BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – May 8, 2019 – The annual 140-game quest for the MacNaughton Cup, another exciting nonconference slate and the fourth installment of the league's on-campus postseason tournament highlight the 2019-20 composite schedule for the Men's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), as announced today by Association President and Men's League Commissioner Bill Robertson.
The composite schedule for the WCHA's 68th season of competition outlines game dates and opponents (league and nonconference) for the league's 10 member institutions. Game times, which will follow the :07 and :37 format for league games and nonconference home contests, will be finalized at a later date.
"I am proud to announce our 2019-20 Men's WCHA schedule on behalf of our member institutions," Robertson said. "With the always-exciting MacNaughton Cup chase, a top-notch nonconference schedule and the unique thrill of our on-campus playoff battle for the Jeff Sauer Championship Trophy, we are once again excited to deliver another thrilling experience to our teams and fans."
The chase for the MacNaughton Cup will play out over 18 weekends, beginning with the Michigan Tech-Alaska series Oct. 11-12. There are just three weekends that feature a full slate of five league series: Nov. 22-23, Jan. 10-11 and the closing weekend of the 2019-20 regular season – Feb. 28-29.
Each member institution will play a total of 28 WCHA games (14 at home and 14 on the road). Teams play five other league members four times each and four others two times each.
Among the highlights:
- Michigan Tech and Alaska will kick off the WCHA league slate when the Nanooks travel to the Upper Peninsula to face the Huskies, Oct. 11-12.
- Defending MacNaughton Cup champion Minnesota State begins its quest for its fifth regular season title in six seasons when it visits Alabama Huntsville Oct. 25-26.
- Nov. 22-23 will mark the first full weekend of WCHA play as all 10 league schools will square off in conference series – Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota State, Ferris State at Alaska, Alabama Huntsville at Bemidji State, Lake Superior State at Bowling Green and Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech playing the first of their two home-and-home series.
- Minnesota State and Bowling Green will meet for the first time since their thrilling WCHA Championship Game matchup from last season on Nov. 1-2 in Mankato. The Mavericks will also visit Bowling Green Jan. 17-18.
- Michigan Tech's annual Winter Carnival Series is set for Feb. 7-8 when Lake Superior State visits Houghton.
- Alaska Anchorage and Alaska will play in the annual Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup, facing off Oct. 25-26 in Anchorage and Feb. 28-29 in Fairbanks.
- The Cappo Cup, awarded each year to the winner of the Lake Superior State-Northern Michigan series, will be decided Feb. 21-22 in Sault Ste. Marie.
- The final weekend of the regular season, which annually factors in the outcome of multiple WCHA postseason races, features the Alaska (UAA at UAF) and UP rivalries (NMU-MTU in a home-and-home matchup), along with Bowling Green at Alabama Huntsville, Lake Superior State at Ferris State and Minnesota State at Bemidji State.
WCHA member institutions have 61 scheduled regular season games against nonconference opponents (not including a pair of holiday tournaments). Twenty-eight nonconference games will be hosted at WCHA venues, 31 are road contests and two will take place at a neutral site. The 61 games include 29 two-game series, one early-season tournament and a single-game matchup between Michigan Tech and North Dakota in the Hall of Fame Game Nov. 2 in Grand Forks, N.D.
Four league schools will carry the WCHA banner into a pair of holiday tournaments. Michigan Tech will host Ferris State (along with Michigan and Michigan State) in the Great Lakes Invitational at Detroit's Little Caesars Arena. Bemidji State and Minnesota State will participate in Minnesota's Mariucci Classic (along with St. Cloud State). Both tournaments are scheduled for the final weekend in December.
In addition to the two December events, Bowling Green will host RIT, Western Michigan and Ohio State in the 2019 Icebreaker Tournament in Toledo, Ohio, Oct. 11-12. The Falcons will be paired with RIT in the tournament's opening round.
As currently scheduled, the WCHA will face two Atlantic Hockey teams for a total of four games, three Big Ten programs for eight contests, a pair of ECAC foes (four games), four Hockey East teams (eight games), seven NCHC opponents (27 games) and independent Arizona State (eight contests). Pending matchups in the Icebreaker, GLI and Mariucci Classic could add up to three NCHC contests and/or seven games against Big Ten foes.
A full breakdown of nonconference opponents and tournaments, by institution:
- Alabama Huntsville – at UMass-Lowell, at Nebraska Omaha, at North Dakota
- Alaska Anchorage – at Maine, Nebraska Omaha, at Arizona State
- Alaska – Denver, at Penn State, Arizona State
- Bemidji State – St. Cloud State, at North Dakota, Mariucci Classic (Minnesota State, Minnesota, St. Cloud State)
- Bowling Green – at/vs. Miami, Icebreaker Tournament (RIT, Western Michigan, Ohio State), vs./at Western Michigan, vs./at Notre Dame
- Ferris State – at Miami, vs./at Western Michigan, Great Lakes Invitational (Michigan Tech, Michigan, Michigan State)
- Lake Superior State – Merrimack, Denver, at Michigan, at Notre Dame
- Michigan Tech – at Robert Morris, at North Dakota (Hall of Fame Game, Grand Forks, N.D.), Clarkson, Great Lakes Invitational (Ferris State, Michigan, Michigan State), at Arizona State
- Minnesota State – Arizona State, North Dakota, at Minnesota Duluth, Mariucci Classic (Bemidji State, Minnesota, St. Cloud State)
- Northern Michigan – Michigan State, at Boston University, St. Cloud State, at Cornell
2020 WCHA Postseason Tournament
The last three seasons have produced epic WCHA Championship moments and vivid scenes of overtime winners and underdog triumphs – all before frenzied, capacity crowds in hometown rinks. Once again in 2020, the WCHA will bring the singular intensity and passion of playoff college hockey directly to its member institution fans with an eight-team, three-round tournament hosted on-campus by the highest remaining seeds.
The 2020 WCHA Playoffs will consist of four best-of-three, quarterfinal-round series hosted by the league's top four regular-season finishers the weekend of March 6-7, followed by two best-of-three semifinal-round series hosted by the highest remaining seeds the weekend of March 13-14. The 2020 WCHA Championship will be a single game, hosted by the highest remaining seed, Saturday, March 21.
The postseason tournament winner will receive an automatic bid to the 2020 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship and the Jeff Sauer WCHA Championship Trophy, presented by Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup.
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Men's League
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, among the most historic, tradition-rich and successful conferences in all of collegiate athletics, will mark its 68th season of men's competition in 2019-20. The 10-team NCAA Division I conference consists of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Chargers), the University of Alaska Anchorage (Seawolves), the University of Alaska (Nanooks), Bemidji State University (Beavers), Bowling Green State University (Falcons), Ferris State University (Bulldogs), Lake Superior State University (Lakers), Michigan Technological University (Huskies), Minnesota State University (Mavericks) and Northern Michigan University (Wildcats). For more information, visit wcha.com.