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Breaking Down The NCAA Hockey Tournament: Hunger Games Edition

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As punishment for a rebellion against the NCAA in which a 13th district (Alabama-Huntsville) was ultimately destroyed, college hockey programs from each district are selected by PairWise Rankings to participate in the Hunger Games, an event in which the participants (or "tributes") must fight in an indoor arena controlled by Holy Cross, Minnesota, Michigan Tech and Yale, where every tribute must fight one another until only one remains.

On Sunday, citizens of the Hockey East District gathered in the center of town for the annual reaping. As you know, each conference is asked to send a number of tributes into a tournament known as The Hunger Games.

On this particular day, 16 names were called. Four of them, the Boston College Eagles, Boston University Terriers, Maine Black Bears and UMass-Lowell River Hawks, were sent to the arena of The 65th Annual Hunger Games. They and 12 other teams will fight for the right to be declared the Victor.

The participants spend the last two weeks preparing for the carnage ahead of them. The Capitol revealed that the location for this year's Hunger Games would be the post-apocalyptic, hockey wasteland known as "Tampa," adding to the intrigue.

As we prepare for the 65th Annual Hunger Games, let's take a look at the "tributes" to see who has a chance or surviving and whose face we'll see in the Worcester sky at the end of day two.

May the single-elimination tournament odds be ever in your favor!


16. Air Force Falcons (District 9 Male) - In a dash to the Cornucopia, likely to make mistake of going for the same backpack as Boston College. Not much of a match for the Eagles, they'll try to reach for the same weapons, leaving themselves vulnerable to odd-man rushes.

15. Cornell Big Red (District 9 Female) - Likely to die in a big red bloodbath near the Cornucopia on day one.

14. Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks - (Rue) - Lowell and BC become allies. Lowell is similar in size and demeanor to Boston College's sister Merrimack, which is a major factor in BC's decision to team up with them. Doesn't seem to pose a real threat according to the PairWise, but the Eagles will try to keep them in the game as long as it can (until they get past Miami and Michigan, anyway).

13. Western Michigan Broncos (District 5 Male) - Likely to die in a bloodbath on day one.

12. Denver Pioneers (Foxface) - Clever and evasive, she uses ingenious strategies, such as hiding in the Midwest Regional Bracket at the Resch, in order to survive.

11. Michigan State Spartans (Marvel) - Known simply as the "program 1 from the CCHA," not much is known about Marvel. As one of the last teams into the tournament, however, Marvel might just sneak up on a competitor (Union) and show what they are really capable of.

10. Boston University Terriers (Peeta Mallark) - BC's fellow tributes from District Hockey East, BU is described as being "medium height with stocky build." BU has a way with words, is a brilliant liar and covers for himself and Jack Parker on multiple occasions. An unlikely ally, hopefully someone else kills them first so BC doesn't have to.

9. Minnesota Golden Gophers (District 4 Male) - Likely to die in a bloodbath on day one, even if the arena is close to home.

8. Miami RedHawks (Clove) - Arrogant, strong, and can use many weapons, especially knives, and known to never miss its target. Has a special hatred of Boston College because of their high seed and propensity to bounce them from the NCAA Tournament.

7. Ferris State Bulldogs (District 8 Female) - The fire she starts on the first day attracts the attention of the Careers at the end of day one (Denver). Unlikely to survive more than a few days in the harsh Midwest Regional arena environment.

6. Union Dutchmen (District 4 Female) - Part of the Career Alliance, easy to dispatch with a few tricks.

5. Maine Black Bears (Glimmer) - From the strong college hockey district of Hockey East, this Career has what it takes to down one of the favorites in the Hunger Games. Still, a lack of focus may lead to this "tributes" untimely demise.

4. Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (District 3 Male) - Skilled in explosives, the Bulldogs are likely to survive past the first day. But for all that the Bulldogs bring to the table, a "tribute" could turn their strength against them with the proper plan in place.

3. North Dakota Fighting [REDACTED] (Thresh) - Standing over six feet tall, possessing "muscles like an ox," North Dakota is referred to as a "physical wonder." Received high marks before the tournament, including becoming the first WCHA program to win three straight conference titles. No one wants to go into the tall grass after them. If anyone is going to take out the [REDACTED] before a showdown with BC, it's Boston U.

2. Michigan Wolverines (Cato) - The one BC considers its most fearsome opponent. Like most Careers, Michigan has extreme confidence in its abilities and expects that he will be the Victor. Not likely to go down without a fight.

1. Boston College Eagles (Katniss Everdeen) - On paper, BC has all the tools capable of winning the Hunger Games. Speed, defense, solid goaltending. Winners of 15 straight, the Eagles truly are "the team on fire." But in practice, no one gives them a chance. Sure, they looked great during the regular season, but is that goaltending going to hold up? How many "tributes" that score highest actually win the Hunger Games? What chance do they have against Careers like North Dakota and Michigan? Mentor Jerry York (Haymitch) can only help so far.

Hat tip: Troy Nunes ...