Tuesday, October 13, 2015
10 Things To Look Forward To This Big Ten Hockey Season
It's usually said that third time's a charm. As the Big Ten Conference prepares to opens its third official hockey season, we have high hopes that season no.3 will in fact be a good one.
Incoming rookies, television showcases, and a whole new year, there's no doubt that are lots of things we are looking forward to in the 2015-16 season. To save you the reading time, we've decided to cut that list. Here are our top 10 things to look forward to this year:
1. TV Spotlight: We have a total of 60 games televised this year. 60! Regional networks carry the brunt of that load, covering 33 games, while the Big Ten Network will air 22 games. ESPNU and ESPNews continue to attempt a comeback in hockey and are broadcasting six games. The more national tv coverage we have, the more our game and conference is spread to other parts of the U.S. Pass us the clicker, we're in.
2. Non-Conference Schedules: Non-conference games can always be a lot of fun. We get a glimpse at the new D1 Arizona State University when they visit the Kohl Center at the end of the month, a game you're not going to want to miss. In addition, each state has its own pride on the line with various match-ups and tournaments throughout the year (North Star Cup in Minnesota, Great Lakes Invitational in Michigan). While conference head-to-heads are fun, we like to see how our teams show up against those not lucky enough to be in the Big Ten.
3. Penn State: Not to be unfair to the other squads but for awhile Penn State had been the redheaded stepchild of the bunch. The younger brother. But I think they've finally grown up -- maybe even bigger than some of the older brothers. They've hooked fans, they've got a great recruiting squad and we think it's going to be their season to really shine.
4. Fanfare: We put a call to action last year, following another poorly attended conference tournament. Will the fans answer that call? By now most (hopefully) realized that the Big Ten isn't going anywhere. So can we finally get back to watching and enjoying college hockey? We're excited to see the fans out in full force this season.
5. Tourney Time in St. Paul: We have a slight biased here, making our home in the State of Hockey, but let's be honest, tournament time is just better in St. Paul. Year one's attendance and showing at the Big Ten Conference Championship might suggest otherwise, but we're looking forward to having the conference kings back within Minnesota's borders.
6. Outdoor Hockey: It may be getting a bit overdone, but there's still something about watching a hockey game against the backdrop of snowflakes and fans in bundled hats and coats. There has been no guarantee of a Big Ten team participating in an outdoor game yet, we'd like to see a battle of the UM's (Minnesota and Michigan) at the Big House.
7. Badger Bounce Back: Even as a Gopher fan, I have to admit I hope Wisconsin can bounce back from a disappointing season last year.
8. Conference Dominance: Big Ten becoming the top conference this year? We sure hope so!
9. Freshman Frontmen: The majority of Big Ten teams this season are young -- very young. Will the Big Ten have a standout like Jack Eichel? We think there are a couple contenders (a breakdown coming up in the next post).
10. Because it's college hockey. Enough said. Drop the puck.