The Big Ten Hockey Conference begins its first season in 2013-14 and the league today announced its formats. There will be a post season tournament, just like basketball, featuring all the teams, in this case six. It's a 3-day event, Thursday through Saturday. St. Paul, Minnesota is the host in 2014 and 2016 and Detroit's Joe Louis Arena will host in 2015 and 2017.
Each team will play 20 league games-- four each against the other five members of the conference, two home and two away, that makes sense. That will leave 16 non conference match ups and in the case of Michigan State the Spartans need some good draws to Munn Arena. Season tickets are hard to sell anymore-- some of the CCHA castoffs like Notre Dame, Western Michigan and Ferris State are likely to remain on the schedule for obvious reasons, but they'll be non conference draws in another two years. This is all happening because Penn State added hockey, the first new varsity sport sanctioned by the Big Ten since rowing appeared back in 1999-2000.
They need to make the regular season Big Ten champ a big deal-- otherwise those 20 games are basically being played for seeding in the post season tournament and in a single game knockout even the lowest seeded teams can win three games in three days and call themselves Big Ten champs.