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 remains to be seen whether North Dakota and St. Cloud State will partner up for four games each season in the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Over the past nine 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. In 2010-11, UND claimed seven of eight points (3-0-1) and took back the trophy, while the 2011-12 campaign went down as another tie. And last season (2012-13), the Huskies took five of eight series points to engrave their name on the trophy once again.
If you’re keeping track at home, UND has won the Cup four times, St. Cloud has claimed the trophy twice, and the schools have shared the Challenge Cup three times.
The teams will earn points toward the Challenge Cup this weekend in Grand Forks, but the winner of the trophy will not be determined until the teams meet in St. Cloud in late February and early March of next year.
The Challenge Cup will be on display at the SiouxSports.com UND/SCSU fan social this Saturday, November 2nd from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Muddy Rivers Ballroom (GuestHouse Inn and Suites near downtown Grand Forks). This is a great opportunity to meet fans on both sides of this hockey rivalry. There will be complimentary appetizers, fabulous door prizes, and a fan bus to and from Ralph Engelstad Arena. The event is free and open to all fans 21 and older.
Check back on Friday for a full preview of this weekend’s game action.