College Hockey, Inc., in conjunction with the University of North Dakota athletics department and Ralph Engelstad Arena, announced today that UND will host the annual Ice Breaker Tournament to open the 2011-12 season. The tournament will take place Oct. 7-8.
The 15th annual Ice Breaker Tournament will feature four of the most storied programs in NCAA men’s hockey, including North Dakota and Boston College, currently the top two ranked teams in the country, as well as Michigan State and Air Force.
The 2011 Ice Breaker participants have combined to win 14 NCAA championships, led by UND’s seven. Boston College has won four and Michigan State has won three. MSU (2007) and Boston College (2008, 2010) have won three of the last four NCAA titles.
“We were thrilled to accept an invitation to participate in the 2011 Ice Breaker at North Dakota,” said Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis. “This will add a pair of quality opponents to our 2011-12 schedule, and a big stage for our new coaching staff to usher in the next era of Michigan State hockey. North Dakota’s facility is top-notch, and we know that the tournament will provide our student-athletes a fantastic experience.”
“I’m really, really excited to hear that this is being added to our schedule,” said Michigan State team captain Torey Krug. “One of the reasons I came to Michigan State was the opportunity to play other top programs in the country. It will be a great experience for our team to play on a big stage so early in the season.”
Michigan State is appearing in the IceBreaker for the fourth time. The Spartans first appeared in the inaugural1997-98 tournament, downing Boston University and Wisconsin to capture the title. MSU hosted the event in 2004, dropping a 4-3 decision to Findlay before rebounding with a 5-4 victory over Minnesota-Duluth. The Spartans’ most recent appearance came in Boston in 2009, falling to host Boston University (2-1) in the final after dispatching Massachusetts, 3-1, in the semis.
This will be Michigan State’s second visit to the new Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks. The Spartans opened the 2007-08 season at “the Ralph” with the US Hockey Hall of Fame Game; the Fighting Sioux took a 6-0 decision.
“We are excited and honored to be able to bring such a prestigious collegiate hockey event to Grand Forks,” said UND athletics director Brian Faison. “There were a lot of moving parts that had to align to make this happen, and I particularly want to thank Ralph Engelstad Arena general manager Jody Hodgson and his staff for their efforts.”
“It’s fitting that we celebrate the start of the 2011 college hockey season at one of the crown jewels of the game, Ralph Engelstad Arena,” said College Hockey, Inc. executive director Paul Kelly. “College Hockey, Inc. is confident that North Dakota will be an outstanding host for this special event that brings together four of the elite college hockey programs in the country.”