Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth jointly announced Thursday that the two teams will play four home-and-home series over a five season stretch between 2018-19 and 2022-23.
Dates and locations will be determined at a later date. This new agreement continues games between the two teams in a series that has been played at least once every year since 1961-62. The Gophers travel to Duluth next season for the season-opening Ice Breaker tournament (Union and Michigan Tech are the other participants) and the two teams play one another January 27th, 2017 in the North Star College Cup.
Minnesota leads the all-time series 134-79-17. The Bulldogs have held the edge recently, going 7-2-1 in the three seasons since Minnesota and UMD left the WCHA for the Big Ten and NCHC, respectively. That total includes a UMD sweep in a home-and-home series early last season.
One thing left uncertain with the new agreement is the status of the in-state North Star College Cup. The original four-year arrangement at Xcel Energy Center runs out after this season. While it’s been a tournament that all five in-state teams have said is important in maintaining connections and rivalry, the North Star has yet to find a home with fans. Several different combinations have already been tried.
Add to that Minnesota having to cut back on non-conference games from 14-16 to 10-12 with the addition of Notre Dame to the Big Ten and something has to give. In addition to the Ice Breaker next year, the Gophers will face North Dakota on the road and Clarkson at home along with other in-state schools.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate