Mar. 6, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Exterior view of Tampa Bay Times Forum after the game between the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning. Ottawa Senators defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Yeah, so about that whole hosting a Frozen Four 1,200+ miles from the nearest participant thing ...
The NCAA announced single session tickets were on sale for Thursday's semifinals and Saturday's final. The admission price is $110 per day. Tickets can be purchased by visiting ncaa.com/tickets, calling toll-free 1-800-745-3000 or visiting the Tampa Bay Times Forum box office.
With due respect to Tampa, who I'm sure will be a fabulous host city, the NCAA Regional round isn't the only thing that's broken with college hockey's postseason tournament. I realize it is Easter weekend, Tampa is 1,200+ miles from the closest school (tiny Union College), flights from the Northeast ain't cheap and two college hockey unknowns are playing in the first semifinal (Ferris State-Union).
All that said, it shouldn't be hard for the NCAA to sell out a 19,204-seat arena for the final three games of the college hockey season.
If tomorrow's National Semifinals don't sell out, it will be the first non-Ford Field disaster semifinal to sell out since ... 1999 when the Frozen Four was held at the Pond of Anaheim (which drew 12,582, 12,719 and 14,447 for the final). Only three times since 1993 have the semifinals and title game failed to sell out the arena. One of those times was the 2010 Frozen Four at Ford Field, which, yeah, while the other two were the 1999 Anaheim Frozen Four and 1996 Cincinnati Frozen Four.
See a pattern here?
To the NCAA, please no more. I understand the logic behind making the Frozen Four a destination trip for individuals who show up every year, but I think it should be painfully obvious that if you can't sell out the Frozen Four in Anaheim, Tampa and Cincinnati, then we need to be a bit more selective here when it comes to selecting host cities.
Thankfully, the next two years should be much better with the Frozen Four coming to Pennsylvania for the first time (Pittsburgh is hosting 2013 and Philadelphia 2014). After that, I hope that we find ourselves in a more permanent rotation of Denver, Twin Cities, Detroit, Boston and (insert other large Northeast NHL city here ... New York? Newark? Buffalo? Philadelphia? Pittsburgh? DC?).
This would be my proposal:
2013 -- Pittsburgh, PA
2014 -- Philadelphia, PA
2015 -- Denver, CO
2016 -- Boston, MA
2017 -- Detroit, MI
2018 -- New York / Newark / Brooklyn?
2019 -- St. Paul, MN
Then either cycle through again or throw in a destination Frozen Four every 6-7 years. Places like Toronto, Milwaukee, St. Louis ... maybe. But it's clear these destination-type Frozen Fours clearly aren't working in terms of attendance.