In the history of the CCM National Invitational Tournament, only two different teams have claimed the title: the Minnesota Senior Team (four times) and Team Wisconsin (twice).
This year, those two heavyweights will compete with three other teams in pursuit of the 2017 CCM NIT crown.
The TW squad includes both juniors and seniors and will begin play Thursday at the Braemar Ice Arena in Edina, MN.
Six of the players from this year's squad played last year as juniors. Kylee Dyni, Amber Heidenreich, Emma Peterson, Amanda Sergent, Morgan Zirbel, and Samantha Young all return for a second opportunity to earn the title for Team Wisconsin.
Heidenreich, the Hayward star, also played as a sophomore.
"The NIT tournament is something special," noted Heidenreich. "We get to bring a team that represents the entire state of Wisconsin, whether it be high school level or tier one. Being chosen out of so many girls is such a privilege because it gives me a chance to prove what Wisconsin hockey is all about."
When asked about last year's loss to the Minnesota Seniors in the title game, she said, "I think the seniors are determined to prove one last time what we’re made of."
The previous year, TW earned its second straight win.
"The loss last year was upsetting, but the win the year before was exhilarating," mentioned Heidenreich. "The fact that Wisconsin beat Minnesota is something that we dream of and strive for. We want to prove that we belong in the same league as them. This is our last shot, so we’re going to give it all we have."
No doubt they will.
vs. Northern Midwest, 8:00pm
vs. MN 18U, 8:00am
vs. MN Seniors, 8:10pm
vs. North Dakota, 6:00pm