Minnesota's five NCAA Division I men's programs tried to stage their own state championship - known as the North Star College Cup - from 2014 to 2017, only to give up after four years.
Starting in 2018-19, the State of Hockey's five NCAA Division I women's teams will take their shot at succeeding where the men failed.
The University of Minnesota's Ridder Arena in Minneapolis will host the inaugural Minnesota Cup on Jan. 5-6, 2019, featuring the Gophers, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State-Mankato and St. Cloud State in a tournament format.
The site of the Minnesota Cup will rotate among the five schools with Amsoil Arena in Duluth hosting the 2020 tournament followed by Minnesota State in 2021, St. Cloud State in 2022 and Bemidji State in 2023.
The five schools will each take a turn sitting out of the tournament for one season. All four games are considered nonconference games.
Bulldogs coach Maura Crowell said the Minnesota Cup is partially in response to the challenges all five schools have faced scheduling nonconference games since former WCHA rival North Dakota folded its program after the 2016-17 season. That has left WCHA teams with four fewer conference games on their schedule each season.
"Losing North Dakota, everyone is dealing with the challenge of replacing four games," said Crowell, whose Bulldogs were able to schedule nonconference series with Boston College, Clarkson and Quinnipiac in 2018-19. "We all came together and figured this would be a good way to not only help find nonconference games but also have something kind of neat.
"It's a cool way to fill in some games and do something for the Minnesota area teams."
The men's North Star College Cup, which was held in late January at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, ended after the 2017 season due to squabbles between the five schools. The tournament was hosted by the Gophers, who participated in the tournament every year while reaping almost all of the financial benefits. The other schools took turns sitting out one year and gave up home dates to participate in the tournament.
UMD schedule released
In addition to announcing the Minnesota Cup, the WCHA also released its composite schedule for 2018-19.
The Bulldogs open the season at home for the first three weekends of 2018-19, hosting the Minnesota Whitecaps in an exhibition on Sept. 22, Boston College in nonconference play Sept. 28-29 and then the Gophers to open WCHA play Oct. 5-6.
2018-19 UMD women's schedule
Home games in CAPS
Subject to change
Sept. 22 - MINNESOTA WHITECAPS (exhibition)
Sept. 28-29 - BOSTON COLLEGE
Oct. 5-6 - MINNESOTA*
Oct. 12-14 - at Wisconsin*
Oct 19-20 - BEMIDJI STATE*
Oct. 26-28 - ST. CLOUD STATE*
Nov. 3 - MINNESOTA WHITECAPS (exhibition)
Nov. 23-25 - at Clarkson
Dec. 7-9 - MINNESOTA STATE-MANKATO*
Jan. 5 - vs. Minnesota (Minnesota Cup, Minneapolis)
Jan. 6 - vs. TBD (Minnesota Cup, Minneapolis)
Jan. 11-13 - at Bemidji State*
Jan. 18-19 - OHIO STATE*
Jan. 25-26 - QUINNIPIAC
Feb. 1-3 - at Minnesota*
Feb. 8-9 - ST. CLOUD STATE*
Feb. 15-16 - WISCONSIN*
Feb. 22-24 - Minnesota State-Mankato*
March 1-3 - WCHA first round
March 9-10 - WCHA Final Faceoff, Minneapolis
* - WCHA series