The Gophers and North Dakota will meet in a WCHA series in Grand Forks for the last time tonight and Saturday. Next season the two meet only once -- at Mariucci.
And in 2013-14, North Dakota will be the eight-team National Collegiate Hockey Conferance and the Gophers will be in the Big Ten Conference.
But North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol wants the rivalry to continue ever season with a home-and-home series spread over three days. He said the games could be either Thursday and Saturday with a day for travel in between or Friday and Sunday.
"I think we will continue to play," Hakstol said after a UND fan luncheon on Friday. "You have to be respectful of everybody's scheduling issues. But I have, at this point in time, made it a point -- even though we have a ton of pressure and we need to have 20 home games much like a lot of others."
The Gophers are one of those teams that have to play a certain number of home games. I am pretty sure they have to play 20 home games, too, to satisfy their season-ticket holders.
"But I have a left opening to play a one game, home-and-home series every year with Minnesota," Hakstol said. "One game here, one game there. Each year. ... When you have a year in between [visits] you lose some of that special feeling.
"I know the excitement and I know the economic impact -- certainly from our side. But I seem to sense the same thing when we go to Mariucci. The same impact. Most importantly, it is such a great rivalry. It brings out so many different emotions, but at the end of the day it brings out the best in both teams."
This weekend will be the 285th and 286th meetings between the two teams. The Gophers lead the all-time series 142-128-14.
The Gophers beat UND 2-0, 3-2 in early November, but neither team has swept a four-game, regular-season series since 199192 when the Gophers did it.
"From my standpoint, I want to work hard to maintain that relationship absolutely on a regular basis," Hakstol said. "And I'd prefer to do it on a yearly basis."
Hakstol said North Dakota has not reached a schedule agreement yet with the Gophers, but has with Wisconsin. UND will play the Badgers twice each season.
"We're talking and, obviously, are going to work hard to do the same with Minnesota," Hakstol said.
The only team the Gophers have locked in is Notre Dame, for the next four seasons, Lucia recently said.
"I am going to save room for it,"Hakstol said, referring to Minnesota on UND's schedule. "I guess it is going to be up to [the Gophers]."