Minnesota prep hockey fans who enjoy watching metro-area program mix it up with their out-state counterparts -- a staple of the state tournament's allure -- won't always have to wait until March.
The four-team "North-South Classic" begins next December and features Eden Prairie, Benilde-St. Margaret's, Brainerd and Hermantown, The games are set for Dec. 8 and 9 at Eden Prairie. The Friday evening doubleheader starts with Benilde-St. Margaret's vs. Brainerd at 6 p.m. followed by the host Eagles against Hermantown at 8 p.m.
On Saturday afternoon, Eden Prairie plays Brainerd at 12:15 p.m. followed by Benilde-St, Margaret's and Hermantown at 2:30 p.m.
Brainerd will host the tournament in Dec. 2018.
Eden Prairie activities director Mike Grant said "a few details have to be worked out" but that the games are set.
Bringing pageantry to early-season games will be fun for teams and fans alike, Eagles' coach Lee Smith said.
Eden Prairie (two), Hermantown (two) and Benilde-St. Margaret's (three) have combined for seven state championships while Brainerd is improving under coach Dave Aus.