WMU To Play In 2022 Great Lakes Invitational, At Van Andel in Grand Rapids
The Great Lakes Invitational college ice hockey tournament is moving to Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena and will be played this December 27-28th.
The Western Michigan Broncos will face off against Michigan Tech in the first game on December 27th, while Michigan State and Ferris State will play the nightcap. Then the winners will play for the title on the 28th and will the losers for 3rd place.
The GLI, as it's known, has a fascinating history. According to Wikipedia, in the mid-1960s, Detroit civic leader Jack Tompkins, who played in the minor leagues for both the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, helped organize the tournament because "at that time, only one American played a significant role on any NHL team. Seeking to improve the prospects for Americans to play in the NHL, a group led by Tompkins, Michigan Tech's legendary hockey coach John MacInnes, Olympia Stadium manager Lincoln Cavalieri, and Detroit Red Wings scout Jack Paterson decided to organize a prestigious hockey tournament to be played every year in Detroit."
Since 1965, the tournament had been held every year in Detroit between Christmas and New Year's, starting at the Olympia, then the Joe Louis Arena, and one year, outdoors at Comerica Park, and finally at Little Caesars Arena. Covid forced a cancellation in 2020, and last year was played at the Yost and Munn Ice Arenas in Ann Arbor and East Lansing. Van Andel will be hosting the tournament for the first time in December.
WMU has competed in the GLI six times and has won it three times, in 1986, 2013 and 2016, and might have won it a fourth time in 2020 if not for the COVID cancellation.