The Great Lakes Invitational, a 67 year fixture of state college hockey in Detroit, will be played at Van Andel Arena starting this December.

The Great Lakes Invitational Has Been A Fixture In State Hockey Since 1965

The tournament has been a holiday tournament competed between state hockey programs dating back to the old Olympia Arena in Detroit starting in 1965. It was the brainchild of then Michigan Tech coach Bob MacInnes.

The tournament has been played at several different Detroit venues in its 67 year history, including the new Little Caesar's Arena (2019), the old Joe Louis Arena, and a special outdoor tournament held at Comerica Park in 2013.

The tournament has been played every year since 1965, excluding 2020, when it was canceled due to Covid. A 2021 showcase featured no fans, and was not conducted in a tournament format.

2015 WCHA Final Five - Championship
Getty Images
loading...

The Holiday Classic Moves West To Van Andel Arena In 2022

The GLI announced this week that this year's tourney will be competed at Van Andel Arena, home of the Grand Rapids Griffins minor league team.

The opening night of the GLI will be December 27, 2022 with Michigan Tech taking on Western Michigan a 3:30pm and Ferris State squaring off with the Spartans of Michigan State at 7:00pm.

Michigan Tech is considered the host of the annual event.

The following night, the winner of those games will square off for the title at 7:00pm. A consolation game for the losers will face off at 3:30pm.

Michigan State Spartans v New Hampshire Wildcats
Getty Images
loading...

The University of Michigan Bows Out Of This Year's GLI, Ferris Returns

Michigan's hockey team has been a part of every tournament since 1973, but after bowing out of last year's showcase citing health reasons, will NOT be in this year's GLI. No word as to why they either weren't invited or declined an invite.

“The decision not to participate in the Great Lakes Invitational was made following discussions and a series of factors, including trying to make some adjustments that ultimately were not possible,” The Michigan Athletic Department said in a statement. “We respect the long tradition of the GLI, and we look forward to the possibility of building new traditions in the future.”

With Michigan Out, Ferris Steps In

That opened the door for Ferris State to play in the GLI for only the third time in their hockey history, and the Bulldogs couldn't be more excited.

“We are proud to be playing in this year’s Great Lakes Invitational Tournament," Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels said in a statement. "This is a storied, and longest-running collegiate hockey tourney in the nation, and has a great history of memorable champions."

“The fact that it is the inaugural time it is being held (in) Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids only adds to the excitement. We (look) forward to a large turnout from the Bulldog Nation to help root us on to victory.”

2012 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championship
Getty Images
loading...

Michigan State Hockey Over The Years