First Great Lakes Invitational at Little Caesars Arena A Month Away

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DETROIT, Mi DETROIT – The 'College Hockey in the D' schedule is set to begin in a month, as the first Great Lakes Invitational held at Little Caesars Arena will take place on Monday, Jan. 1 and Tuesday, Jan. 2, in conjunction with the Inaugural Season at Little Caesars Arena. For the first time since 2011, the GLI will feature a team from outside the state of Michigan, as tournament mainstays Michigan, Michigan State and host Michigan Tech welcome Bowling Green to the two-day, single-elimination tournament that has become a holiday tradition for sports fans in Michigan for more than half a century.
The puck drops with a doubleheader matchup on Monday, Jan. 1 between Michigan Tech (WCHA) and Michigan State (Big Ten) at 2:30 p.m., followed by Michigan (Big Ten) against Bowling Green (WCHA) at 6:00 p.m. The winners of those contests will advance to the championship game for the MacInnes Cup on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 6:00 p.m., while the third-place game will take place at 2:30 p.m. on the same day.
Three new head coaches will be behind the benches for Michigan Tech, Michigan and Michigan State in the 53rd installment of the holiday tournament. Last season, Western Michigan claimed the MacInnes Cup during the Farewell Season at The Joe with a 1-0 overtime win over Michigan Tech.
Tickets are available now starting at $20 for the Great Lakes Invitational and can be purchased at, The Fox Theatre and Little Caesars Arena XFINITY Box Offices and To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000. For additional information, call (313) 471-6611.
Michigan Tech has secured a block of rooms at the Marriott Renaissance Center for fans attending this year's GLI. Rates at the Renaissance Center are $151 for each night before December 1 and can be booked online HERE. The rates do not include taxes.
The host school since the inaugural Great Lakes Invitational in 1965, Michigan Technological University has hoisted the MacInnes Cup 10 times in the tournament's history and has played in the championship game in four of the last five seasons. Coming off a WCHA Tournament Championship and a bid to the 16-team NCAA Tournament, the Huskies have started the season with a 7-6-4 overall record and currently are in a tie for second place in the WCHA standings (5-2-3 in conference play) under new head coach Joe Shawhan. Michigan Tech opened the season by winning the 2017 Ice Breaker Tournament on Oct. 6-7 with wins over then-ranked No. 16 Union and No. 6 Minnesota Duluth. Michigan Tech owns the second-highest scoring offense in the WCHA – averaging 2.94 goals per game – thanks to a balanced scoring attack with six players who have already registered double-digit points through 17 games.
"It's an honor for Michigan Tech to host the first GLI at Little Caesars Arena," said Tech head coach Joe Shawhan. "I couldn't be more thrilled to see the new building and all the features that come with it. It's always a fun tournament with great competition and this year will be no different."
This season's GLI will mark Michigan State University's 38th consecutive appearance. The Spartans hold the second-most MacInnes Cup championships in tournament history (12), and will look for their first GLI title since 2009 under the leadership of new head coach Danton Cole. Freshman forward Mitchell Lewandowski leads the Spartans offense this season and paces all freshmen nationally in points (18), goals (9) and points-per-game (1.29). The Clarkston, Mich., native has points in five of the Spartans last six games, totaling nine points (6-3-9) in that span. Having started the season with a 6-1-0 record at home, the Spartans currently own a 7-6-1 overall record and are 1-4-1-1 in the Big Ten. Two weeks after the GLI, MSU will once again compete in an NHL arena, as the Spartans will travel to New York City for a contest against Minnesota at Madison Square Garden as part of the "Super Saturday-College Hoops & Hockey" doubleheader on Jan. 20, 2018.
"Dating back to when I was a player, the GLI has always been one of the best events in college hockey and certainly one of the highlights of our year," said Michigan State head coach Danton Cole. "We're looking forward to this year's tournament and are extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity to play at Little Caesars Arena."
The University of Michigan enters the GLI having won the holiday tournament in two of the last three seasons and a record 16 times overall. After the retirement of head coach Red Berenson, who was at the reins of the program for 33 years, new head coach Mel Pearson had the Wolverines off to a fast start, as the team won five of its first seven games. Michigan currently ranks eighth in the nation in goals per game (3.50) through 14 contests. Senior captain Tony Calderone leads the Big Ten with 10 goals, while junior forward Cooper Marody is second in the conference in scoring with 21 points (4-17-21). Michigan's roster boasts a tournament-high 10 NHL Entry Draft picks, including freshman Josh Norris, who was drafted in the first round (19th overall) by the San Jose Sharks in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The Wolverines currently own a 6-6-2 overall record and are 2-4-2-1 in Big Ten play.
"We look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with the Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment and 313 Presents, and playing in the new Little Caesars Arena," said Michigan head coach Mel Pearson. "I've had the privilege to be a part of the GLI for the past 40 years as a player, assistant coach, and head coach and I believe it's the best college hockey tournament in the country."
Bowling Green State University enters the GLI field for only the third time in the tournament's history and its first appearance since 1984. Sophomore goaltender Ryan Bednard currently sits in the top-10 nationally in both goals-against average (10th, 1.92) and save percentage (9th, 0.929). The Macomb, Mich., native, and seventh-round pick (206th overall) of the Florida Panthers in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, also paces all WCHA goaltenders in the same categories. Currently sitting in a tie for second place in the WCHA standings (6-5-4 overall, 5-2-3 WCHA), the Falcons are led in scoring by freshman forward Cameron Wright, who has five goals and 10 assists through 15 games. His 1.00 points-per-game average ranks third overall in Division I Men's Hockey for rookie players and also leads the freshman class in the WCHA.
"Through the years at Joe Louis Arena, the Great Lakes Invitational established itself as one of the top tournaments in college hockey," said Bowling Green head coach Chris Bergeron. "Bowling Green Hockey is very excited to be part of this great tournament, especially as it makes a move to the new Little Caesars Arena. It should be a fun couple days of college hockey."