2013-14 is the beginning of a new era of Gopher hockey and that era now has a start date.
The University of Minnesota confirmed Friday that Mariucci Arena will be the site of the 2013 Ice Breaker. The annual season-opening tournament will be played October 11 and 12 and feature New Hampshire, Mercyhurst and Clarkson in addition to the host team.
"Mariucci Arena is one of the best venues in college hockey and a terrific location to celebrate the start of the 2013-14 season," College Hockey Inc. Executive Director Mike Snee said in a release. "The four participating programs have storied histories, outstanding coaches and talented student-athletes who will showcase our sport in the Ice Breaker."
This year's four-team field has combined for 89 NCAA Tournament appearances and features 4 of college hockey's 6 conferences - ECAC (Clarkson), Hockey East (New Hampshire), Atlantic Hockey (Mercyhurst) and the Big Ten (Minnesota). The 2013 Ice Breaker will be the first time Minnesota plays a game as a member of the Big Ten Conference after being a member of the WCHA since its inception in 1951.
For three of the teams, the Ice Breaker is nothing new. The Gophers were its hosts in 1998 (at Mariucci) and 2007 (at the Xcel Energy Center) where they defeated RPI and Michigan to claim the title. New Hampshire, meanwhile, is also making their 3rd appearance and won the Ice Breaker as hosts in 2004. Clarkson have participated in both the 1997 and 2001 editions.
Only Mercyhurst is making their first appearance in the Ice Breaker.
Minnesota is scheduled to play Mercyhurst while New Hampshire and Clarkson face off in the other semifinal. The Lakers have visited Mariucci once, back in 2003 where they lost 9-2 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
New Hampshire last visited Mariucci in November 2008. Clarkson is the most recent visitor. The Golden Knights played in the annual Mariucci Classic in January 2010.
That in-season tournament will also be played along with the Gophers taking part with the other 4 Minnesota schools in a yet-to-be-named one January 24-25, 2014.
The Ice Breaker, managed by College Hockey Inc. and exempt from the 34 games teams can schedule, is in its 17th year. Last year's Ice Breaker was played at the Sprint Center in Kansas City and saw Notre Dame emerge victorious. All 3 games were nationally broadcast on the NBC Sports Network.
Television plans for the 2013 edition are still to be determined.
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