The Western Collegiate Hockey Association is one of the most elite college hockey conferences in the nation. Seven of the 10 men's WCHA teams are ranked in the NCAA Division I top 20. After the teams fight it out in best of three game first round playoffs, the winning teams make the Final Five, and the last team standing earns an automatic berth in the NCAA National Championship tournament at the end of March. The 2007 Final Five broke attendance records, drawing more than 19,000 spectators to watch the Gophers triumph over the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. This year's field looks extremely strong. The Colorado College Tigers recently wrapped up winning the regular season title and finished third in the national polls, and the Sioux finished second in the country. The Gophers finished the season on a hot streak, only losing one of their final six games, but it's been a frustrating season. They finished in the middle of the pack with a conference record of 9-12-7 and 15-14-9 overall, ranked 15th nationally. Other local teams to watch are Minnesota State, Mankato who finished fourth in the WCHA, and St. Cloud State who ended up fifth. But no matter who rises from the heap, the Xcel Energy Center will host not just great, but exciting and competitive teams.
March 20-22, 2008