Boston College Hockey Heads West To Open 2011-12 Season

DETROIT - APRIL 08: Ben Smith #12 of the Boston College Eagles is congratulated by teammates on the bench after he scored a goal in the first period against the Miami Redhawks on April 8, 2010 during the semifinals of the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

College Hockey Inc. and the University of North Dakota announced today that the Fighting [REDACTED] will host the annual Ice Breaker Tournament to open the 2011-12 season. The tournament will take place on October 7 and 8 of this year.

The tournament's four team field is very strong next season, and includes North Dakota (7 National titles), Boston College (4), Michigan State (3) and Air Force. York is pumped:

"This will be our fourth appearance in the Ice Breaker Tournament and we're very much looking forward to it. This particular tournament is of great interest to us because of the perennial national powers in the field. It's our distinct privilege to be a part of it and we look forward to the stern early-season test that it will provide for our team."

The Ice Breaker Tournament will be a big, early test for the Eagles, who return all but three starters -- Brian Gibbons, Joe Whitney and John Muse -- next season. The program will be making its fourth appearance in the Ice Breaker, having previously participated in 1998 (Minneapolis), 2003 (East Lansing) and 2007 (Saint Paul).

BC and North Dakota are certainly no strangers to one another, having faced one another nine times in NCAA Tournament history, including three consecutive Frozen Fours from 2006-2008. The two programs have met 20 times previously, with North Dakota owning a slight 11-10-1 edge in the all-time series.

The Eagles and Spartans also share a long history of meeting up in the NCAA Tournament, though that series has been largely one-sided. Michigan State owns a 8-2 record over Boston College in the Tournament, thanks to the best-of-two (then best-of-three) format of the Quarterfinal round in the 1980s. Overall, the Spartans have a dominant 17-6-1 edge in the all-time series. The two programs last met in the 2007 NCAA Tournament Championship game, with Michigan State winning the school's third National title.

BC hasn't seen much of Air Force historically, but when the Eagles and Falcons hook up, it has been all B.C. The Eagles own a 5-0 lead in the all-time series, outscoring the Air Force Academy 44-12. BC and Air Force last met on December 29, 2007, an 8-2 victory for the Eagles.

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