Friday, January 27, 2017

North Star College Cup Never Took Off (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

(This originally appeared in Friday's St. Paul Pioneer Press.)

This weekend’s fourth annual North Star College Cup at Xcel Energy Center will be the final one contested between the five Division 1 schools in Minnesota.

After meeting this summer and fall, the schools’ five head coaches elected to discontinue the tournament after the initial four-year rotation, citing attendance issues and a reluctance to give up home games.

“I think the idea was to hopefully get the alumni involved and replicate what the old WCHA playoffs was like, but that never seemed to happen,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said Wednesday. “It just probably wasn’t worth giving up home games for so many people.”

The tournament was created after the splintering of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Gophers became part of the six-team Big Ten Conference, and St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth became charter members of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Minnesota State Mankato and Bemidji State remained in the WCHA.

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