After making its debut last year, the Holiday Face-Off men’s college hockey tournament is coming back to Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee.
Sponsored by La Crosse-based Kwik Trip, the event will involve four NCAA Division I teams – the Wisconsin Badgers, Massachusetts Minutemen, Clarkson Golden Knights and Lake Superior State Lakers – for two days of competition on Dec. 28-29. Matchups will be announced and tickets will go on sale at later dates.
The tournament is put on by New Jersey-based event producer Gazelle Group Inc., which secured a contract in early 2020 with the University of Wisconsin for participation in the event later that year as well as in 2021 and 2022. The 2020 tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The inaugural Holiday Face-Off in December last year saw the Badgers take home the title after defeating the Yale Bulldogs 3-2, in overtime, and then the Providence Friars 3-2 in a shootout for the championship. Nearly 13,000 fans attended.
“The feedback we received from the teams, the fans and the media was tremendous, and we look forward to making the 2022 event even better,” said Rick Giles, president of Gazelle Group.
The tournament continues a longstanding Badger hockey tradition in Milwaukee. The Badger Hockey Showdown was hosted annually at the Bradley Center from 1989 to 2003, drawing an average of more than 26,000 fans per year. In addition, Milwaukee hosted the NCAA men’s Frozen Four in 1993, 1997, and 2006, where the Badgers won its most recent National Championship at the Bradley Center.
“This season’s Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off was a great event,” said Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato. “Our guys really enjoyed playing at Fiserv Forum and there was a great group of fans there to watch it all. It turned out be such a competitive and thrilling tournament and we were happy to take home the first title. We’re looking forward to getting back there for year two to watch it grow and get even better.”