ANOKA — Beginning in 2014, and for three years, the Minnesota State High School League boys basketball tournament will be played one week before the girls basketball tournament, and the girls will play a Tuesday through Saturday schedule.
During those years, the boys will play the usual Wednesday through Saturday schedule.
In addition to the flip-flop of weeks, the use of Mariucci Arena for both tournaments will come into play. In 2017 and 2018, the formats will revert to the traditional schedule of playing the girls tournament first and the boys tournament second.
The MSHSL Board of Directors approved the modifications at its meeting Thursday. The modifications became necessary when Target Center entered into an agreement to host a new collegiate hockey conference tournament during the traditional week of the boys basketball tournament. Target Center has served as the primary host for the boys tournaments since 2003 and for the girls tournament since 2004.
Beginning in 2014 and continuing through 2018, Target Center will host the Division I National Collegiate Hockey Conference tournament. Dates of that tournament fall in either the second or third full week of March.
An additional complicating factor involved the availability of Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota, which has served as host of 10 quarterfinal games on Wednesday and Thursday for both tournaments since the semifinals and championship games have been played at Target Center. University officials have elected to reserve some dates at Williams Arena in future years to potentially host early round games in the NCAA or NIT tournaments for its women’s and men’s basketball teams.
The board accepted the favored staff recommendation of switching the order of the basketball tournaments for 2014 through 2016 before reverting to the traditional girls first, boys second format for 2017 and 2018.
The decision also allows eight teams from four classes to continue to come to Minneapolis for tournaments, the option preferred by the board and by the coaches associations, instead of playing quarterfinal games at various Minnesota sites and then bringing only four teams in each class to Minneapolis for semifinals and championships. From 2014 through 2016, the proposal accepted by the board will allow the boys to utilize Williams Arena and Target Center Wednesday through Saturday. The following week, when the new collegiate hockey tournament will be played at Target Center, the girls will primarily utilize Williams Arena and Mariucci Arena. Target Center will be utilized for some quarterfinal games on Tuesday of that week.
For 2017 through 2018, the girls tournament will be played first, using the same venues and schedule during the week that Target Center hosts the hockey tournament. The boys tournament will be played Wednesday through Saturday the following week.