The Huntington Center and Bowling Green State University, in conjunction with the Hockey Commissioners Association and College Hockey Inc., have been chosen to host the 2019 Ice Breaker Tournament in Toledo, Ohio. Bowling Green, Ohio State, RIT and Western Michigan will take part in the four-team tournament Oct. 11-12, 2019.
A joint press conference will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 1:30 p.m. at the Huntington Center. The press conference will take place prior to Bowling Green’s home game against Western Michigan at 7:37 p.m. that evening in Slater Family Ice Arena. Representatives of BGSU, Western Michigan, College Hockey Inc. and The Huntington Center will be in attendance.
“As host of the 2019 Ice Breaker Tournament, next year’s men’s NCAA hockey season will in essence begin in Toledo,” said College Hockey Inc. Executive Director Mike Snee. “Bowling Green is one of college hockey’s most tradition rich programs and this will be a fitting way for the school to begin its 50th season of men’s ice hockey.”
The Ice Breaker Tournament, the traditional start to the college ice hockey season, annually brings together four of the nation’s top teams from four different conferences. The event is sponsored by the Hockey Commissioners Association and managed by College Hockey Inc. and began in 1997.
“There is no better way to open a college hockey season than the Ice Breaker Tournament, which has a rich history of bringing together incredible competition and terrific fans,” WCHA President and Men’s League Commissioner Bill Robertson said. “We are thrilled to have Bowling Green State University and the WCHA host the 2019 edition, which we know will add another storied chapter to the Ice Breaker legacy. As we have seen many times at the ‘Madhouse on Mercer,’ this region has a passionate fan base like no other. Our sincere thanks to the staff at Bowling Green, The Huntington Center, College Hockey Inc. and Ohio State, RIT and Western Michigan for making this happen.”
Western Michigan will face Ohio State on Friday, Oct. 11, at 5 p.m., followed by Bowling Green vs. RIT at 8 p.m. Winners will be paired up for the second day of competition, as will the losing teams. The first game of Saturday play will begin at 5 p.m., with Bowling Green playing its opponent at 8 p.m.
"We are excited to take part in the Ice Breaker Tournament and to face two quality opponents,” BGSU Hockey Head Coach Chris Bergeron said. “Winning the GLI Championship last year was a highlight of our season. For us, participating in events like the Ice Breaker are important for the continued development of our program."
Past Ice Breaker champions include Boston University (three times), Minnesota (three times), New Hampshire (twice), Boston College (twice), Notre Dame (twice), Air Force, Colorado College, Denver, Michigan State, Michigan Tech, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Vermont. This year’s Ice Breaker Tournament featured Notre Dame, Providence, Miami and Mercyhurst in Erie, Pa. Notre Dame defeated Providence 3-0 in the championship.
Each of the last three NCAA champions opened their seasons in the Ice Breaker Tournament and the last two hosted: Minnesota Duluth in 2017, Denver in 2016 and North Dakota in 2015.
Bowling Green played in the Ice Breaker in 2001, while Ohio State has played in the tournament three times, most recently in 2016. It will mark both RIT’s and Western Michigan’s first appearance.
“BGSU is pleased to once again work with our great partners at the Huntington Center to bring national attention to Northwest Ohio,” BGSU Director of Athletics Bob Moosbrugger said. “We look forward to working with College Hockey Inc. to make this the premier event to usher in the 2019-20 college hockey season.”