In 2013-14 the five Division I hockey programs in Minnesota -- now all in the WCHA -- will be in three different conferences:
Big Ten: Minnesota
National Collegiate Hockey Conference: Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State
WCHA: Bemidji State, Minnesota State
But those same five schools are near finalizing an agreement to play in a four-team tournament in late January at the Xcel Energy Center, according to Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi.
"We are very close to getting it done," Maturi said. "It will be at the Xcel, that is what we are considering right now."
Maturi said on Saturday that the five Minnesota schools have all agreed to the general format, but nothing has been signed. Presumably the Gophers would be in the field every year, and three of the other four Minnesota teams on a rotating basis.
"We have to work out the finances and make sure everybody agrees to what it is," Maturi said, "and move forward."
He said the Gophers are interested in such a tournament because they want to keep playing the other Minnesota teams. "We want to play every one of them," Maturi said. "[This tournament] is the way we are going to do it."
Maturi said the tournament is being called the Minnesota Cup for now, but a formal name has not been agreed upon.