ProsThe downtown Minneapolis area has “more” options and amenities for you, than the area surrounding the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota. There’s also a Starbucks or Caribou Coffee on every corner. This is a definite plus for someone that’s a caffeine addict.
The Marriott Hotel City Center was second to none. You can take the Sky Walk all the way from your hotel to the Target Center. Even bigger plus, the Marriott actually has a Starbucks inside the hotel complex and one next to the entrance to the parking garage of the Marriott. So you're covered at the hotel complex. I am staying there next year, for sure. They had DirecTV in the hotel rooms and all of the right channels to include the NHL Network and the Golf Channel. Major plus for a sports geek like me.Campus Pizza was excellent again, and a very short drive from downtown Minneapolis. I was the only one wearing a UND hoodie and a Bemidji State Beavers t-shirt in Campus Pizza. Upon entering the building, I felt like I was going to burst into flames. If you’ve never ate at Campus Pizza, you’re missing out. I suggest giving their pizza a try. Only negative, the restaurant is located on the campus of the University of Minnesota and is full of Minnesota Golden Gophers garbage.
I thought the NCHC did a good job running their conference tournament. There were a few minor things that will probably be changed, but overall I was impressed. The NCHC coaches seemed very happy with the way the tourney was run.
Surprisingly, there were decent sized crowds, both days of the two-day event. Even with UMD and SCSU sitting home and not attending the tournament, the league still was able to attract 17,252 fans.
One ticket for both games is an awesome idea. Fans can leave the arena and come back.
Press Box had candy and tons of free popcorn. Kudos to them for that.
ConsLet’s face facts, The Target Center is an old run down building and is going to get a serious overhauled soon. It’s not the Xcel Energy Center, but it's still a decent arena to house the event. According to the Target Center time line, the construction starts this spring or summer.
No Diet Coke at the Target Center. Saturday, I had to smuggle in my Diet Coke. The Target Center has an exclusivity contract with Pepsi. I hate Pepsi products, so that was a major bummer for me. I also didn’t find an acceptable coffee vender in the Target Center.
The Target Center was freezing. I almost had to wear my winter coat to stay warm in the press box and literally had to leave the building to warm up. I kid you not. I talked to many fans that thought the building was cold. Just for the record, the Ralph has been cold this season, and Target Center was definitely colder than the Ralph. I didn't think that was possible.On Friday, the ice was a little soft, and the ice had only had been in for two days before the tournament started. So, the ice really didn't have much time to set. Word was that ice was really soft for the Thursday practice. The ice seemed to improve as the weekend progressed. Just for the record, the Target Center actually has new ice making equipment. That will be something to look for as the years progress. I still think the ice was better this weekend than during the Final Fives that were held at the Target Center.
The Boards and glass were pretty lively and had some weird bounces one of them cost DU a goal.All in all, it was a good weekend… Something to build on. The NCHC did a good job running this tourney.
Funny story… After Saturday’s UND game and before the post-game press conference, I made the comment about there’s going to be overtime tonight, I can feel it. Herald writer Brad Schlossman and the other media guys/gals in the media room looked at me as if I had committed a major crime. Wouldn’t you know it, Wisconsin needed overtime to beat Ohio State.