The top two seeds will open tournament play in the Friday semifinals, with the No. 1 seed against either the No. 4 or 5 seed and the No. 2 seed facing the No. 3 or 6 seed. The championship game will be held on Saturday.

Previously it was announced that the tournament would be hosted by the top seed but not all buildings were available. This ends up being a good compromise because the Big Ten is spread out between the two cities and gives fans throughout the conference a chance to watch the tournament once every two years without a flight.

For more Minnesota Golden Gophers coverage, check out The Daily Gopher. You can also find more WCHA news over at Western College Hockey.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.