BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State University and Beaver Hockey invite fans from all over Beaver Territory to join them in celebration of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season championship and possession of the coveted MacNaughton Cup from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday at the Double Tree and Green Mill of Bemidji.
The cup will be on display and players, coaches and staff will be present in the Doubletree Conference Room, which is attached to the Green Mill. A cash bar will be available and those in attendance will have the opportunity to purchase food off the Green Mill bar menu.
The Beavers secured the MacNaughton Cup Friday with a 3-2 victory at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. With the victory, the BSU claimed the 22nd regular season conference title in program history and its first since joining the WCHA for the 2010-11 season.
Fans are also invited to view and take photos with the MacNaughton Cup prior to the Beavers’ Feb. 24 game versus Minnesota State University, Mankato. Players will also be available following the game to sign autographs.
Tickets for the Beavers’ final regular season series, Feb. 24-25, are available at the Sanford Center Bob Lowth Ford Pickup Window from 3:30-6:00 p.m. weekdays or by calling (218) 441-4031.
Dating back 102 years to its original purchase in 1913, handcrafted of pure silver, standing three-feet high, and weighing more than 40 pounds, the MacNaughton Cup is the shining symbol of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and its distinguished tradition as a premier collegiate hockey conference since the league's founding in 1951.
The MacNaughton Cup is awarded annually to the winner of the league's regular season championship, and as a traveling trophy, is on display each season at the home of the reigning champion.
The MacNaughton Cup has traveled a long and winding road since its initial purchase in 1913 by the Calumet (Michigan) and Hecla Mining Company, but officially settled into a home with the original WCHA (MCHL/WIHL) in 1951.
In 1913, James MacNaughton, then president of Calumet and Hecla, Inc., and an avid supporter of amateur ice hockey, authorized the president of the American Amateur Hockey Association to purchase a cup (he said the price didn't matter) and present it to the Association's championship team at the end of the season. The first winner was a team from the Cleveland (Ohio) Athletic Club. The MacNaughton Cup remained with the AAHA until it ceased operations in 1920.
From 1921 to 1950, the Cup was fought for by semi-pro and intermediate hockey aggregations in Michigan's Copper Country. In 1951, the cup was donated by Calumet and Hecla, Inc., through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Endicott R. Lovell, to the newly-founded Midwest Collegiate Hockey League, forerunner of the WCHA. Lovell, president of the company at that time and the son-in-law of James MacNaughton, was also a ardent supporter of amateur hockey.
The MCHL chose – in the original spirit – to award the trophy to its regular-season champion. The MacNaughton Cup remained a part of the MCHL/WIHL until the league disbanded in March of 1958 for one year. In 1959-60, the seven original teams resumed formal competition under the name Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
The Beavers (19-11-3; 19-4-2-2 WCHA) have a weekend free from competition, Feb. 17-18, before returning to Sanford Center to host Minnesota State, Feb. 24-25. The opening face-off for each game is set for 7:07 p.m. Fans in attendance for the series opener will have the opportunity to view and take photos with the newly-acquired MacNaughton Cup prior to the game and join the BSU players for an autograph session following the game.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
(Portions courtesy of WCHA.com)