The 49th Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Boys Hockey State Tournament and the 18th Girls Hockey State Tournament will take place this Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 28-March 2, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

While the field won’t include the Northland Pines boys and girls teams, there is still plenty of interest in the State Tournament.

For those heading to Madison, ticket prices for the tourney are $8 per session. Individuals 13 years old and under will be admitted for $5 each session.

The single-elimination boys tournament features eight teams. The girls tournament features four teams. The teams were seeded once they reached the State Tournament. There were 87 boys teams and 29 girls teams at the beginning of the championship tournament series this year. 

The boys schedule starts Thursday morning, with No. 1 University School of Milwaukee (25-2) vs. No. 8 Onalaska Co-Op (24-3) at 10 a.m.; No. 4 Verona (20-5-2) vs. No. 5 Eau Claire North (17-9-1) at 1:15 p.m.; No. 2 Wausau West (23-3-1) vs. No. 7 Waukesha North Co-Op (16-8-3) at 4 p.m.; and No. 3 Neenah Co-Op (22-3-2) vs. No. 6 Hudson (16-10-1) at 6:15 p.m. The boys semifinals will be at 4 and 6:15 p.m. Friday and the championship will be at 2:15 p.m. Saturday.

The girls schedule starts Friday morning, with No. 1 Xavier Co-Op (22-4) vs. No. 4 Sun Prairie Co-Op (14-7-3) at 10 a.m.; and No. 2 D.C. Everest Co-Op (20-6) vs. No. 3 Hudson (15-9-2) at 12:15 p.m. The girls championship game will be at 12:10 p.m. Saturday.

The finals of the boys and girls State Tournaments will be televised live on WAOW Wausau and WYOW Eagle River. The finals will also be streamed live on the State Television Network’s websites.

The first WIAA State boys hockey championship game was held in 1971. Superior won the first championship and has won 12 more since to give the Spartans a membership-leading 13 State titles. Madison Memorial has won eight titles, and Hudson and Madison East have won four. Northland Pines has won three State titles, coming in 1984 (coach Orrin Mangseth), 1986 and 1989 (both coach Tom Obrodovich).

The first girls tournament was held in 2002. The D.C. Everest and Mosinee Co-Op program — better known as the Central Wisconsin Storm — has won three State crowns. Those came in 2008, 2012 and 2017. Hudson won the first two girls titles in 2002 and 2003, and one version of River Falls Co-Op won championships in 2010 and 2011. Another River Falls configuration of the Co-Op, with one additional school, skated to the title in 2009. One version of the Hayward Co-Op won the title in 2013 and another version, adding three additional schools, won in 2016.

It will be a great hockey atmosphere at the Alliant Energy Center this week. Good luck to all the boys and girls teams at the State Hockey Tournament.