This weekend’s North Star College Cup, an annual four-team college hockey tournament involving the state’s five Division I programs held at the Xcel Energy Center, will be the last one. It began in 2014 after conferences realigned.
The University of Minnesota, the host of the event, released a two-paragraph statement Tuesday explaining its demise. It read:
“Following discussions between the five institutions, the decision has been made that the North Star College Cup will not continue after this year’s upcoming tournament.
“Our institutions had hoped the tournament would appeal more to fans, however the interest level has not grown over the last four years as we had hoped. In addition, teams have expressed interest in rewarding their fans with games at their home venues.”
The Gophers played every year, the other four teams rotated in.
Different teams won the first three North Star Cups: the Gophers (2014), Bemidji State (2015) and St. Cloud State (2016).
The pairings for this weekend final tournament: Bemidji State vs. St. Cloud State, 4 p.m. and Minnesota Duluth vs. Gophers, 7 p.m. Game times Saturday are the same, with the first-day losers meeting first.
UMD is rated No. 2 in the latest USCHO.com poll, the Gophers are No. 6 and the Beavers are No. 20.
The Gophers have struggled against state rivals in recent years, including in the North Star Cup. In three previous tournaments, their record was 1-4-1.
The first year the Gophers won it, they tied UMD 4-4 in overtime. They took home the trophy by winning a shootout.
• Farmington High School sophomore Lauren Peterson was named the Gatorade Minnesota girls’ cross-country runner of the year. She placed second in the Class 2A state meet last fall and was 25th in the national Foot Locker Championships.
• Tucker Hibbert of Pelican Rapids, Minn., will try to win his 10th consecutive Snocross gold medal at the X Games in Aspen, Colo., on Thursday afternoon. “It’s no different going for the 10th than going for the first. I have to go in ready to battle to the finish.”
• Keisha Hampton, a Lynx reserve forward, scored 37 points and had 16 rebounds for Bnot Hertzeliya in an 80-69 lost to Maccabi Ramat Hen on Monday in Israel.
• Fairbanks Ice Dogs goalie Josh Benson, 19, a Stillwater native, was the NAHL’s Midwest Division star of the week. He was 3-0 and stopped 47 of 50 shots.