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May 4, 2015
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WCHA Announces 2015-16 Composite Schedule
Highlights include 140-game quest for the MacNaughton Cup, nonconference tests and return of Final Five to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The 2016 WCHA Final Five returns to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.

EDINA, Minn. May 4, 2015 The annual 140-game quest for the MacNaughton Cup, an exciting nonconference schedule that includes seven in-season tournaments and the return of the Final Five to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., highlight the 2015-16 composite schedule for the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), as announced today by Commissioner Bill Robertson.

The announced schedule for the WCHA's 64th season of competition outlines game dates and opponents (both conference and nonconference) for each of 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 determined at a later date.

"On behalf of the WCHA and its member institutions, I am thrilled to announce the league's 2015-16 schedule," said Robertson. "This past season was a successful one on many levels and we are excited to build upon that foundation when we drop the puck again in October. I look forward to watching our teams compete on the national stage with an enticing nonconference schedule, including seven prestigious tournaments and several marquee series. Likewise, as the past two seasons have shown, the chase for the MacNaughton Cup is unrivaled for its intensity and passion.

"Additionally, we are excited to once again return to Grand Rapids, Mich. and the Van Andel Arena for the 2016 Final Five. Bringing our jewel event to this vibrant locale promises to be a showcase for the WCHA, our member teams, student-athletes and coaches, and our tremendous fans."

The full 2015-16 WCHA composite schedule can be found by clicking here (PDF Format).

Nonconference Schedule

WCHA member institutions have, at minimum, 65 scheduled games against nonconference opponents, with the opportunity for up to 69 depending on how tournaments play out. As of May 4, the nonconference slate includes contests against Atlantic Hockey (four games against three schools), the Big Ten (18 against all six), ECAC Hockey (four to six against two to four), Hockey East (two or three against one or two), the NCHC (22 against six) and Arizona State (Alaska Anchorage, Alaska, Bemidji State and Lake Superior state will play a total of six contests against the Sun Devils).

Eight league schools will carry the conference banner into seven in-season tournaments, including a trio hosted by WCHA schools.

Alaska Anchorage and Alaska will host the Kendall Hockey Classic (Anchorage) and Brice Alaska Goal Rush (Fairbanks), respectively, while competing in both. Bemidji State will defend its North Star College Cup title in Saint Paul, Minn., where it will be joined once again by Minnesota State. Ferris State will participate in the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis, while Michigan Tech will invite Northern Michigan to its Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit. Lake Superior State will play in a pair of tourneys the Ice Breaker Tournament (Portland, Maine) and the Catamount Cup (Burlington, Vermont).

A full breakdown of nonconference opponents and tournaments, by institution:

- Alabama Huntsville vs. Connecticut, vs. Colorado College, at North Dakota

- Alaska Anchorage Kendall Hockey Classic (Arizona State and St. Cloud State), Brice Alaska Goal Rush (RPI and American International), vs. Penn State

- Alaska Kendall Hockey Classic (St. Cloud State and Arizona State), Brice Alaska Goal Rush (American International and RPI), at Wisconsin

- Bemidji State Minnesota Duluth (home-and-home), North Dakota (home-and-home), vs. Arizona State, North Star College Cup (Minnesota and St. Cloud State)

- Bowling Green Ohio State (home-and-home), Western Michigan (home-and-home), at Canisius, at RIT, vs. Clarkson, Miami (home-and-home)

- Ferris State Western Michigan (home-and-home), vs. Wisconsin, Mariucci Classic (teams TBA), at Michigan

- Lake Superior State Ice Breaker Tournament (teams TBA), at Michigan State, vs. Arizona State, Catamount Cup (Brown, Colgate, Vermont)

- Minnesota State vs. Omaha, at St. Cloud State, Minnesota (home-and-home), North Star College Cup (Minnesota and St. Cloud State)

- Michigan Tech at Michigan State, Great Lakes Invitational (Michigan and Michigan State)

- Northern Michigan at Wisconsin, Great Lakes Invitational (Michigan and Michigan State), vs. Minnesota Duluth

League Play

The 140-game quest for the MacNaughton Cup begins with a single league series, Michigan Tech at Ferris State, Oct. 16 and 17 the first of 18 weekends that feature at least one WCHA matchup. The conference race begins in earnest with four series over Halloween weekend (Oct. 30 through Nov. 1), while Nov. 28-29 is the first of six weekends that feature a full slate of five WCHA series (also Dec. 4-5, Dec. 11-12, Jan. 8-9, Feb. 26-27 and March 4-5). Each team 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:

- Minnesota State and Michigan Tech, the two teams that finished one-two atop the league's 2014-15 standings and met for the Broadmoor Trophy, skate Jan. 15-16 in Houghton, Mich. for their lone regular season series of the season.

- Alaska Anchorage and Alaska will play in the annual Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup, facing off Dec. 11-12 in Anchorage before wrapping up the regular season March 4-5 in Fairbanks.

- The Cappo Cup, awarded each year to either Lake Superior State or Northern Michigan, will be contested in league play Feb. 26-27 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The teams will also meet for a home-and-home, nonconference series Oct. 16-17.

- Longtime rivals from their Division II and College Hockey America days, Alabama Huntsville and Bemidji State will renew acquaintances Nov. 27-28 in Huntsville and Feb. 26-27 in Bemidji.

- Bowling Green and Ferris State, two schools who have each participated in the last two Final Fives, meet in Ohio on the season's penultimate weekend, Feb. 26-27.

- Intrastate rivals Bemidji State and Minnesota State bookend their league season with series Oct. 23-24 in Bemidji and March 4-5 in Mankato.

- 2015 WCHA playoff rematches occur between Minnesota State and Lake Superior State (Jan. 22-23 at MSU), Michigan Tech and Alabama Huntsville (Nov. 6-7 at UAH), Bowling Green and Northern Michigan (Nov. 27-28 at BGSU), and Bemidji State and Ferris State (Dec. 4-5 at FSU and Jan. 22-23 at BSU).

2016 WCHA Playoffs and Final Five

The top eight teams in the final regular season standings (two points earned for a WCHA win in regulation or overtime, one point for a league tie) advance to the 2016 WCHA playoffs, which commence with four best-of-three, quarterfinal round series hosted at the home sites of the top four seeds the weekend of March 11-13. The four winners advance to compete for the Broadmoor Trophy (and an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament) at the 2016 WCHA Final Five, set for March 18 and 19 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich. Located in the heart of Michigan's second-largest city, the venue is the home of the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins and was the site of the 2014 Final Five.

2014-15 in Review

The second season of the "new look" WCHA proved that the league, like it has been for the better part of seven decades, will continue among the sport's elite both on and off the ice.

Among the highlights:

- No. 7/6 Minnesota State, No. 9 Michigan Tech and No. 18 Bowling Green gave the WCHA three ranked teams in the final USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine opinion polls.

- Minnesota State (first), Michigan Tech (third) and Bowling Green (seventh) gave the WCHA an NCAA-best three of the nation's top 10 winning percentages. Alaska (19th) rounded out the WCHA quartet in the top 20, just one behind Hockey East for most of any conference.

- MacNaughton Cup and Broadmoor Trophy champion Minnesota State earned the top overall seed for the NCAA tournament, where the Mavericks were joined by Michigan Tech.

- The WCHA finished with the third-best nonconference record in the country at .493 (30-31-9).

- Alaska (Kendall Hockey Classic and Brice Alaska Goal Rush), Lake Superior State (Florida College Classic) and Bemidji State (North Star College Cup) all captured in-season tournament titles.

- Minnesota State's Mike Hastings was named STX/ACHA Division I Men's Coach of the Year.

- Four WCHA players earned CCM All-America honors First Teamers Tanner Kero (MTU) and Matt Leitner (MSU), and Second Teamers Colton Parayko (UAF) and Zach Palmquist (MSU).

- MTU's Kero and Jamie Phillips were finalists for the Hobey Baker and Mike Richter Awards honoring the nation's top player and goaltender, respectively.

- Michigan Tech's Mel Pearson was tabbed as the College Hockey News Coach of the Year, while Minnesota State's Bryce Gervais earned Third Team All-USCHO.com honors.

- Kero and Ferris State's CJ Motte earned First Team Senior CLASS All-America status.

- Twenty players have signed professional contracts since the college season ended.