LAS VEGAS – College hockey will skate at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas next January when the inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational launches during the venue’s first NHL season. The four-team tournament, featuring Arizona State, Boston College, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan, will be played January 5-6, 2018 as announced today by bd Global, who will promote the event in partnership with T-Mobile Arena, home of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.
“Las Vegas is quickly transforming from a purely entertainment mecca to one of the world’s destination locations for sports as well,” said Brooks Downing, president of bd Global (www.bdglobalsports.com). “We are excited to partner with T-Mobile Arena to bring the best teams in college hockey to Las Vegas each year as the new era of hockey in the Valley begins this fall.”
Dan Quinn, General Manager of T-Mobile Arena, said, “We are thrilled to host the Ice Vegas Invitational next January in what will be the first Division 1 college hockey games played in T-Mobile Arena. Having the opportunity to be the home of the NHL’s new Vegas Golden Knights starting this fall, along with being the site for this collegiate hockey tournament, makes T-Mobile Arena the premier destination for sports fans worldwide. We look forward to a successful tournament.”
The four teams in the field represent some of the best in college hockey with a combined nine national championships and 38 Frozen Four appearances. Boston College leads the pack with five national titles and a record 25 berths in the Frozen Four.
Boston College coach Jerry York said, “We are always thrilled to showcase our program in new and exciting parts of the country against some of the top talent across the nation. We are honored to be a part of this tournament and excited to get there.”
Arizona State recently completed the transition of becoming an NCAA Division I program and is one of the nation’s fastest-rising programs after winning an ACHA National Championship in 2014. Coach Greg Powers is raising the talent level of the program with the nation’s 17th-ranked recruiting class coming in as the Sun Devils move into their second season at the D-I level.
Powers said, “We are very much looking forward to exposing the growing Vegas hockey market to NCAA Division I hockey. Being the only Division I program in the Southwest, it is important for us to try and gain as much exposure in this region as possible. Top that with being able to play two games against other great programs in the new T-Mobile Arena, this tournament will certainly be one of our season’s highlights.”
Three-time national champion Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan (1991 national champion) will set aside their in-state rivalry to take part in the first-time event. Tech finished 23-15-7 overall this past season and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament after winning the WCHA Tournament.
“We are honored to participate in the inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational,” said new Northern Michigan coach Grant Potulny. “We look forward to bringing Northern Michigan hockey to Las Vegas and are excited for the opportunity to play at the state-of-the-art T-Mobile Arena. With the Wildcats, Arizona State, Boston College and Michigan Tech in the field, this tournament will give Las Vegas and the surrounding areas an exciting look at college hockey.”
Michigan Tech will also be led by a new head coach after Mel Pearson accepted the Michigan coaching job last week.
“We’re excited to be in this tournament. I know our players, fans, and alumni are really looking forward to it,” said Michigan Tech AD Suzanne Sanregret. “It’s great to be able to help grow college hockey out west with tournaments like this. We were fortunate to play in the Arizona State tournament a couple years ago and our alumni really came out to support the Huskies. I think we’ll have another good turnout in Las Vegas, and we’re excited to bring Michigan Tech Hockey to our alumni and fans in the West.”
The Ice Vegas Invitational seeks to capture the excitement for hockey in Las Vegas as the new Vegas Golden Knights take the NHL ice for the first time next season. More than 9,000 local fans recently attended a hockey “open house” at T-Mobile Arena and the franchise has sold nearly 14,000 season tickets.
The Ice Vegas Invitational joins a number college basketball events in Vegas that bd Global runs in partnership with MGM Resorts International. bdG currently manages the MGM Grand Main Event men’s tournament and Play4Kay Shootout women’s tournament, and set an arena attendance record when UNLV battled Duke in the first college basketball game at T-Mobile Arena last December.
Ticket and hotel information for fans will be released at a later date and will be available at www.icevegasinvitational.com and on Twitter at @IceVegasInv.