The Big Ten Hockey conference officially announced their future conference tournament format and sites yesterday. The XCel Energy Center in St. Paul will host the first and third Big Ten tournaments in 2014 and 2016, while Joe Louis Arena will host on alternate years in 2015 and 2017.
Format for the tournament will include all six teams, playing a single elimination format, with the top two seeds receiving byes on the first day of competition. I'm still not a fan of one-and-done netural(-ish) site games, particularly now, in the middle of the NHL's playoff season. But the format does provide a little protection to the idea of Big Ten teams costing themselves tournament bids by beating up on each other during the regular season, since it won't be all that hard for a bottom half team to secure an automatic bid.
Now that the Big Ten's plans are officially settled, attention turns to what the other two western conferences will do. There were rumors of the NCHC was looking at Target Center in Minneapolis. With the XCel Center seemingly open every other year, it looks like that may be a possibility for either the NCHC or WCHA as well