Back in June, the five Minnesota college hockey Division 1 programs announced that fans could name the upcoming yearly tournament by submitting names online through social media and websites.
The end result? Bemidji State, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State will be playing in the North Star College Cup this coming January.
The name, announced Thursday from a pool of eight finalists, borrows from Minnesota's moniker of the "North Star State" along with the name of the former NHL team that called Minnesota home before moving to Dallas in 1993.
"When we began discussing this tournament, one of the things we knew we needed was a tournament name that would instantly catch the attention of college hockey fans in the state," Minnesota associate athletic director and men's hockey administrator Tom McGinnis said. "We feel that the North Star College Cup accomplishes that, and we are looking forward to a great event at Xcel Energy Center next January."
The idea for the in-season North Star College Cup tournament comes from both realignment taking place in college hockey this year and the desire for each of the teams to continue to play one another. While the five Minnesota D1 teams were all in the WCHA from 2010-2013, they will now be split across three conferences.
Minnesota joins the Big Ten, Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State are now members of the National College Hockey Conference (NCHC) and Minnesota State and Bemidji State remain in the WCHA.
"Obviously we feel we've had great support from our fans and supporters over the years from each of our institutions supporting our hockey programs," McGinnis said in March when the tournament was officially announced. "This is an opportunity even though we won't be playing as often in the past to give an event back to them that they can come and enjoy. I think that was really the driving force behind trying to have this tournament moving forward.
The inaugural North Star College Cup takes place January 24-25, 2014 at the Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota and St. Cloud State will play each other in one Friday semifinal with Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota State face off in the other semifinal.
Both semifinal winners will play each other the next night for the championship and the semifinal losers match up for the consolation title on Saturday.
The University of Minnesota will serve as the event's permanent host with three of the other four institutions participating on a rotating basis over an initial four-year schedule. Bemidji State sits out the first North Star College Cup, St. Cloud State will sit out in 2015, Minnesota-Duluth in 2016 and Minnesota-State in 2017.
Other tournament details, including ticketing information, will be finalized and announced at a later date.
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Nathan Wells is a college hockey reporter for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate