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Published February 11, 2014, 10:12 AM

Trophy tour coming to The Ralph

GRAND FORKS, North Dakota -- (February 11, 2014) – Thousands of college hockey fans are being given their first opportunity to get close – but not too close -- to a newly minted trophy that is being pursued by the University of North Dakota and many of the nation’s other premier programs.

GRAND FORKS, North Dakota -- (February 11, 2014) – Thousands of college hockey fans are being given their first opportunity to get close – but not too close -- to a newly minted trophy that is being pursued by the University of North Dakota and many of the nation’s other premier programs.

The Julie and Spencer Penrose Memorial Cup continues touring the home arenas of the eight-member National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), which is in the midst of a successful first season in existence.

The Penrose Cup, awarded to the NCHC’s regular-season champion, stops next on the weekend of Feb. 14-15 at Ralph Engelstad Arena, home of the University of North Dakota. UND, whose program is no stranger to collecting trophies over its storied history, will be hosting conference foe Miami University on those dates.

Fans are encouraged to pose for a photo with the Penrose Cup, but will not be allowed to touch the coveted prize. That is reserved for the NCHC team that comes out atop the regular-season standings.

Fans can tweet their photos with the Penrose Cup to @TheNCHC (#NCHCHockey or #PenroseCup) or post them on the NCHC’s Facebook page. Two Penrose Cups will be used throughout the tour, with the inaugural regular-season champion being awarded one of them on March 8.

That squad will not only go down in history as the first to hoist the 3-foot-tall Cup, but it will position itself well heading into the league’s post-season playoff. The winner of the Frozen Faceoff, set for March 21-22 at Target Center in Minneapolis, will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA post-season and almost certainly a strong seeding position as well.

The Penrose Cup is named after Julie and Spencer Penrose, a tremendously successful business couple who were the backbone of hockey in Colorado Springs in the early 1900s. The trophy’s copper stars are a nod to the riches the Penroses made in the copper industry.

The Penroses founded the El Pomar Foundation, which still supports amateur sports and other nonprofits in the Colorado Springs area, including the NCHC office in the Copper Building on the grounds of the Penrose House in Colorado Springs.

The honor of conceiving the Penrose Cup was given to MTM Recognition, a division of the famed championship ring maker Jostens. The trophy for the NCHC’s post-season champion, also the work of MTM and Jostens, will be unveiled soon.

Penrose Cup’s next stop

When: Feb. 14-15, from 6:30 p.m Fri, 6 p.m Sat , until five minutes into third period

Where: Ralph Engelstad Arena, main concourse nearby Guest Services

Note: North Dakota leads the nation in college hockey attendance. Arriving well before 6 p.m. will ensure a visit with the Penrose Cup. Keep in mind that the brief time between periods is sure to be busy.

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