Minnesota State-Mankato will return to UND's hockey schedule
The matchup will feature two of college hockey's three winningest teams of the last decade.
GRAND FORKS — UND is one of the three winningest college hockey programs over the last decade.
The other two are Minnesota State-Mankato and Quinnipiac.
The Fighting Hawks have lined up marquee nonconference series against both.
First, they'll play Quinnipiac on Oct. 14-15 this season in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Then, the following two seasons, they'll face the Mavericks, an old Western Collegiate Hockey Association foe.
UND and Minnesota State have signed a two-year scheduling agreement to play during the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons. The Mavericks will come to Grand Forks during 2023-24, while UND will play in Mankato in 2024-25.
This is the second scheduling agreement between the teams since they split into different conferences in 2013. UND and Minnesota State also played during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
The matchup will feature a longtime college hockey powerhouse, North Dakota, against an emerging Minnesota State program that has come to life in the last 10 years under a coaching staff from this area.
The head coach is Mike Hastings of Crookston and associate head coach is Todd Knott of Red Lake Falls. Darren Blue of East Grand Forks also was a longtime assistant who played a key role in building the Mavericks, but recently left for a job out of hockey.
Minnesota State is coming off of back-to-back NCAA Frozen Four appearances. In April, goalie Dryden McKay became Minnesota State's first Hobey Baker Award winner.
The contract with the Mavericks will keep a Minnesota-based team on the nonconference slate just as another one is scheduled to come off of it.
UND's current scheduling agreement against its biggest rival, Minnesota, has two years remaining.
This upcoming season, the Fighting Hawks will play the Gophers in Mariucci Arena. In 2023-24, the Gophers will come to Grand Forks.
After that, the series between longtime rivals is expected to go dormant again.
UND's 2023-24 schedule is already starting to fill up.
The Fighting Hawks have Minnesota State, Minnesota and Bemidji State at home, while they'll travel to play Boston University on the road.
In 2024-25, they'll play Boston University at home, Minnesota State on the road and Bemidji State once in Bemidji and once in Grand Forks.