ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud State University is getting ready to send its men's hockey team to their second-ever Frozen Four tournament.

Athletic Director Heather Weems says a public send-off has been planned for Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. outside the hockey center.

We'll just do about a 10 or 15-minute short pep rally, just off Heb Brooks Way, we'll have our fans come out to the K Lot parking, have a couple of comments by the coach and the captains, the sports band is coming, and then we'll get on our way.

Weems says you are encouraged to go and bring posters and show your support for the team before they get on a bus and then a plane and head to Pittsburgh.

Now, they just need to make sure they stay COVID-free until they play the games.  Weems says the players and everyone surrounding the team are staying isolated.

We need to think about everybody that we're around.  We need to make sure that we're making good decisions.  We are in testing strategies, which means we test about every other day.  Our kids are masked all the time.

Weems says there will be 42 people total in the travel party and they all are in the testing protocols with all of them having to test negative in order to get on the team bus.

Last week prior to the start of the NCAA tournament two teams had to drop out because of positive COVID tests.

With three of the four teams in the Frozen Four NCAA Men's Hockey tournament coming from Minnesota, there's going to be a lot of great storylines and connections.  Weems says the head coach of the Huskies opponents is a former player in St. Cloud.

Mike Hastings their head coach is a graduate of ours he played hockey for us back in the 1980s and so you've got that connection.  Coach Larson and Mike coached together with the junior national team.  And with Sandelin at UMD Brett would count him as one of his most influential mentors.

And then there's this, Ryan Sandelin plays for Mankato and his dad Scott Sandelin is the head coach for Duluth.

Weems says about 50 percent of the players in this year's Frozen Four are Minnesotans.

Weems also points out that all three of the Minnesota schools are also members of the NSIC for their other sports outside of hockey.

If you want to buy some memorabilia Scheels is selling merchandise right now and the website also has apparel.

Their semi-final game is on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. against Minnesota State-Mankato.

UMD plays Massachusetts at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday.

The two winners will play each other for the national championship on Saturday, April 10th at 6:00 p.m.

You can hear that game on our sister station 96.7 The River.

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