On Thursday, Chip Malafronte of the New Haven Register tweeted that Sacred Heart, Quinnipiac, UConn and Yale would be playing a four-team tournament in 2019-20 as well as 2020-21.
Other details, such as format and location, have yet to be announced.
This is fabulous news. Boston has the Beanpot on the first two Mondays of February between the two hockey schools in Boston as well as one in Cambridge and Chestnut Hill, and it’s one of the most anticipated hockey events on the calendar in the city every year. UConn already plays the other three Division I teams in the state on an almost yearly basis, but tournaments are always fun.
In addition, this yet-to-be-named tournament could spawn spinoffs in other sports like the Beanpot has. Since the Big East days ended, UConn hasn’t had a strong rivalry with anyone, and this sort of thing can get those rivalries going with in-state teams because as the old cliché goes, “familiarity breeds contempt”.
The Boston-area schools hate each other. Part of that is the fact that Boston College and Boston University are three miles away from each other on Commonwealth Avenue, with Northeastern less than five miles away from any of them and Harvard just across the Charles River. But pure proximity won’t do much if there isn’t any other reason for contempt.
Once the schools play hockey against each other every year for a little while, the rivalries will come. Someone will feel slighted for some reason or another. There will be a dirty play or a referee who missed an important call and before you know it, a rivalry is born. Pre-existing rivalries like the one between Yale and Quinnipiac will only get more intense.
UConn needs more of those, whether in the American Athletic Conference or not. Not to mention, more matchups against perennial contenders like Yale and Quinnipiac will also help bolster the Huskies’ strength of schedule and ability to rise up in the Pairwise rankings.