The 55th annual Great Lakes Invitational (GLI) is set to start tomorrow at Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. Here’s a preview of the upcoming two-day, four-team event.
When: Dec. 30-31.
Where: Little Caesars Arena (Detroit, MI).
Who: No. 18 Michigan State, Michigan, Michigan Tech, Ferris State.
The Spartans will enter the tournament as the favorite to take home the trophy in this year’s edition of the GLI, a tournament that has become very popular within the hockey community in Michigan. MSU hasn’t made the championship game since 2014, and last won the title in 2009. The green and white have already played Michigan twice this season, winning both games.
This year will mark the 16th time in GLI history that the four teams competing will all come from in-state schools, with respectable programs like Michigan Tech and Ferris State joining the fold. Let’s meet the opponents that the Spartans could match up with over the next couple of days.
The Huskies have finished runner-up in the GLI each of the last four seasons, last winning the tournament in 2012. With quality wins against No. 11 Bowling Green and Northern Michigan on their resume, their record sits at 10-8-1. Forward Alec Broetzman has led the way this season for MTU, collecting a team-high 14 points (8g, 6a).
The Bulldogs will be participating in the GLI for just the second time in school history, finishing in last place in their first appearance back in 2014. It’s been a bit of a down year in Big Rapids, as the team sits at 6-9-2 to go along with an underwhelming strength of schedule up to this point. Watch out for freshman defenseman Jake Willets, as he is having an impressive first-year campaign with 14 points (2g, 12a).
The Wolverines have experienced a good amount of success in the GLI, winning the championship six times since 2007. Standing at just 6-10-2 this season, U-M will hope to use the tournament to propel them into a more successful second half of their season. Freshman defenseman Cam York will be one of the best players on the ice this week, and he’s having a solid season so far with 8 points (4g, 4a) after being selected by the Philadelphia Flyers with the 14th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
The Spartans will kick off the tournament Monday against Michigan Tech at 1 p.m., followed by Ferris State vs. Michigan at 4 p.m. The losers of the two games will play in the third-place game on New Year’s Eve at 11:30 a.m., followed by the championship game at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for the GLI can still be purchased here.