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Future Great Lakes Invitational Participants Announced

College hockey's longest-running holiday tournament goes more local.

USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Tech, hosts of the Great Lakes Invitational, announced the future line-ups for their tournament through 2016 today.

The Great Lakes Invitational, held annually in Detroit in late December, is college hockey's longest running holiday tournament, having first been played in 1965. The tournament is hosted by Michigan Tech, with Michigan and Michigan State also participating annually.

Western Michigan will return to the tournament this year for the second consecutive year. They will play outdoors at Comerica Park as part of the NHL's Winter Classic, after last year's outdoor GLI was canceled due to the NHL lockout. The following year, Ferris State will participate in the 50th Great Lakes Invitational. Michigan Tech's Upper Peninsula rival Northern Michigan will participate in 2015, and Western Michigan will return in 2016.

The local selections are a slight departure from past history. Traditionally, the tournament tried to bring in schools from the east coast, or WCHA, that wouldn't otherwise play in southeastern Michigan. But thanks to conference realignment, it's no longer a given that Big Ten schools Michigan and Michigan State will play in-state schools such as Northern Michigan or Ferris State every year, so there was more incentive to make the event more of an in-state event.