Showing posts with label Xcel Energy Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Xcel Energy Center. Show all posts

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wisconsin's Mark Zengerle's game winning goal, B1G Hockey Tournament Championship game (Video)



I am sure that UND hockey fans would like to buy Wisconsin's Mark Zengerle a beverage of his choice after he scored the game winning goal against the tOSU Buckeyes in the Championship game of the B1G Hockey Tourney. That goal allowed UND to make it's 12th NCAA appearance in a row. Now the two teams will meet in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Small Crowd plagues first game of the B1G


Here's a picture of the stands Xcel Energy Center from game one of the Big Ten Hockey Tourney. I wonder what the crowd size will be for the second game tonight between OSU and MSU? I would think that Minnesota Golden Gopher fans will attend the games their teams are playing in this weekend.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Minnesota Wild: Soldier's Surprise at the Xcel



I thought this was a nice touch.
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Monday, September 16, 2013

Big Ten Hockey: Conference releases their TV Schedule


The Big Ten Hockey Conference released it's television schedule today for the 2013-14 hockey season.  The league will also cover the inaugural Big Ten Hockey hockey tournament at the Xcel Energy Center as well.


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Monday, August 26, 2013

WCHA Promoting B1G Hockey Tourney


I touched on this subject back in March, after the Press Conference,  before the championship game of the Final Five. Looks like the WCHA marketing plan is coming to fruition. Here's a screen shot of the WCHA's webpage. 

Rachel Blount asked, “Can you explain exactly how the Big Ten and the WCHA will be working together and what kinds of things you will be working together on and how you will be partnered?”
Jennifer Heppel responded back with this, “What we have done so far is again the WCHA and the Xcel Energy Center since the time the facility has opened has really built a tradition with the fan base here. We recognize the support the fans in this area have given to college hockey. We have for the last month made available the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance for those fans in this area that supported the WCHA tournament. Tickets for the general public go on sale on Monday. We wanted to extend that opportunity. We worked out some initial joint marketing efforts and we will continue to do that. Again, this community has a lot of fans of specific schools, but you also have just incredible support for hockey and college hockey.  The WCHA and the Big Ten want it to be a seamless transition from year-to-year for those that support college hockey and the “X” has been on that same page, and they don’t want there to be any drop-off in the tradition that has been created.”
So after Jennifer Heppel gave us her canned answer, WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod jumped in and said this.
“Rachel… we set a record this year in our packages [tickets]," McLeod said . "We sold pre-tournament wise, I would have to check, almost 13,000 [tickets]. I think. That was a record for us. All of those ticket bases; those email addresses have been shared with the Big Ten people, and hopefully as Jen said the end result is, everyone benefits.  We’re working on the same, you know, kind of the same [fan] base, and sharing all of those names, and I think the basic idea of what Jen says if we can provide, I don’t know what you’re going to call it eventually, the collegiate hockey weekend, or something like that. One year it’s the Big Ten Hockey weekend, the next year it’s the WCHA. The more we can get that across, the better off we’re going to be.”
You got that? Those people that bought tickets to the Red Baron Final Five will get a first crack at next year’s Big Ten Hockey tourney.  So the Big Ten is hoping that you will decide to not go to the WCHA conference tourney in Grand Rapids and instead go the Xcel next season.

That’s absolutely brilliant.
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Thursday, May 09, 2013

NCAA Hockey: Coaches want to keep the status quo

English: National Collegiate Athletic Associat...

A couple of things have come out of the NCAA hockey meetings so far. Frankly, I am not all that happy with what has come out of the NCAA meetings. I didn’t really have that high of expectations anyways.
Brad Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald – There was a proposal at the annual Florida meetings last week to change the NCAA tournament format to allow the top eight seeds to host a best-of-three series in the first round, but it was met with resistance from a segment of coaches, Faison said.
“Clearly, for me, I’ve always been a supporter of the top eight hosting in the first round,” said Faison, who will be a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee in September. “I think it’s a better way. There are still going to be upsets. It’s just better for the game.”
The primary concern of coaches with that format is that it’s not a competitively fair situation, Faison said.
In a nut shell, “certain” schools appear to want to keep the status quo, when it comes to the NCAA Division I Hockey Tourney.  But why would they want to change? Currently in its present form, the NCAA Hockey Tourney working marvelously for them.  Why would the eastern schools want to get on a plane and have to travel to say Denver, Minnesota, North Dakota or Wisconsin and play a best-of-three series when they can play a one-and-done series in their own back yard.
The same schools would also benefit from hosting their share of best-of-three series as well. So their refusal to be open to change is puzzling.
Going forward, this means, we will continue to let the schools out east drive an hour or less and play in what is basically their own back yards.
On the flip side, the NCAA will continue to have the western schools fly long distances and play in empty arenas, in unattractive cities in places that you would never dream of traveling to.
For whatever reason, the NCAA won’t make the eastern teams travel.
According to Grand Forks Herald beat writer Brad Schlossman, “BU and BC have got on a plane 3 times for a regional in the last 13 years. The teams lost by four goals in the 1st round each time.”
The NCAA wants regional games played in arenas posing as quiet emotionless mausoleums, all under the guise of the regional being held at “neutral” sites. The fact remains, these sites are not in fact “neutral” sites. All you have to do is look at Google maps to prove my point. The University of New Hampshire is 45 minutes away from last year’s regional site in Manchester, New Hampshire.
It appears that the UND hockey team is going to get a chance at hosting a regional “close” to Grand Forks, ND. Again, since the NCAA has decided in their infinite wisdom they don’t want any more regionals on-campus and want to play in empty arenas posing as quiet emotionless mausoleums, all under the guise of the regional being held at “neutral” sites. This would be the next best option, next to the Xcel Energy Center.
UND athletic director Brian Faison said the school is working on putting together a bid to host a men’s hockey regional at Fargo’s Scheels Arena in 2015 or 2016.
I know, be careful what you ask for. Right? That being said, there is going to be a problem with having a regional championship at that location. Having been to the Scheels Arena in Fargo, I don’t think it’s big enough for a regional championship. The Scheels Arena only seats 5,000 people for hockey.
What if the NCAA puts Minnesota and North Dakota in the same regional, they’ve done it on many occasions. In essence, Scheels Arena wouldn’t be big enough to accommodate both schools ticket demands. When you put a regional close to a host school like North Dakota with a rabid fan base like UND, their fans are going to show up. The same is true with Minnesota.  It will be interesting to see how this ends up.

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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

UND’s Hakstol: “regionals pinnacle of our season and should be played in a great atmosphere.”

und v. usa
und v. usa (Photo credit: intersubjectiv)

This past weekend, UND played in the NCAAWest Regional tourney in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  If you watched the games you will see that the games were sparsely attended,just like I had predicted.
So the NCAA wants the teams to play in empty arena’s posing as quite mausoleums during prayer time.
Come to think of it, I have probably been to churches that are louder than last week’s West and Midwest regionals.
The announced attendance for Friday’s game between Niagara and UND was 2289 and for Saturday’s game, the announced attendance was 1918 fans.
Seriously!
If mathematically challenged, that’s a grand total for 4207 fans to see the NCAA West Regional hockey games for the weekend. My words, “that’s pathetic.” The NCAA should be ashamed. There are high school hockey tourneys in North Dakota that have more people attend them then this regional.
Today was the last press conference of the year for UND hockey head coach Dave Hakstol was asked about his thought on the NCAA tourney being played in building with atmospheres like last weekend’s regional in Grand Rapids, Michigan?
“The pinnacle of our season should be played in a great atmosphere,” Hakstol said. “I think the players that are involved in the national tournament deserve that. “I think It’s something that has garnered a fair amount of discussion over the last couple of year, but no action.” We have to fix things. We’re not doing this the right way at the regional level – to play in front of… I saw a stat within out program we had 5500 people on a live chat, and there was maybe 1500 people in a building watching a great hockey game between Yale and North Dakota on Saturday night. That’s not right. That’s the pinnacle and that’s the spotlight of our season. Yeah, we have to change things. Certainly, I would like to work towards doing that, sooner, rather than later. The best regionals that I have been involved in, that I can remember, atmosphere wise, was here, in 05-06, where we hosted, competitive environment. The regional in Minnesota; last year at the Xcel Energy Center; in front of 10,000 people, we came up one game short. Great atmosphere to play in, spotlight event, the way the national tournament game should feel. Third one would have been; at the Kohl Center, where the University of Wisconsin hosted. We had the good fortune of coming out of that regional. That was a tough game, there was about 15,000 people cheering against us and 1,000 of our fans with us, but that was atmosphere, and that’s the stage that our national tournament should be played on, we need to get back to one shape or form. “
It’s pretty clear that the UND’s head coach would rather play in a raucous, loud arena filled with passionate fans, even if they’re another fan bases’  than an empty arena, in a nameless town with empty seats posing as fans for the sake of having a regional championship at a neutral site, in an empty building on Saturday in March.  I agree.
Cross-posted at the Hockey Writers-Combine.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

WCHA unveils questionable marketing strategy


Yesterday, I attended the WCHA press conference that was held in the basement of the Xcel Energy Center before the Broadmoor Championship game, and one of the interesting participants at the press conference was Jennifer Heppel, Associate Commissioner, Big Ten Conference.
I am not sure if I am the only one I found it odd that she would be in attendance at the WCHA press conference. Apparently, WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod and Ms. Heppel are pushing a partnership between the Big Ten Hockey Conference, and the WCHA. Which I found odd, since two of the Big Ten Schools are leaving the WCHA for another conference.  Why would you invite them to your press conference?
What you’re going to find odder, is their brilliant new marketing strategy.
You have to give Rachel Blount beat writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune a lot of credit, when they opened the press conference up for questions, the first thing  MS. Blount did was ask a great follow up question of Jennifer Heppel of the Big Ten. In what I would classify as an awkward moment, it went kind of like this.
Rachel Blount asked, “Can you explain exactly how the Big Ten and the WCHA will be working together and what kinds of things you will be working together on and how you will be partnered?”
Jennifer Heppel responded back with this, “What we have done so far is again the WCHA and the Xcel Energy Center since the time the facility has opened has really built a tradition with the fan base here. We recognize the support the fans in this area have given to college hockey. We have for the last month made available the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance for those fans in this area that supported the WCHA tournament. Tickets for the general public go on sale on Monday. We wanted to extend that opportunity. We worked out some initial joint marketing efforts and we will continue to do that. Again, this community has a lot of fans of specific schools, but you also have just incredible support for hockey and college hockey.  The WCHA and the Big Ten want it to be a seamless transition from year-to-year for those that support college hockey and the “X” has been on that same page, and they don’t want there to be any drop-off in the tradition that has been created.”
So after Jennifer Heppel gave us her canned answer, WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod jumped in and said this.
“Rachel… we set a record this year in our packages [tickets]. We sold pre-tournament wise, I would have to check, almost 13,000 [tickets]. I think. That was a record for us. All of those ticket bases; those email addresses have been shared with the Big Ten people, and hopefully as Jen said the end result is, everyone benefits.  We’re working on the same, you know, kind of the same [fan] base, and sharing all of those names, and I think the basic idea of what Jen says if we can provide, I don’t know what you’re going to call it eventually, the collegiate hockey weekend, or something like that. One year it’s the Big Ten Hockey weekend, the next year it’s the WCHA. The more we can get that across, the better off we’re going to be.”
You got that? Those people that bought tickets to the Red Baron Final Five will get a first crack at next year’s Big Ten Hockey tourney.  So the Big Ten is hoping that you will decide to not go to the WCHA conference tourney in Grand Rapids and instead go the Xcel next season.
That’s absolutely brilliant.
First off, shouldn't the WCHA be marketing it’s conference tourney in Grand Rapids, Michigan next season? The Big Ten will be in better shape than the WCHA and they really don’t need the WCHA to share it’s email addresses and names with the Big Ten.




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Saturday, March 23, 2013

WCHA Hockey: What are we doing here?

2003 WCHA Final Five logo

Saint Paul, Minnesota – Recently, I was listening to a weekly podcast of College Hockey Tonight, and the host Scott Williams and Moose Richards were talking about the break of and reformation of the WCHA.
Shameless plug department. First, if you’re not listening to the College Hockey Tonight on KBUN, I highly recommend that you give them a listen. They both know the game of hockey very well and their podcast sound very good, quality wise. You can listen to their podcast by going to KBUN.COM  and all of their podcast from this season are archived on the site.
You can also listen to the podcasts on you smart phone. I listen to most of their podcasts when I work out at the gym or in the car on longer trips.
The gist of the conversation during the podcast in question, “what are we doing here,” host Moose Richards said.
Come to think of it, that is a really good question.
I mean we can go on and on about the B1G and the NCHC and point fingers, but that discussion is probably counter-productive. I understand that the by-laws of the Big Ten require that Minnesota and Wisconsin join their league once they had a sixth hockey team. I just wish there was a way to preserve what we have now.
It’s like having a relationship with someone that works and dumping them and going off with some unknown less attractive option.
The WCHA in its current form is hands down the best league in Division I college hockey. Top to bottom, there is no better league in my opinion. We have a great league here and that’s basically blowing up after this season.
Obviously, none of us can control that, so let’s enjoy the moment.
Last night, I was having a discussion on this subject with person that is fan and media member of a team that’s not moving to another league, his team is staying in the new WCHA. Our conclusion was that they will never be able to replicate what we have currently with the WCHA Final Five, never, not in Detroit with the Big Ten hockey conference tourney, not at the Target Center for the NCHC conference tourney, or even at the Xcel Center for the New WCHA tourney or for the Big Ten hockey conference tourney. I also don’t think that I am going out on a limb by saying, definitely not for the new WCHA tournament in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s not going to happen.
For good or bad, college hockey landscape will change, as we know it.
Speaking of change, the WCHA is also changing the format of their tourney next season as well; the top eight teams in the WCHA make the playoffs, the bottom two teams will not make the playoffs.
Four teams will advance from the first round of the WCHA playoffs and they will play two semifinal games on Friday night and they have a championship game on Saturday. There will be no more Final Five.
The first WCHA tourney will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan starting in 2015. The Xcel Energy Center will host the 2016 WCHA conference tourney. They will rotate between the two sites, for least the foreseeable future.
Former Fighting Sioux and current Wild forward Zach Parise was asked about his thoughts on the changes the WCHA will go through after the season is over.
“I think it’s brutal, if you ask me,” Parise said. “I don’t like it. I was a big fan of that league, and the rivals that were developed in that league; I think it’s a bad idea.”
When asked who he though would win tonight’s Red Baron WCHA Final Five Broadmoor Championship game between Wisconsin and Colorado College. Parise said, “I would say Wisconsin, but I won’t be watching because North Dakota’s not playing.”
So, one more night of one of the best college hockey tourneys and then we all go our separate ways. No UND and Minnesota aren’t playing tonight, but really, does it matter. There no place I would rather be than right here.

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WCHA News breaking this afternoon at 4:30

Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo
Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a big WCHA news conference this afternoon at 4:30 and you can watch it live from this web link. Word has it that there is announcement about the Minnesota Cup, the World Junior Coach and the WCHA’s conference tourney next year. 

What: Joint Press Conference featuring Special Announcements from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, USA Hockey, Inc., and University of Minnesota
and  Bruce McLeod, WCHA Commissioner, Richard MacKeigan, Regional General Manager, DeVos Place & Van Andel Arena, Katy Tigchelaar, Events Manager, West Michigan Sports Commissioner, Jack Larson, Vice-President & General Manager, Xcel Energy Center, Jake Spano, Marketing Director, City of Saint Paul Jennifer Heppel, Associate Commissioner, Big 10 Conference, Dave Fischer, Senior Director of Communications, USA Hockey, Inc. Tom McGinnis, Associate Athletic Director, University of Minnesota.

Saturday, March 23 4:30 pm CT
Press Interview Room, Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, MN

Video Stream link:
http://www.foxsportsnorth.com/livestream


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Friday, March 22, 2013

Stoykewych shocks UND in OT

Seal of the University of North Dakota
Seal of the University of North Dakota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Saint Paul, Minn. – The University of North Dakota started off the day, by putting two players, senior forwards, Corban Knight and Danny Kristo, among the top 10 national finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. The Hobey Baker is given annually to the top player in NCAA Division I men’s hockey.
Then, it was off to the quarter final game of the Red Baron WCHA Final Five where 17,038 fans watched the match-up between the University of North Dakota (21-11-7, No. 3 seed) and the Colorado College Tigers (16-18-5, No. 6 seed) at the Xcel Energy Center.
The University of North Dakota doesn’t get fazed when they give up the first goal of a game, anymore. In fact, it happens a lot.  In 19 games where the opposition scored the first goal, the Green and White are 9-5-5.
Make that­­­­­­ 9-6-5, with the loss to the Colorado College Tigers tonight.
“Here we are. If you would have said that on the fifth of January after we got swept in Omaha that we would be playing and winning game over North Dakota, I would have said that you’re crazy,” Head coach Scott Owens said on beating  North Dakota 4-3 in overtime of the quarterfinal game of the WCHA Final Five.”
The game had a lot of drama and probably didn’t go as planned.
With freshman forward Drake Caggiula in the sin bin for charging, the Colorado College Tigers would get on the board first with a power play goal from senior forward Rylan Schwartz at the 03:06 mark of first period.
That slim one goal lead would last 11:17 as freshman forward Drake Caggiula would make up for his blunder by scoring his seventh goal of the year at the 14:23 mark of the first period. That was Caggiula’s first goal since January 19th, 2013.
UND would start a parade to the penalty box in the waning moments of the first period, but fortunately UND was able to stop the Tiger power play with a tenacious penalty kill, before the Tigers could do any damage on the power play.
Senior forward Danny Kristo would stop the bleeding at the 19:50 mark of the first period with his 25th goal of the season.
UND would outshoot C.C. 11-4 in first period.
The second period was more of a grind out kind of period and the Tigers took advantage of a miscue to score shorthanded at the 07:54 mark of the second period as Alex Krushelnyski shot the puck past UND goalie Clark Saunders.
That was all of the scoring either team would generate the rest of the second period. UND would again outshoot C.C. 9-6.
Things would really get interesting for UND. At the 03:42 mark of the third period, Tiger forward Hunter Fejes took a shot from the top the circle that Saunders missed.
Make that 3-2 Tigers.
UND freshman Drake Caggiula would score at the12:45 mark of the third period to knot the game at 3-3, sending the game to overtime.  UND would out Tigers 12-10 in the third period.
At the 04:52 mark of the first overtime, sophomore Tiger defenseman Peter Stoykewych ended UND run for at four consecutive Final Five championships.
When asked how it feels to not be moving on to play for a four WCHA Final Five playoff championship. This is what Danny Kristo had to say. “I have never felt like this before,” Kristo said. “Obviously we won the last three. That was our goal coming in this year. Obviously, we wanted to four peat, or what not. You just go day-by-day. I thought we took about 20 minutes off there, between the second and third period and kind of got lulled to sleep, maybe we deserved to win the game, but we didn’t play to our potential, so at this time of the year you’re not going to win games. You can’t leave the game to a bounce of the puck.”
This is what coach Hakstol had to say.
“Congratulations to C.C., UND head coach Dave Hakstol said. “They’re grinding out wins. They’re doing a great job. They got the job done tonight. Overall, we played a pretty good hockey game. Pretty good doesn’t get the job doesn’t get it done this time of year against the quality of teams that are here. So, tough ending tonight, that’s our fate, We’ll regroup and get back to Grand Forks and work on our next project.”
Colorado College (17-18-5) moves on to play Minnesota in the 7:00 p.m. game and UND (21-12-7) goes home to find out who they play next weekend in the NCAA regionals.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Time to tweak the NCAA Division I Hockey Tourney

Boston College Eagles men's ice hockey
Boston College Eagles men's ice hockey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, there was an November 29 article by Mark Bedics at NCAA.com and the chair of the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee and current athletic director of Notre Dame Tom Nevala, would like to see the first round of the Men’s NCAA Division I hockey tourney moved on campus and have the games played at the home ice of the higher seed.
Our current setup provides a lot of challenges,” said Tom Nevala, chair of the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee and senior associate athletics director at Notre Dame. “You need to find buildings that are neutral sites, have NHL ice and ideally are within close proximity to the host school’s fan base. Right now for the most part, we really need the host to qualify if we are going to have good attendance and atmosphere at our regionals. In an effort to increase attendance, the NCAA has been working with the hosts to try and make tickets more affordable but the nature of neutral sites and non-traditional game times works against us a bit.”
Although, there have been five fairly major format changes in the first 65 years of the tournament, there have been none in the last 20. The ongoing debate about championship format has become more active during the last couple years.
“Personally, I would like to see us move to an on-campus best-of-three series format for the first round,” Nevala said. “The top seeds would host regardless of size of its building. Right now we do it at the conference level and it works very well. There are upsets even with the home ice advantage and the atmosphere for everyone involved would be better. We have such great campus facilities that are such a part of the fabric of college hockey, it’s a shame that the national tourney isn’t played in them.”
I personally would welcome the change with open arms.
I would imagine something like this 1 versus 16, 2 versus 15, 3 versus 14, 4 versus 13, 5 versus 12, 6 versus 11, 7 versus 10, and 8 versus 9. This would protect the integrity of the NCAA Tourney; I would imagine that there would be some tweaks to avoid conference matchups during the first round of the playoffs, if possible.
Obviously, after the first round there would be eight teams left and you could play two regionals at predetermined locations.
This would seem a little fairer to me.
Apparently, a majority of Division I Hockey coaches would rather play in quiet half empty arenas that in some cases aren’t very attractive venues.
One of these less than attractive regional sites that immediately comes to mind is the 2010 Midwest Regional that was held in Fort Wayne, IN, where a whopping 7337 people attended three NCAA Midwest Regional games held on March 27 and 28, 2010.
Watching the Midwest Regional on television, you could see that regional was poorly attended and you had to ask; why? Seriously, why was that regional held in that location? All of the hockey arenas in the USA and the NCAA couldn’t do better option than that? Notre Dame could have hosted that tourney in Chicago or some other attractive location. Hence, the more logical idea of having the first round of the NCAA Division I Hockey tourney the on campus of the higher seeds.
In 2006, the University of North Dakota hosted a West Regional at the Ralph Englestad Arena and it was one of the best attended hockey regionals in NCAA Division I Hockey history when it drew 22,645 fans. For comparison sake, the 2006 regional outdrew the 2012 West Regional Championships that was held at the Xcel Energy Center drawing 20,360 fans.
Obviously, some teams aren’t going to be real excited about going to another teams building to play in the first round of the NCAA tourney but there needs to be an actual reward for getting a number one seed.
Most years, it wouldn’t make much difference if a number four seed played in the home building of a number one seed or played at a regional site; they’re lucky to be in the tourney and anyway you sliced it and they also deserve  play a game against a higher seeded team.
Also, why shouldn’t a higher seed be able to have the luxury of playing in their building with 11,500 of their screaming fans cheering them on. Why shouldn’t the better seed be rewarded for good play during the course of the season? Isn’t that what the NCAA is trying to do?
I am not so sure.
Is it fair for a team that is ranked number one over-all; have to fly half way across the country to Worcester, MA to face the Boston College Eagles in an arena that is 37.9 miles away from their campus. This happens on a very regular basis.
Make no mistake about it, the Eagles have been a great team over the last 10 seasons and they have the record to show for it.
But that being said, why should a number one seed from the west be rewarded with traveling to a regional championship where they have to play the Boston College Eagles in their home state a mere 40 miles away. There’s no way that you can convince me that’s a neutral site.
Maybe question should be; neutral site for who? In its present form the NCAA Division I Hockey tourney is awarding select teams the luxury of playing close to home more times than not. That’s hardly fair for all of the teams involved in the NCAA tourney.
That scenario has happened to the Miami University RedHawks twice in the last four years. In 2008, the Miami RedHawks traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts to face the Boston College Eagles and lost 4-3 in the Championship game – a great reward for finishing with the number one seed over-all.
Not Really!
In 2011, the number one seeded RedHawks would travel to Manchester, NH and this time they had to face the fourth seeded University of New Hampshire Wildcats who were playing a short 35 miles away from their campus, the top seeded RedHawks would again lose, to the host team the UNH Wildcats. Again, where was the reward for gaining the number one seed?
If you look at the schedule of the Boston College Eagles schedule over the last 10 season, they haven’t traveled very far very often. Here is a breakdown of that less than strenuous travel.
In 2003, the B.C. Eagles jumped on highway 95 and traveled a short 46.8 miles to play the Cornell Big Red in the East Regional, the Eagles would go on to lose 2-1 in double overtime.
In 2004, the B.C. Eagles traveled to Manchester, NH; a mere 60 miles up I-93 from the campus of Boston College to play the in the Northeast regional. The Eagles would advance to the Frozen Four where they would lose to Maine in the Semifinals.
In 2005, the B.C. Eagles would travel to Worcester, MA to play in the East Regional. The Eagles would lose to the University of North Dakota. To get to the Frozen Four the Fighting Sioux would have to go a mini Bean Pot Tourney beating both Boston University and Boston College to qualify for the Frozen Four, no easy task.
In 2006, the B.C. Eagles would again travel to the friendly confines of Worcester MA to play in the Northeast Regional and would advance to the Frozen Four where they would lose to NCAA Champion Wisconsin in the Championship game of the Frozen Four. (NCAA runner up)
In 2007, the B.C. Eagles traveled to Manchester, NH for the Northeast Regional, where they would again reach the Frozen Four before losing to NCAA Champion Michigan State in the Championship game of the Frozen Four. (NCAA runner up)
In 2008, the B.C. Eagles were back in Worcester, MA for the Northeast Regional where the Eagles would advance to the Frozen Four by beating both Minnesota and Miami. The Eagles would go on to win the NCAA title beating Notre Dame in the Championship game. (NCAA Champs)
In 2009, the B.C. Eagles missed the NCAA playoffs.
In 2010, the B.C. Eagles would again make the short 37.8 mile trip to Worcester, MA for the Northeast Regional were they would again advance to the NCAA Frozen Four where they would beat the Wisconsin Badgers in the Championship game. (NCAA Champs)
In 2011, the B.C. Eagles would finally travel outside of the Northeast to St. Louis MO, where the Eagles would get drubbed by the Colorado College Tigers 8-4 in the quarterfinals.
In 2012, the B.C. Eagles would again make a return to Worcester, MA to play in the Northeast Regional where they would advance to the Frozen Four and win the NCAA championship with a win in the championship game against Ferris State. (NCAA Champs)
So you can imagine that the Boston College Eagles would like to keep the status quo and keep going to regional held in Manchester, NH Providence, RI or Worcester, MA.
Obviously, the B.C. Eagles are a great hockey program and Jerry York is a great hockey coach but you can’t say that Boston College didn’t benefit from getting to play close to home where their fans travel no more than an hour to see their favorite teams play hockey.
This short travel is a huge advantage over the teams, especially the team in the west unless you’re the University of Minnesota who gets to enjoy the same luxury of getting to have a regional in their back yard virtually every other year.  The distance for the Gophers from their campus to the Xcel Energy Center is a short seven mile trip.
If you break this down, B.C. won three NCAA titles in five years and the year that they didn’t get to play close to their home they failed to make the NCAA Frozen Four and ended up losing in the first round.
What are we to make of that?
I also think that there are a certain handful of teams that benefiting from having the regionals championships in their back yards almost yearly at the expense of others.
The NCAA has announced that the 2013 Division I College Hockey regionals are going to be at Grand Rapids, Michigan, Manchester, New Hampshire, Providence, Providence, Rhode Island and Toledo, Ohio. The 2014 regionals will be held at Bridgeport, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Paul, Minnesota. and Worcester, Massachusetts. Do you see a pattern here?
So I agree with Tom Nevala lets do a few tweaks to the NCAA Division I Hockey Tourney, the status quo doesn’t work for everyone.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Wait, what? Do you really want to go there?

I am not sure why the guy that has the TYT blog wants to start a fight with the North Dakota Fighting Sioux fan base? I am sure that most of you have probably never seen it because no one reads his blog any ways.

Then again, I suppose if you want to generate interest and hits and lot of traffic to your blog – infuriating one of the more passionate fan bases in all of college hockey probably doesn’t hurt – it will bring more traffic to your blog.
ND vote lets school scrap Fighting Sioux nickname (Yahoo!)

I'm. So. Pumped. And no, it has nothing to do with my opinion of Native American mascots, the NCAA's rule on them or the larger social and political issues involved. I just hate North Dakota, so things that make them sad make me happy, simple as that. All of that said, this is The Story That Will Never Die (TM), so I'm not throwing the party until what's apparently a minority of the state's residents are unsuccessful in their next avenue of appeal, an attempt at a constitutional amendment.
Apparently Dean Blais' comments about the selection of the Target Center has also gotten ire of the TYT blog as well.
Two can play at that game, Deano. If North Dakota's out of the NCHC tournament, you're left with a choice of: a) two branch campuses, b) two MAC schools (and I love the MAC as a current student at a member school), c) two schools 900+ miles away and d) St. Cloud State in e) a facility that's almost universally seen as second-rate for hockey compared to the Big Ten's Xcel Energy Center. So good luck with that. The Big Ten, without Minnesota, still offers three all-time top ten men's hockey programs and five schools with universal brand recognition. And (including Minnesota again) the main campuses of two NCHC schools, although Nebraska doesn't sponsor hockey yet.

Actually, it is worth pointing out that the Big Ten's entire tournament will be played in St. Paul (or Detroit, in alternating years). In other words, Minnesota will have at least one game at the Xcel Energy Center every single year. North Dakota, on the other hand, will have to get through a best-of-three campus site first round to make it to Minny. They probably will most of the time, but hey, no guarantees when you've recruited the eight best hockey programs in the country into one conference.

Quick break while I finish laughing from typing that last sentence...
While the TYT is half right – the games that UMN plays in are going to be the highest attended games of the B1G tourney – that’s a no brainer – the problem is that other games will not be as highly attended as the days of the old WCHA tourney. That’s reality! No longer will you have SCSU, UND, UMD fans coming to the games at the Xcel energy center.

The aforementioned teams will be replaced by PSU, OSU, MSU and Michigan. OSU hockey fans don’t attend games in their own building what makes you think that they are going to attend games in Minnesota or Detroit for that matter?

Thge lingering question is – are Michigan and Michigan State fans going to attend the B1G tourney in St. Paul every other season? Here is the attendance numbers of the last two games that Michigan was involved in during last season’s CCHA tourney 10,421 (Michigan vs. WMU) and 7823 (BGSU vs. Michigan). If Michigan isn’t going to stuff the Joe Louis arena full of their fans when they are playing what makes people think that Michigan and Michgan State are going to travel to St. Paul when they are only guaranteed only one game?

Going forward It will be interesting to see how many people actually attend the B1G, NCHC and WCHA conference tourneys.

To the person that suggested that OSU and Michigan State being a big draw I wouldn't count on it - here are the OSU numbers for the last two season.
2011-12 14th Ohio State 16 Attendance 82,854 Average 5,178 17,500 29.6%
2010-11 18th Ohio State 17 Attendance 65,093 Average 3,829 17,500 21.9%
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Sunday, June 17, 2012

UAA AD Cobb not a fan of "Mystery Alaska"

Xcel Energy Center
This past Week the remaining teams in the WCHA had their conference meeting and have begun to work out some of the details about how their league is going to be run going forward.

There have been various news stories to come out of the WCHA meetings that concluded last Wednesday.With each passing day it seems some more news emerges, some of this news adds to the already released information.

Apparently the UAA athletic director Steve Cobb is not a real big fan of the nWCHA's new playoff format - after reading his comments he has basically said what I and others have said. Actually, he has some sharp words of criticism for the new format as well  - Cobb called the "Mystery Alaska Rule" embarrassing - I have to say that I agree with him. The new rule challenges the integrity of the WCHA's conference tourney.
Doyle Woody, Anchorage Daily News --- The unusual playoff format for the Alaska schools, a cost-saving measure approved by an 8-1 vote during league meetings in Detroit last week, did not receive a stick salute from Cobb, who said he cast the only dissenting vote.

"I think it is embarrassing, and I think it is bad for college hockey and bad for our league,'' Cobb said. "Don't get me wrong, we love playing Fairbanks. But the playoffs are supposed to be an earned deal. You don't pick your opponent.''

Having UAA travel to UAF for a best-of-3, first-round series, or vice versa, would save the new league considerable money compared to either Alaska team traveling to the Lower 48 or having an opponent, or two, travel to Alaska.
It also looks like the WCHA is going to have their conference tourney in the Xcel Energy Center in 2015 when the B1G is going to be in Detroit. So the NCHC is going to go head to head with the WCHA and the B1G conference tourneys.
Cobb said the league will play its Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., in 2015 -- that's been the site of the Final Five for years -- but has yet to determine a Final Five site for 2014. The Big Ten has booked the Xcel for its tournaments in 2014 and 2016.
It will be interesting to see where the first nWCHA conferece tourney will be held - you have to wonder if some of the Michigan schools like LSSU, NMU, MTU, FSU will lobby for the conference tourney to be held in the Joe Louis Arena for the 2014 season?
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Thursday, June 07, 2012

NCHC to the Target Center

I had been rumored that the NCHC conference tourney was going to be be held at the Target Center, the official announcement is coming soon - as early as Monday. I know there are a lot of fans that aren't excited about this move nor is the Target Center a very attractive choice for a "college hockey" conference tourney.

There are some positives to look at - while the Target Center is a building built for basketball and hockey is kind of an after thought for the Target Center - there will be 100-150 million dollar  renovations to the facility very soon. The positive aspect about the Target Center is that UND, SCSU, UMD and UNO are all within close driving distances and will be the four schools that the majority of the attendance will come from, so it makes sense as a centralized location.

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