The NCHC was formed in 2011 following the creation of the Big Ten Hockey Conference, which pulled major contenders like the Minnesota Gophers and Wisconsin Badgers from the WCHA, and the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans and Ohio State Buckeyes from the CCHA. The remaining teams in the WCHA and CCHA banded together to form a new conference and the NCHC was born.
The NCHC is made up of the following teams: 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.
The last two national champions have come from the NCHC— North Dakota (2016) and Denver (2017).
Got it. So what’s the Frozen Faceoff?
The Frozen Faceoff is the name for the semi-final and final rounds of the annual NCHC post-season tournament (the quarterfinals are a best-of-three format and are hosted by the four higher seeds). All eight teams compete in the playoffs with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament—it’s kind of a big deal.
Minneapolis’ Target Center has hosted the Frozen Faceoff since the NCHC’s inaugural season in 2014. Past champions are Denver (2014), Miami (2015), St. Cloud (2016) and Minnesota Duluth (2017).
In addition to the action on the ice, the tournament also includes the NCHC Frozen Fest. This free event includes food, drinks, interactive games and live music.