College Hockey News’s Jashvina Shah wrote an article discussing the Great Lakes Invitational, which isn’t being played at Little Caesars Arena this year, instead splitting time between Yost Arena in Ann Arbor and Munn Arena in Lansing:
For the first time in its history, the Great Lakes Invitational (GLI) was canceled last year. Now the tournament has returned, but instead of being held at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena (LCA), it was organized as a showcase that will be played at Michigan and Michigan State.
The question is whether this is the beginning of the end, or just a temporary blip.
To further throw a monkey wrench into things, Michigan canceled its second game this week, against Western Michigan, saying it has issues with players and COVID protocols. Again, is that another death blow to the GLI, or a blip?
The Great Lakes Invitational started in 1965 and has remained, or had remained, a staple of the the Michigan hockey scene. It was born with the blessing of the Red Wings and is features Michigan, Michigan State and Michigan Tech as well as another team from Michigan that changes yearly.
The tournament was canceled last year when the Big Ten decided no non-league games would be played. The plan was to return to LCA this year, but it was difficult to find dates where the arena was free. (Although with the new COVID variant Omicron causing cases to spike, the GLI at LCA may not have happened regardless.)
“There’s interest and we’d love to keep it going,” Michigan State coach Danton Cole said. “COVID made everything really weird last couple years. Now, we’ll see where it goes, but hopefully we’ll be back.”