The Hotdish?: WCHA Announces New Showcase Event
by Dane DeKrey/Staff Writer
ST. PAUL, Minn. WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod hopes his league's newly announced midseason "State of Minnesota College Hockey Showcase" will acquire a one-word catchphrase similar to Hockey East's coveted Beanpot tournament.
He couldn't come up with much.
"It would be great for this showcase to get a name like they have with the Beanpot out East," said McLeod. "With our showcase being in the Midwest, my first inclination was the Hotdish."
While a name like the Hotdish may not catch on, McLeod believes that the showcase that pits the WCHA's four Minnesota teams — Minnesota, Minnesota State, Saint Cloud State, and Minnesota-Duluth — against one another at the Xcel Arena in St. Paul, Minn., will. McLeod said that the creation of such a showcase has been in the works for some time, it was just a matter of working out what he called the logistics surrounding the event.
"We have had a long association with hockey in the state of Minnesota and the fans have been clamoring for an event like this for many, many years," McLeod said. "Now that we have something initiated, we feel a sense of responsibility to keep it going."
To keep it going, McLeod said, will take cooperation between all four Minnesota programs and the WCHA. And with complicated schedules and home game commitments, the showcase is being held on a one year "exploratory" basis, with aspirations of long term viability.
The host schools for the inaugural showcase will be Mankato and Duluth, both of whom forfeited a home weekend series in exchange. Doing so, according to Mankato Athletic Director Kevin Buisman, will have its costs and benefits, but ultimately, he believes the long term benefits will outweigh any short term costs.
"It's a wonderful to reach out to our alumni in the Twin Cities and great exposure for our program and the league," Buisman said. "It's also a financial windfall too large for a program like ours to ignore. I hope it can be a win-win situation for everyone involved."
The two schools roles were further explained in a press release by the WCHA.
"As host institutions, Minnesota State and Minnesota Duluth will split the gate proceeds, in a revenue sharing arrangement that also includes the Xcel Energy Center. The WCHA will retain broadcast and advertising rights for the event, which McLeod feels can be used to leverage exposure for the league during the season and for its signature postseason tournament, the Red Baron WCHA Final Five held each March in the Xcel Energy Center."
The showcase is slated for November 1, 2008 and tickets to the event range from $30-40 dollars and will be sold as a two game package deal.