Reflecting on Western Michigan’s Key Rivalries Throughout History

Western Michigan hockey

For diehard hockey fans, rivalries are an integral part of their love for the sport. They bring an added level of excitement and intensity to the game, as fans eagerly anticipate matchups between their favorite teams. One such rivalry that has stood the test of time is that between Western Michigan University and their various opponents.

Western Michigan University, located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is known for its fierce athletic programs, and their hockey team is no exception. The Broncos have a long and illustrious history, with many memorable moments and matchups. Some of their most important matchups have stood the test of time and are worth revisiting for a deeper understanding of the intense rivalry between Western Michigan and their opponents.

Western Michigan vs. Michigan State – The Battle for the College Hockey Classic

McKenzie Arena in Kalamazoo, Michigan was the site of one of Western Michigan’s most legendary matchups – The Battle for the College Hockey Classic against Michigan State. This rivalry began in the 1970s and quickly became a highly anticipated event each season.

The first matchup between the two teams took place on December 18, 1970, and ended in a 2-2 tie. From that point on, the rivalry only intensified, with Western Michigan and Michigan State meeting twice a year for a 4-year long series, known as the College Hockey Classic.

The intensity of this rivalry can be attributed to the close proximity of the two schools, as well as their similar stature and reputation in the world of college hockey. Fans from both sides would pack the arena and create an electric atmosphere, which often spilled over onto the ice.

This rivalry brought out the best in both teams, as they battled each year for the coveted College Hockey Classic title. In the end, Western Michigan came out on top with three wins and one tie, solidifying themselves as the dominant team in this rivalry.

Western Michigan vs. Michigan – The Michigan Trounces Western Series

Another legendary rivalry in the history of Western Michigan hockey is their matchups against the University of Michigan. This rivalry lasted for 22 years from 1977 to 1999 and was known as the Michigan Trounces Western Series.

Over the course of these 22 years, Western Michigan and Michigan met 26 times, with Michigan coming out on top 19 times. However, what made this rivalry so special was the undeniable passion and intensity on the ice. Many games were closely fought, with the outcome often being decided in the final minutes of the third period.

The Michigan Trounces Western Series was a great opportunity for both teams to showcase their talent and prove themselves as powerhouse teams in college hockey. It also allowed for the growth of the sport in Michigan and brought more attention to the rivalry between these two schools.

Western Michigan vs. Ferris State – The Battle for the CCHA Championship

The rivalry between Western Michigan and Ferris State is one that has spanned over 40 years and has been filled with intense and exciting matchups. However, it was the CCHA (Central Collegiate Hockey Association) Championship game in 2012 that cemented this rivalry as one of the greatest in Western Michigan’s history.

This was the first time that both teams had made it to the CCHA Championship game, and the stakes were high. Ferris State had won two out of the three meetings during the regular season, creating a tense and competitive atmosphere leading up to the big game.

The championship game was a back-and-forth battle, with both teams playing their hearts out for a shot at the title. In the end, it was Western Michigan who came out on top, beating Ferris State 3-2 in overtime. This victory not only solidified Western Michigan as the top team in the CCHA but also added fuel to the longstanding rivalry between these two teams.

The Legacy of the Rivalry Between Western Michigan and Their Opponents

The rivalries mentioned above are just a small glimpse into the rich history of Western Michigan hockey. They have had countless other important matchups against teams like Miami University, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, just to name a few.

What makes these rivalries so special is the legacy they have created for both Western Michigan and their opponents. These intense matchups have not only brought out the best in both teams but have also solidified the passion and dedication of their fans. They have become a part of the fabric of Western Michigan’s hockey culture and will continue to be a source of excitement and anticipation for years to come.

The rivalries between Western Michigan and their opponents are a testament to the love and devotion fans have for college hockey. They have stood the test of time, with each matchup adding to the intensity and passion that surrounds the sport. As Western Michigan continues to make history on the ice, fans eagerly await the next chapter of their legendary rivalries.


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