The NCHC announced this week what has long been expected — that the league will play a 24-game conference schedule beginning in 2013-14.
UND already has begun work on lining up nonconference games for that year and beyond.
Next season, UND is expected to play eight nonconference games. It will open the season at the Fairbanks tournament, where it will play both UAF and UAA (a requirement to get the Alaskan exemption).
The Sioux also will play Notre Dame on the road. It’s a return trip for the Irish coming to Grand Forks last season. The Irish opened a new arena this season. Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said last year that they tried to get UND in for the inaugural season of the arena, but it didn’t work out.
Boston University will make its first trip to Grand Forks since November 1996 next season and the Sioux will return the trip to Boston for the 2013-14 season. The Sioux played at Agganis Arena three years ago in the Ice Breaker.
Also, I don’t know if it’s finalized yet, but UND is tentatively scheduled to host Holy Cross at The Ralph next season. It would be the first trip back to The Ralph for Holy Cross since its stunning upset of Minnesota in the 2006 regional.
Keep in mind that at this time last year, Omaha was penciled in for the Winnipeg game and Michigan was penciled in for the Ice Breaker, so things can change. But that’s the way it’s looking right now for next season’s nonconference.
As for conference play, UND is expected to play Omaha outdoors in Omaha in mid-February. It will be a two-game WCHA series with the first game being played indoors.
In addition to the trip to Agganis, UND has tentatively lined up Northern Michigan to come to The Ralph in 2013-14. The Sioux haven’t played the Wildcats since 1997.
A South Florida newspaper reported that the Sioux would play in the Christmas break tournament in Fort Myers. It sounds like that tournament is not yet a done deal, though.
If I recall correctly, I also believe there is something lined up with Vermont somewhere down the road. And as previously reported UND and Wisconsin have tentatively agreed to play for four years beginning in 2014-15.