New look at the Berry Events Center: Northern Michigan University Wildcats reveal hockey schedule with Great Lakes Invitational, new opponent

Northern Michigan University’s Grant Slukynsky, front, keeps the puck away from Michigan Tech's Chase Pietila during their CCHA game played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Feb. 2. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

NMU hockey

2024-25 schedule

HOME GAMES IN ALL CAPITALS; All games Friday-Saturday except as noted

All games Eastern time; All home games 7:07 p.m. Friday, 6:07 p.m. Saturday

Away game times listed in parentheses (Fri-Sat)

Northern Michigan University head coach Grant Potulny, in suit at center, talks with an official about a delay of game penalty in the third period of a CCHA game played against Ferris State on Feb. 25, 2022, at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)


Oct. 11-12 at Colorado College (times TBA)




Northern Michigan University’s Reilly Funk, center, tries to pass the puck to either Kristof Papp, right, or Jack Perbix, left, near the St. Thomas net during their CCHA game played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Jan. 19. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

Sat., Nov. 2 at Michigan Tech (6:07 p.m.)


Nov. 15-16 at Minnesota State-Mankato (8:07, 7:07)

Nov. 22-23 OFF

Nov. 29-30 at Augustana (8:07, 7:07)


Dec. 13-14 at Bowling Green State (7:07, 7:07)

Dec. 20-21 OFF


Great Lakes Invitational, Grand Rapids

Sun., Dec. 29 Michigan State (7 p.m.)

Mon., Dec. 30 Michigan Tech or Western Michigan (3:30 or 7 p.m.)


Jan. 17-18 at Bemidji State (8:07, 7:07)

Fri., Jan. 24 at Michigan Tech (7:07)



Feb. 7-8 at Lake Superior State (7:07, 6:07)

Feb. 14-15 OFF

Feb. 21-22 ST. THOMAS

Feb. 28-March 1 at Ferris State (7:07, 6:07)


March 7-9 CCHA quarterfinals (Friday-Sunday, best-of-3)

Sat., March 15 CCHA semifinals (single game)

Fri., March 21 CCHA championship (single game)


MARQUETTE — What should prove to be a new-look hockey team has multiple highlights on the schedule for Northern Michigan University starting this fall.

With a large freshman and transfer class previously announced, 14 players having entered the transfer portal and another five already arriving in Marquette that way, the Wildcats promise to look quite different on the ice for the upcoming season.

And while they’ll have their traditional games against both Upper Peninsula rivals along with a full CCHA schedule, NMU will also have a trip downstate for the nation’s oldest college hockey tournament and nonconference games against several schools from the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

In all, Northern has 34 games on its regular season schedule for its 49th season, including 16 contests at home, 24 in the CCHA and 10 nonconference. The Wildcats will keep up their recent tradition of playing all Friday home games at 7:07 p.m. and all Saturday home contests at 6:07 p.m., according to an NMU Sports Information release about the schedule.

A leading highlight will be the Wildcats’ inclusion in a tournament even older than the Wildcats program — the 58th annual Great Lakes Invitational held between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Northern is helping make this an all-Michigan field of four teams for the 18th time as the Wildcats open against Michigan State at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 29, at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. The other semifinal pits Michigan Tech and Western Michigan at 3:30 p.m. that day, with the consolation and championship contests to be played the following day.

The Spartans won their first Big 10 tourney championship in the spring.

While Tech is a tournament host and has played in all 57 previous GLIs, this will be only be Northern’s seventh appearance in the event. NMU, which has never won a GLI title, most recently played in the tourney in 2015 when it was still held at the former home of the Detroit Red Wings, Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

The Huskies won last year’s GLI, which moved west to Grand Rapids in 2022, and the MacInnes Cup that goes with it named after its long-time coach and one of the GLI’s founders, the late John MacInnes.

In addition to the holiday tournament, the Wildcats open the season in mid-October with a relatively unfamiliar opponent — Colorado College for a road series in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Oct. 11-12.

All NMU series outside of the GLI will be played on Friday and Saturday.

CC is a former member of the WCHA and now plays in the NCHC. Though NMU has a long history against the Tigers with a 31-22-1 all-time record against them, the teams haven’t played a game against each other since December 1996 when they faced off against each other at the Air Force Academy just outside Colorado Springs.

Last season, CC finished ranked No. 15 in the nation with a 21-13-3 overall mark.

Much more recent nonconference opponents follow with a home series against Alaska-Anchorage and Arizona State to finish off October.

NMU played Anchorage, which will be in Marquette Oct. 18-19, most recently in 2022, and faced Arizona State, which is here on Oct. 25-26, just last season, but in Tempe, Arizona.

Playing as an independent, the Seawolves were 15-17-2 last season, their best record since the 2013-14 season, while in 2023-24 the Sun Devils finished 21st in the nation with a 24-8-6 record also as an independent as they join the NCHC as a full-time member this season.

Starting Nov. 1, the Wildcats jump into their CCHA schedule, with the only breaks being the GLI and a series at future full-time CCHA member Augustana, a pair of games that count as nonleague this season.

The conference schedule starts with a bang as NMU faces Michigan Tech in the first of two home-and-home series on Nov. 1-2, the opener in Marquette and second game in Houghton. Though the Wildcats had a 2-1-1 record against MTU last season, the Huskies won the Mason Cup as CCHA Tournament champions and were the conference’s lone representative in the NCAA Tournament.

The U.P. theme continues the next weekend with Lake Superior State visiting the Berry Events Center on Nov. 8-9.

That will be the last time Northern is at home for nearly a month. After LSSU, the Wildcats travel to Minnesota State-Mankato in Mankato, Minnesota, on Nov. 15-16; have off the weekend before Thanksgiving, Nov. 22-23; and right after that holiday travel to Augustana in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Nov. 29-30.

NMU faced Mankato in the CCHA quarterfinals last season where the Mavericks prevailed.

The Wildcats fit in two series in the first half of December, hosting Ferris State on Dec. 6-7 and playing at Bowling Green State in Bowling Green, Ohio, on Dec. 13-14.

Following an off weekend just before Christmas, Dec. 20-21, Northern then plays in the GLI just after the holiday before taking off the next weekend, Jan. 3-4.

The Wildcats begin five straight weekends of CCHA play on Jan. 10-11 by hosting Mankato, then traveling to Bemidji State in Bemidji, Minnesota, on Jan. 17-18. This will be NMU’s lone series against the Beavers, who won the CCHA regular-season title in 2023-24.

The last full weekend of January is the second Tech-Northern series on Jan. 24-25, this time the Friday game hosted by the Huskies and Saturday held at NMU.

The final four regular-season series alternate home and away with an off weekend inserted in mid-February.

On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, the Wildcats host Bowling Green, then travel to LSSU on Feb. 7-8.

With Feb. 14-15 the last off weekend, Northern hosts St. Thomas on Feb. 21-22 and finishes the regular season at Ferris State on Feb. 28 and March 1.

The opening round of the CCHA playoffs, the best-of-3 quarterfinals hosted by the top four seeds, will be held March 7-9, with the single-game semifinals on Saturday, March 15, and tourney championship on Friday, March 21.

Highest remaining seeds will host semifinal and finals games.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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