ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 07: The North Dakota Fighting Sioux watch as the Michigan Wolverines celebrate the win after the semifinals of the 2011 NCAA Men's Frozen Four on April 7, 2011 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Michigan Wolverines defeated the North Dakota Fighting Sioux 2-0. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Editors Note: Wisconsin's potential non-conference scheduling agreement with North Dakota hinges on the school officially retiring the 'Fighting Sioux' nickname. Earlier this week UND resumed using the nickname.
According to an article in the Grand Forks Herald on Friday, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa reiterated in formal terms this week “that (they) won’t allow their athletic teams to compete with schools under NCAA sanctions due to American Indian imagery.”
The future of the Wisconsin hockey schedule is starting to come together. At this point, we know who Wisconsin's non-conference opponents will be for the 2012-13 season.
Last month Andy Baggot from the Wisconsin State Journal tweeted that the Badgers are scheduled to play series with Northern Michigan, Penn State, Miami (OH), and Lake Superior State. The Northern Michigan series is a road series for the Badgers but will be played at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
The Penn State series will be played at the Kohl Center, and the Lake State series is expected to be a Badger home date as well. It's not public if the Miami series will be played in Madison or Oxford.
Next season is the last for the Badgers in the WCHA, so non-conference schedules are going to change dramatically in the future. Gone are guaranteed dates with Denver, Colorado College, Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota.
However, it sounds like the Badgers are working hard to keep some of those rivalries intact.
With only six teams in the new Big Ten, the Badgers will only play a 20 game league schedule as opposed to the 28 game WCHA schedule they play right now. That means Wisconsin will play on average seven non-conference series per season which gives them unprecedented flexibility.
It's been widely speculated that once the Badgers move to the Big Ten conference, they would like to continue to play North Dakota in a non-conference series every season. Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves noted as such in a press conference after playing North Dakota earlier in the season.
Grand Forks Herald beat writer Brad Elliott Schlossman noted Friday that the Badgers and Fighting Sioux have a tentative agreement to play a series once a year for four years starting in 2014, which is the second year of the Big Ten.
As pointed out by Duluth News Tribune beat writer Kevin Pates, the Badgers only play North Dakota once next season, in Grand Forks February 1-2.
Then according to Schlossman, the Badgers and Sioux will not play in the 2013-14 season, and will start a four year series rotating between Madison and Grand Forks.
As I previously mentioned, one of the advantages with the Big Ten is that the Badgers will have unprecedented schedule flexibility.
With UW having to fill seven non-conference series annually (presuming they never go to Alaska, or play in the Ice Breaker), you can essentially have four one-for-one series set up over two years with three one-way series for teams coming to the Kohl Center.
How I see the (hypothetical) schedule shaking out over a two year period:
Year 1-@UND, @NMU, Miami, Denver, Bowling Green, RPI, UMass + 10 home B1G & 10 away B1G
Year 2-UND, NMU, @Miami, @Denver, Holy Cross, Ferris State, Union + 10 home B1G & 10 away B1G
Years 3 & 4 you trade in maybe CC, UMD, and Maine for Miami, Denver, and Northern Michigan (keeping the annual UND series).
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