Xcel Energy Center To Keep WCHA Final Five Through 2011

The Xcel Energy Center, the site of the WCHA Final Five since 2001, will stay that way through at least 2011, under the terms of a five-year contract extension announced Tuesday.

“We’re very excited about continuing our relationship with one of the premier college hockey conferences in the nation,” said Xcel Energy Center vice president and general manager Jack Larson. “The WCHA Final Five is a marquee event for the Xcel Energy Center and the Twin Cities area.”

It was also announced that Red Baron Pizza, currently in the third year of a title sponsorship agreement with the WCHA, has renewed its sponsorship for the Final Five for five more years. This year’s tournament, set for next March 16-18, will be titled the 2006 Red Baron WCHA Final Five.

“The Western Collegiate Hockey Association is both pleased and extremely excited to extend its contract for the Red Baron WCHA Final Five with Xcel Energy Center and the Minnesota Wild,” said WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod.

“Our ongoing partnership with the Xcel Energy Center, the Minnesota Wild, and the area community has propelled the Final Five into a position as the most successful collegiate conference tournament in the country, and we owe a great debt of gratitude to the countless individuals from those entities, to our sponsors, including our title sponsor Red Baron and The Schwan Food Company, and to our fans, who have helped generate this unparalleled success for us. We couldn’t be more pleased.”

St. Paul, Minn., home of the Xcel Energy Center, will host the WCHA playoff tournament for the 14th time next March, the last six of those at the Xcel Center. Eight previous championships were held at the St. Paul Civic Center, from 1988-93, in 1995, and in 1997.

“We are excited to welcome the WCHA Final Five back for another five years,” said St. Paul mayor Randy Kelly. “This tournament has contributed millions of dollars over the years to St. Paul’s economy and instills a great sense of pride in the capital city of the State of Hockey, and we look forward to many more.”

The schedule for the 2006 Red Baron WCHA Final Five is as follows:

Thursday, March 16: Quarterfinal, 7:30 p.m. CT
Friday, March 17: Semifinals, 2:30 p.m. CT and 7:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, March 18: Third-Place Game, 2:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, March 18: Broadmoor Trophy Championship Game, 7:30 p.m. CT