Beginning with the 2002-03 season, the WCHA changed its schedule rotation, creating “rivals” which would play each other four times each season. St. Cloud State and North Dakota were partnered up in a scheduling system that ended in 2009-10.
At that time, even though the WCHA expanded to 12 teams (adding Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha) and implemented a new rotating schedule, UND and SCSU continued to play four games each year. It is also assumed that North Dakota and St. Cloud State will partner up for four games each season in the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Over the past eight seasons, the fans have made their mark on the partnership between the schools. The UND/SCSU rivalry has a commemorative fan trophy, thanks to the Center Ice Club at St. Cloud State University:
The UND/SCSU Challenge Cup is awarded to the team which collects more points in the four regular-season games. As you may be able to see in the photo above, the winning team is engraved for each year.
UND won the Challenge Cup in 04-05, going 3-0-1 against the Huskies. St. Cloud took the trophy back in 05-06, sporting a record of 3-1-0 against North Dakota. In 06-07, the Sioux won two games and tied the other two, collecting six points and the Challenge Cup. The next season, the teams shared the Cup, with UND and SCSU each winning one game and tying the other two. In 08-09, North Dakota sprinted to the lead in the Challenge Cup race by winning both games in Grand Forks but needed a Saturday victory in St. Cloud to salvage a split on the weekend and reclaim the Cup. The following year (09-10), both series were splits, and the Challenge Cup was shared once again. Two years ago, UND claimed seven of eight points (3-0-1) and took back the trophy, while last season (2011-12) went down as another tie.
If you’re keeping track at home, UND has won the Cup four times, St. Cloud has claimed the trophy once, and the schools have shared the Challenge Cup three times. North Dakota has won the trophy in each odd-numbered season and will be hoping to do the same this year (2012-13).
This weekend’s games in St. Cloud will be the first two of four Challenge Cup games between the schools.
The Challenge Cup will be on display at the Center Ice Club pre-game social this Saturday, November 10th from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. in the upper level of Brothers Pub (119 5th Avenue South) in St. Cloud. This is a great opportunity to meet fans on both sides of this hockey rivalry. There will be complimentary food and door prizes. The event is free and open to all fans 21 and older.
For a full preview of this weekend’s game action, click here.