This weekend, the Michigan hockey team will take a break from its CCHA schedule by hosting this year”s College Hockey Showcase with Michigan State. Michigan will face No. 1 Minnesota on Friday and Wisconsin this Saturday.

On getting the chance to host top-ranked Minnesota on Friday, Michigan coach Red Berenson said: “I don”t know if this is a good time for us. They are on a roll, and I can”t say that we are coming off our best weekend at home. But I think we should be ready.”

Minnesota (5-0-1 WCHA, 10-0-1 overall) is coming off a sweep over conference rival Minnesota-Duluth and is one of only two undefeated teams in Division I hockey.

Good time or not, the Showcase is always a special event for the Michigan hockey program. It gives the team a chance to build and maintain its historic rivalries with two of its former Western Collegiate Hockey Association cohorts.

In its ninth year, the Showcase features four games. The two CCHA teams, Michigan and Michigan State, will each play against the two WCHA teams. Michigan State hosts Wisconsin on Friday and Minnesota on Sunday.

“The concept here was that we had four programs with a lot of history and success, four Big Ten programs, and we wanted to keep them in competition with each other even though we are in separate leagues,” Berenson said. “I think it”s good to play them every year.”

The WCHA began as the Midwest Collegiate Hockey League in 1951. It had seven members, three of which were Michigan, Michigan State, and Minnesota. Michigan dominated the league early on, winning six championships in the 1950s alone.

The WCHA was officially founded in 1959, and Wisconsin became a member 10 years later. In 1981, Michigan and Michigan State left the WCHA to join the more geographically compact CCHA. The move threatened the long-standing rivalries between these four programs of evaporating. In order to prevent this, the College Hockey Showcase was developed.

The first Showcase, played at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 1993, turned out to be a success and displayed the competitive nature of these rivalries.

“We hosted that Showcase,” Berenson said. “Minnesota was a good team that year, but we beat them 6-0 the first night, and Michigan State handled Wisconsin. After the games everyone was saying how much better the CCHA was. Sure enough, the next night Wisconsin came back and beat us and Minnesota bounced back and beat Michigan State.”

These teams have combined for 88 NCAA Tournament appearances and 19 championships. In addition, each program is among the top-15 winningest programs in college hockey, combining for 4,514 wins.

Within the College Hockey Showcase, Michigan has been the best so far with an 11-4-1 record. It has a 5-3 record against Minnesota and a 6-1-1 record against Wisconsin.

This weekend, college hockey fans have much to be thankful for as these teams get together again. The Showcase is an excuse to get away from conference games and an opportunity to stay focused over the holidays.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.