BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – May 8, 2019 – The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association today unveiled its composite schedule for 2019-20, including an 84-game league slate, along with several intriguing nonconference contests and the second installment of the four-team Minnesota Cup in January. The 21st season of the WCHA will conclude with the 2020 WCHA Final Faceoff championship at Ridder Arena on March 6-7 in Minneapolis, Minn.
The 2019-20 composite schedule outlines weekend dates and opponents for each of the league's seven member institutions. Exact game days and times, which will follow the :07 and :37 format for league games and nonconference home contests, will be announced at a later date.
The second annual Minnesota Cup will be played at the University of Minnesota Duluth's Amsoil Arena on Jan. 4-5, 2020 and consist of four nonconference games featuring Bemidji State, Minnesota State, St. Cloud State and the host Bulldogs. Saturday's semifinals pit the Huskies against the Beavers and the host Bulldogs vs. Minnesota State, with Sunday featuring the consolation and championship games. Future Minnesota Cup hosts include Minnesota State (2021), St. Cloud State (2022) and Bemidji State (2023), with the WCHA's five Minnesota-based member schools rotating in participation each season.
In addition to the Minnesota Cup, Minnesota State and Minnesota will meet in a non-league game on Dec. 7 when the two squads faceoff in the 2019 Hall of Fame Game in Prior Lake, Minn.
The WCHA league schedule will once again feature 24 games in 2019-20, comprised of two series (one home and one away) against each of the other six member institutions. The chase for the Julianne Bye Cup begins the weekend of Oct. 4-5, when Minnesota hosts Minnesota State, St. Cloud State hosts Ohio State, and concludes the weekend of Feb. 21-22 with Minnesota State visiting Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth hosting Wisconsin and St. Cloud State traveling to Ohio State. A total of 15 weekends will feature at least one WCHA series, including 12 with the full possible allotment of three league sets (Oct. 18-19, Oct. 24-26, Nov. 1-2, Nov. 15-16, Nov. 22-23, Dec. 6-7, Jan. 10-11, Jan. 17-18, Jan. 24-25, Jan. 31, Feb. 1, Feb. 7-8, Feb. 14-15, Feb. 21-22).
Among the highlights:
- The two WCHA stalwarts that swept the league's regular season and postseason hardware and the national championship - Wisconsin (NCAA, Final Faceoff) and Minnesota (Julianne Bye Cup) – will renew their rivalry the weekend of Nov. 1 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis and again the weekend of Jan. 24 at LaBahn Arena in Madison.
- Northern Minnesota rivals Bemidji State and Minnesota Duluth, which have met in WCHA tournament play four of the last five years, face off Oct. 18-19 in Bemidji and again Jan. 17-18 in Duluth. The duo could also matchup on the final day of the Minnesota Cup on Jan. 5.
- Minnesota State and St. Cloud State renew acquaintances with an intra-state rivalry series Oct. 25-26 in St. Cloud and Jan. 17-18 in Mankato.
- Ohio State, which recorded a 1-0 upset of Wisconsin in Columbus and capped a pair of ties with shootout victories over UW in Madison a season ago, welcomes the Badgers to the OSU Ice Rink, Oct. 11-2 and visits the Dairy State, Feb. 14-15.
The WCHA, which led the nation with a .759 non-league winning percentage in 2018-19 (43-13-2), will play 58 games against non-league teams in 2019-20. The schedule features 11 contest against four of the six non-WCHA teams that qualified for the 2019 NCAA tournament – Clarkson, Princeton, Boston College and Cornell, while including 23 contests against nine ECAC Hockey opponents (and a possible two additional games in regular season tournaments), a minimum of 19 games against five College Hockey America (CHA) schools (with the potential for up to two additional tournament games), and at least 12 games against four Hockey East programs (with three additional tournament games against two schools a possibility).
A full breakdown of nonconference opponents and tournaments, by institution:
- Bemidji State – vs. Lindenwood, vs. Providence, at RPI, at Union, Minnesota Cup (Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State, St. Cloud State)
- Minnesota – vs. Colgate, at Robert Morris, vs. Hamline, vs. Minnesota State (Hall of Fame Game), vs. Yale, vs. Harvard (Nashville, Tenn.), vs. Boston College (Nashville, Tenn.)
- Minnesota Duluth – Icebreaker Tournament (UConn, Colgate, Mercyhurst), Nutmeg Classic (Quinnipiac, UConn, Yale), Minnesota Cup (Bemidji State, Minnesota State, St. Cloud State)
- Minnesota State – at RPI, vs. Merrimack, Windjammer Classic (Vermont, Penn State, Clarkson), vs. Minnesota (Hall of Fame Game), vs. Lindenwood, Minnesota Cup (Bemidji State, Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State)
- Ohio State – vs. St. Lawrence, at Colgate, vs. Cornell, vs. Princeton (Las Vegas, Nev.), vs. Quinnipiac
- St. Cloud State – at RIT, at/vs. Lindenwood, vs. Mercyhurst, Minnesota Cup (Bemidji State, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State)
- Wisconsin – at Lindenwood, vs. Penn State, at Princeton, vs. Harvard (Nashville, Tenn.), vs. Boston College (Nashville, Tenn.), at Robert Morris, vs. Colgate (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
2020 WCHA Postseason Tournament
All seven league teams advance to the 2020 WCHA Postseason Tournament, seeded by finish in the final regular season standings. As a reward for emerging as either WCHA champion or co-champion following the league's 84-game schedule, the top-seeded team will earn a bye for the quarterfinal round and will advance directly to the Final Faceoff championship weekend. The remaining six teams will play best-of-three, WCHA quarterfinal-round series, hosted by the No. 2-4 seeds, the weekend of Feb. 28-29. Those three winners will advance to join the top seed at the 2020 WCHA Final Faceoff. College hockey's top conference championship weekend is set for March 6-7 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women's League
The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will mark its 21st season in 2019-20. The nation's premier women's hockey conference, WCHA member institutions have won a record 17 national championships since the league's inception in 1999 (including 16 of a possible 19 NCAA titles), while producing seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, 101 All-Americans and numerous Olympic and national team members. The seven-team, NCAA Division 1 conference consists of: Bemidji State University (Beavers), the University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers), the University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). For more information, visit wcha.com.