No reason to look too far ahead, with the 2011-12 college season just six weeks old, but Minnesota Duluth fans seeking a glimpse into 2012-13 (the final season of the WCHA as we know it), here’s what we know tentatively:
UMD opens the regular season Oct. 12-13 at home against Ohio State. The next weekend the Bulldogs are at Notre Dame, which may be Thursday-Friday, Oct. 18-19. So back-to-back CCHA series for starters and those two teams are a combined 16-5-3 so far in 2011-12.
The Bulldogs will also be part of the four-team College Hockey Classic in Estero, Fla., hosted at Germain Arena by the East Coast Hockey League’s Florida Everblades. The possible dates are Dec. 27-28, 2012. The tournament, which began in 2000, has had Maine and Cornell entered each year. UMD was a participant in 2005.
One other non-league series is yet to be scheduled.
In WCHA play for 2012-13, UMD home series: Wisconsin (Oct. 26-27), St. Cloud State (Nov. 23-24), Bemidji State (Dec. 7-8), Michigan Tech (Jan. 11-12), Denver (Feb. 1-2), Minnesota State-Mankato (Feb. 8-9) and Nebraska-Omaha (March 8-9).
UMD WCHA away series: Nebraska-Omaha (Nov. 9-10), North Dakota (Nov. 16-17), Michigan Tech (Nov. 30-Dec. 1), Alaska Anchorage (Dec. 14-15), Colorado College (Jan. 18-19). Bemidji State (Feb. 15-16) and Minnesota (Feb. 22-23).
Even further ahead, likely starting in 2013-14, will be a Minnesota schools-only tournament, akin to Boston’s Beanpot. Four of the state’s five Division I teams will partake in a two-day event at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center the weekend before the Super Bowl (which in 2012 is on Feb. 5). The Minnesota Gophers would be part of the event every year (and possibly one or two other schools) and the others would rotate, leaving one school out each year among UMD, St. Cloud State, Minnesota State-Mankato and Bemidji State.
Scheduling for 2013-14 in the eight-team National Collegiate Hockey Conference is yet to be done. The league is deciding between a complete home-and-home schedule of 28 games, or 24 games. A 24-game schedule would allow for six non-league series giving UMD more latitude in maintaining relationships with schools like Minnesota, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State-Mankato, Bemidji State and Alaska Anchorage.
In looking at 2011-12, NCAA Frozen Four tickets go on sale Saturday and information is available here.
Duluth’s Fox 21 has some highlights from last week’s Anchorage series, including a Jake Hendrickson goal here.
Jason Garrison of the Florida Panthers, nicknamed ‘Boom Boom’ by teammates, is among the team’s offensive defensemen. The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel has a story here.