OPINION: Bring Back the Three Rivers Classic


Men’s hockey celebrates a goal against Penn State. Photo credit: David Auth

Cole Brennan

The Robert Morris University men’s and women’s hockey teams are a year away from returning.

Do you know what else should return?

The Three Rivers Classic.

The Three Rivers Classic was a great way to bring in major college hockey programs from across the country.

Teams who have played in the tournament include Arizona State, Boston College, Miami University of Ohio, Penn State, Ohio State, and Quinnipiac.

In 2016, the tournament featured two teams in the top 15 of the NCAA rankings.

The 2016 Three Rivers Classic highlighted two teams playing in the 2017 Frozen Four, Quinnipiac and Boston College.

The tournament took place at the PPG Paints Arena right after Christmas. The athletes were off of school for winter break. Some parents were off work. Who would not want to come to watch the potential future draft picks of the NHL?

The tournament has brought some of the best college hockey players to town, such as Johnny Gaudreau, who played for Boston College.

Gaudreau is a star in the NHL who plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He has registered 210 goals and 399 assists in 602 total games throughout his career.

Another notable player in the Three Rivers Classic was Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko. Demko also played collegiately at Boston College.

Pittsburgh has grown as a hockey market and Robert Morris is the only school in the Pittsburgh area to have a Division I hockey team.

With the success of the Penguins and the Colonials, the game has grown tremendously in the area.

With the help of the Penguins’ organization, the Frozen Four was brought to Pittsburgh in 2013 and 2021, with RMU being the host school.

In the 2016-2017 season, the Colonials finished with a record of 22-12-4 and advanced to the Atlantic Hockey Conference championship game versus Air Force.

The men’s team has produced tremendous players, including Brady Ferguson and Zac Lynch.

At RMU, Brady Ferguson played center and finished his college hockey career with 66 goals and 101 assists. Ferguson has the all-time points record for the Colonials.

Zac Lynch is a Pittsburgh native who played for the Colonials from 2012-2016. He finished his career with 67 goals and 90 assists.

The women’s hockey program has been successful as well.

During the 2019-2020 season, it finished with an impressive record of 20-12-4 and made it to the College Hockey America Championship game and made the NCAA Tournament in 2020-21.

One of the more prominent names in Colonial hockey history is Brianne McLaughlin. She played for the Colonials from 2006-2009 and represented Team USA twice at the Olympic Games in 2010 and 2014.

She helped Team USA capture a silver medal in Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Winter Games. McLaughlin also played for the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL from 2015-2017.

Fans in the area are interested in seeing high-quality hockey. There is no better way to bring back the Three Rivers Classic to satisfy fans’ wants.