AMHERST, Mass. – With the 2021 NCAA Men’s Hockey Frozen Four semi-finalists confirmed, including the defending 2019 champions University of Minnesota Duluth (there was no championship in 2020 due to the pandemic) being pitted against runner up UMass Amherst, there is more on the line than a hockey game.
When the highly touted rematch of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Hockey Championship became apparent last week, although this time a semi-final game, Executive Director of Auxiliary Enterprises Ken Toong knew what had to be done. Toong immediately contacted his colleague Betsy Helgesen, director of Dining Services at the University of Minnesota Duluth, with a friendly food wager rematch – whichever school comes up short must send the winning school a menu featuring their state’s culinary specialties.
Helgesen was expecting the call and quickly accepted the challenge. “I love our friendly wagers,” said Helgesen, a Boston native. “If we lose we will send [UMass] Minnesota chicken and wild rice soup, smoked salmon, smoked Lake Superior whitefish, and some Minnesota bison snack sticks.” Helgesen was confident in her team, though, saying, “But I look forward to receiving my Massachusetts bounty. I do miss Massachusetts foods.”
Toong countered the Minnesota masterpiece menu offering, “On top of New England clam chowder and Boston cream pie, we will add some salad fixings of Massachusetts-grown Little Leaf local baby greens, roasted butternut squash, and Thomas Farm goat cheese, all topped with maple-ginger vinaigrette.”
Helgesen won the first food wager back in 2019, but Toong is confident in the UMass Hockey team and plans to share the “winning wager” with some of his student customers. He quips, “I hope I will be able to say ‘winning never tasted so good!’ It is going to be a great game and I think our UMass team is on a hot streak and will win this one - let’s wait and see.”
The semi-final match between UMass Amherst and University of Minnesota Duluth will be played on Thursday April 8, at 9 p.m., at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburg, Penn. The winner will move onto the championship game on Saturday April 10.