The Free Press, Mankato, MN


March 18, 2014

The name's the same, but the Final Five will be different

Four teams. Three games.

The Final Five?

Questions about the name of the WCHA championship weekend popped up all weekend once the semifinal field was completed Saturday night.

Minnesota State qualified with its thrilling overtime win Saturday and first-round series sweep over Northern Michigan and will play Bowling Green on Friday afternoon. Alaska Anchorage will play the league’s regular-season champ, Ferris State, in the evening.

There are a few things different about the tournament, once the crown jewel of the league. For one, it won’t be at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for the first time since 2000. It will take place in Grand Rapids, Mich., and return to Minnesota next year.

Then there’s that issue of the name.

For years there were five teams. When a second-playoff game was added, there were five games.

What’s the fifth thing this time around?

A Twitter follower suggested it’s the fans. Not bad. But the days of 18,000 people packing the stands are long gone, thanks to the breakup of the league.

Still, the WCHA is probably wise to hold on to the name.

The brand has been a good one going back to the days before Minnesota State was in the league, when it was played at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee and the St. Paul Civic Center. The Mavericks’ first experience in the tournament actually took place at the Target Center in Minneapolis, the year before the X was built.

Maintaining the name also keeps open the possibility of returning to a five-team format one day, perhaps when Van Andel Arena and the Xcel Energy Center are ready to give the revamped WCHA a three-day tournament and if the league decides to keep all 10 teams in the playoffs (although tossing out the bottom two teams made the regular season much more important — and intriguing).

Text Only | Photo Reprints


Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Tiger Woods: 1 on 1 Stephen A. Smith -- I Accept ESPN Suspension ... 'It Was My Mistake' Oakland Raiders To Become San Antonio Raiders? - @TheBuzzeronFox Byron Scott: 'This is still a Lakers town' Jack White throws first pitch for hometown Tigers LeSean McCoy explains how Chip Kelly has helped his productivity Chicago Cubs win longest game in team history Will Browns have enough without Gordon? Anderson Silva To Return To UFC, Face Nick Diaz - @TheBuzzeronFox Bills Legend on Bon Jovi's Bid: "F-ck Bon Jovi" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Settlement sets new standards for NCAA Possible MLB trades before deadline 3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco?