North Star Cup Rooted in College Tradition
Sports are a natural means to fuel healthy rivalry among competitive
schools. Though college football rivalries are as old as the institutions themselves, hockey rivalries are just as fierce
- perhaps even fiercer.
The North Star Cup is just one of those fierce competitions that rouses
its fans into frenzy every time it comes around. The event involves five teams within the Minnesota college program: the University
of Minnesota Gophers, the Minnesota State University Mavericks, the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, the St. Cloud
State University Huskies, and the Bemidji State University Beavers.
History of Event/Team
The North Star Cup
tournament began as an effort to amp up the competitive spirit among Minnesota schools. The first ever North Star College
Cup was held on January 24, 2014, and ended with the Gophers emerging victorious. The game had gone into overtime and led
to a shootout with the Gophers' Kyle Rau and Seth Ambroz scoring clean shootout goals.
The North Star
Cup was modeled after the Beanpot Tournament, which involves four colleges in Boston, Massachusetts. "Beanpot," of course,
refers to Boston's nickname, "Beantown." The Beanpot Tournament is a rich tradition in Boston, dating all the way back to
1952. Like the North Star Cup, it was designed to maintain healthy rivalry among the schools.
There's an added bonus
to appearing in the North Star Cup: that of exposure. The tournament gives players a chance to capture the attention of professional
scouts. The UMD Bulldogs, for instance, have seen their share of players enter into the National Hockey League. Pat Boutette
was the first, starting the 1975-76 season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Another Bulldog, Curt Giles, went on to play for
the Minnesota North Stars, and from there enjoyed a pro career with the New York Rangers and the St. Louis Blues. Brett Hull
was the third, entering the big time in 1986 and eventually enjoying a long career that included stints with two Stanley Cup
State spirit pervades every aspect of the North Star College Cup. The coveted trophy of the tournament
is a tribute to all things Minnesota. The base is made of red oak and birch that is native to the state. It also contains
hickory, which is used to make hockey sticks. The logos of all five teams are printed on pucks surrounding a star mounted
to the base.
Attendance at the 2014 North Star College Cup on January 26 was a testament
to instate pride. Anyone who's ever attended a college game knows the excitement these games can generate. They are full of
team pride and exuberance. There is a fever in the air leading up to the games. Game day is the time to let it all out. Sports
fans in general are pumped at everyday events. When a school's pride is at stake, the energy of the fans is exponential, for
the winner not only gets a physical trophy, but bragging rights as well. There are some things in life you just can't put
a price on.
So it should come as no surprise to anyone that holders of North Star Cup tickets were, shall we say, an
exuberant bunch. No one can blame them. They watched the Gophers' goalie, University of Minnesota sophomore Adam Wilcox, stop
76 out of the 81 shots winged at him, a performance that earned him the tournament's Most Valuable Player award. Wilcox was
named the Big Ten Conference's Third Star of the Week shortly after.