June 11, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS - The National Collegiate Hockey Conference will conduct its NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey championship tournament at Target Center in Minneapolis beginning in 2014 to conclude its inaugural season.

NCHC Commissioner Jim Scherr and Target Center Vice President and General Manager Steve Mattson were joined by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak in making the announcement today of a five-year agreement at a news conference at the arena.

The winners of the conference quarterfinals, which will be played on the home ice of the top four regular-season finishers in the eight-team league, will qualify to come to Minneapolis for the NCHC Championship at Target Center. CBS Sports Network, the Conference’s national television partner, will televise the tournament’s two semifinal games and the championship game. A third-place game also will be played at Target Center. The dates and times for the games of the NCHC Championship at Target Center will be announced at a later date.

“We welcome the opportunity to host the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Championship tournament for five years beginning in 2014. This is very significant for our city,” said Mayor Rybak. “We also will be proud to showcase a revitalized Target Center, which competes with any arena in America for top sports attractions. The tournament’s games over a March weekend will be a significant economic benefit to the hospitality community in Minneapolis, from hotels to restaurants and other businesses.”

The agreement between the NCHC and Target Center is the second major announcement in the last month for Minnesota’s preeminent sports and entertainment arena, following news that the home of the NBA’s Timberwolves and WNBA’s 2011 World Champion Lynx will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation over the next several years.

“The athletic directors and coaches of our member institutions are pleased that we will present our men’s ice hockey championship at a first-class venue in one of the nation’s best markets for college ice hockey,” said Scherr. “It is our goal to become an outstanding college ice hockey conference in every way, and this announcement is in keeping with that goal.”

“We are thrilled to have such an exciting event come to our building and our city,” said Mattson. “Those in attendance each year and the millions watching on CBS Sports Network will surely be impressed not only with the exceptional talent on the ice representing a great college hockey conference, but with what Target Center offers as a first-class sports and entertainment facility.”

During its 21-year history, Target Center has hosted an array of outstanding ice hockey events, including National Hockey League regular-season and pre-season games, International Hockey League games, four University of Minnesota “Border Battle” showdowns against Wisconsin, WCHA Final Five tournaments, Minnesota State High School tournaments, and United States Olympic Team exhibition games.

“Target Center and Minneapolis have a solid reputation for making teams and fans feel welcome,” said Scott Sandelin, head coach of the 2011 NCAA national champion University of Minnesota Duluth. “Our conference’s players, coaches and loyal fans will have a great home for our tournament in a city with a great history of supporting college ice hockey.”

About Target Center:
Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis’ vibrant Warehouse District and adjacent to Target Field, Target Center opened its doors in 1990 and is best known as the home of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. The arena, owned by the City of Minneapolis and operated by AEG, attracts more than 1 million visitors a year thanks to its professional basketball teams, sporting events such as college and high school hockey and high school basketball and entertainment events including major concerts, family shows and other attractions.

About the National Collegiate Hockey Conference:
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference is the eight-school, Division I men’s hockey conference that will start play in the 2013-14 season. The NCHC’s member institutions are: Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Nebraska Omaha, University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University and Western Michigan University. Since 2000, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference has produced four NCAA Champions, 14 NCAA Frozen Four appearances, 12 conference regular-season championships and 12 conference tournament championships. All eight members have been participants in the NCAA Ice Hockey Championship tournament at least once since 2010, including five teams in 2012.

About CBS Sports Network:
CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) is the 24-hour cable destination of CBS Sports. The Network covers more than 340 live games annually, showcasing 30 men’s and women’s sports, in addition to a variety of studio shows, documentaries and original programs. CBSSN’s live programming is highlighted by college sports including teams from the Mountain West, Conference USA, Atlantic 10, Patriot League, the United States Naval Academy and the United States Military Academy, as well as Major League Lacrosse, National Lacrosse League and the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing series. CBSSN’s daily programming includes ROME hosted by veteran sports personality Jim Rome and the Tim Brando Show. The Network also is the home of Professional Bull Riders (PBR). CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers including Verizon FiOS Channel 94 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 643 (1643 in HD) and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 613 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.