The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Phoenix Coyotes stand at attention during the national anthem at the Air Canada Centre on November 15, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
With Winnipeg hosting last weekend's North Dakota-Clarkson College Hockey Classic, SB Nation's Winnipeg Jets blog Arctic Ice Hockey conducted an interesting interview with College Hockey Inc. Director Paul Kelly. The full interview is definitely worth a read, as Kelly talks about College Hockey Inc.'s efforts to promote the college game north of the border.
In particular, Kelly's response when asked if there were specific Canadian markets College Hockey Inc. was exploring to promote the sport caught my attention.
"We have looked very seriously at playing in Toronto as they have expressed an interest in running a four team tournament there. We have also been contacted by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and they have asked about the possibility of bidding for the NCAA Championship - The Frozen Four - so yes, there is a lot of interest, certainly in the Toronto area to bring College Hockey in."
Historically, Boston College hasn't relied on the Canada as a recruiting pipeline as much as other Hockey East programs, and is much less reliant upon filling the roster with Canadian players than some of the western college hockey powers. But there's something intriguing about the possibility of Boston College playing more games north of the border, particularly in eastern, hockey-crazed cities like Toronto, Montreal and Quebec. There's probably a lot to gain in terms of exposure and awareness for the program that could be furthered by playing more games in Canada (particularly when outdoor college hockey games seem to have jumped the shark).
College hockey games in Canada -- the new outdoor college hockey game?
Hosting the Frozen Four in Toronto also seems like a slam dunk and would serve to grow the sport up North and raise the profile of U.S. college hockey in Canada. If the Air Canada Centre were serious about putting in a bid to host a Frozen Four, I'd be all for it (but only after the Frozen Four returns to Boston, which is long overdue).
After all, a Frozen Four in Toronto makes a whole lot more sense than holding the event in Tampa.