The first Big Ten men's hockey tournament will be held at the Xcel Energy Center in 2014 and the third, too, in 2016.

The conference has announced the tournament will rotate between the Xcel and Joe Louis Arena in Detroit at least for the first four years.

The six-team Big Ten Conference will come into existence for the 2013-14 season. And at the end of that season, the conference tournament will be held March 20-22 at the X, the longtime home of the WCHA's Final Five. It will also be at the X in 2016.

In between, the conference will be at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit in 2015 and then return there in 2017.

All six teams in the conference, the Gophers, plus Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin will advance to the tournament every year. In Thursday's quarterfinals, the No. 3 seed will face the No./ 6 seed, and the the No. 4 seed will play the No. 5 seed.

In Friday's semifinals, the No. 1 seed will play the winner of the game between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds, while the No. 2 seed will face the winner of the game between the Nos. 3 and 6 seeds.

The championship game will be Saturday. If that format seems familiar, it is. The Final Five has used the same format the past two seasons when it expanded to 12 teams.

The winner of the Big Ten tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.


The WCHA's Final Five has been held at the Xcel Energy Center since 2001.

And don't be surprised if the new WCHA doesn't look at the X as a home for its postseason tournament every other year, too. League officials were waiting to see what the Big Ten would do and now that domino has fallen. The X has a week in March open in 2015 and '17.