The top-ranked women’s college hockey team kicks off the season this weekend in Minnesota. The No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers – not the Gophers – visit St. Cloud State for a Friday-Saturday series at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.  

If you can’t make the short drive up Interstate 94, Ridder Arena in Minneapolis will also be busy.

The defending national champion Gophers women’s hockey program is on the ice at Ridder Arena Friday night for an exhibition against the Minnesota Whitecaps, the state’s professional women’s hockey team.

The Whitecaps travel to Duluth Saturday for an exhibition with the Bulldogs.

The men’s schedule begins next weekend with Minnesota Duluth hosting Michigan Tech Oct. 1 at Amsoil Arena. Both teams finished last season ranked in the Top 20. Minnesota State and St. Cloud State each host Regina next weekend for an exhibition game.

The Gophers don’t hit the ice until Oct. 7 when they open the season in Alaska. They host the U.S. U-18 developmental team Oct. 14 at Mariucci Arena, but don’t play their first regular-season game at home until Oct. 21 against St. Cloud State.

The No. 2 Gophers women’s team opens the regular-season next weekend at Ridder Arena against Lindenwood. Duluth’s women’s team hosts No. 3 Boston College next weekend at Amsoil Arena, meaning the top three teams in the nation will be on display in Minnesota over the next two weekends.

The men's preseason poll will be released next week. 

Here’s a look at what regular-season games are on tap for the women’s and men’s opening weekends:

Women’s hockey opening weekend
Friday, Sept. 23
No. 1 Wisconsin at St. Cloud State, 6:07 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 24
No. 1 Wisconsin at St. Cloud State, 3:07 p.m.
Rensselaer at Maine, 3 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 25
Providence at No. 10 Boston University, 2 p.m.
Rensselaer at Maine, 1 p.m.

Men’s hockey opening weekend
Saturday, Oct. 1
Alabama-Huntsville at Ferris State, 4:07 p.m.
Army at Colgate, 6 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Minnesota Duluth, 7:07 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 2
Alabama-Huntsville at Ferris State, 2:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Minnesota Duluth, 4:07 p.m.

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