Ever since Boston was passed over for the last cycle of Frozen Four hosts, it seemed like a matter of when, not if, college hockey's final weekend would return to the Hub. On Wednesday, the NCAA made it official -- selecting Boston as the site of the 2015 Frozen Four. The event, hosted by the Hockey East Association and the TD Garden, will take place on Thursday, April 9th (semifinals) and Saturday, April 11 (NCAA Championship Game).
The Hub has been on a sort of double-secret probation since last hosting the event in 2004, after a perceived half-hearted effort by the city. Boston will have just 16 months to prepare for the event, which, having hosted the event twice prior in 1998 and 2004, was likely was an important selection criteria for the NCAA given the very short turnaround.
What's great about the Frozen Four returning to Boston is that there are a number of local teams capable of making it through the Regional round to the Garden.
Great thing abt Boston as FF host is there's lots of local programs good enough to make it: BC, UNH, PC, Maine, Lowell, UMass, Harvard.— BC Interruption (@bcinterruption) December 11, 2013
The TD Garden has previously hosted the event in 1998 and 2004. Both times the Eagles advanced to the Frozen Four, only to be denied titles. In 1998, Boston College lost an overtime heartbreaker to Michigan in the title game, while in 2004, Maine goalie Jimmy Howard saved approximately 145 shots to propel the Black Bears to a 2-1 win in the semifinals. Maine would go on to lose to Denver in the finals.
The old Garden has previously hosted the Frozen Four on three separate occasions, every year from 1972 to 1974. That other school down the B-line won its second title in 1972, while Wisconsin and Minnesota earned their program's first titles in 1973 and 1974, respectively. Northeastern's Matthews Arena hosted the city's first Frozen Four in 1960; won by Denver.
Looking forward to watching the Eagles defend their National Championship in their own backyard as well as take home the program's second straight Hobey Baker Memorial Award (Fitzgerald? Cangelosi? Demko?).
The 2016 Frozen Four was awarded to Tampa, which served as a first-time host of the event in 2012. By all accounts, Tampa was a fine host; so good that the city has been awarded its second Frozen Four over a four year span. Don't think you'll get many complaints from Eagles fans on this selections.
With the Frozen Four staying "east" for five straight years -- Tampa, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, Tampa -- you figured that the NCAA would correct for this by sending the event out west in subsequent years. You know, to give North Dakota, Minnesota and Michigan fans false hope of winning a title a little closer to home. The NCAA did just that, awarding the 2017 Frozen Four to the United Center and the city of Chicago. This will be the first time the United Center has hosted the event, and an easy trip for fans from both east and west. Finally, the 2018 Frozen Four was awarded to St. Paul's XCel Center, where, along with Boston, it should probably stay once every 6-8 years on rotation.
Overall, I'd say the NCAA got this one right. They threw in two traditional host cities in college hockey hotbeds, went back to a recent host that acquitted themselves well the first time around and are trying out a new, easily accessible city. To me, the only mild surprise was in awarding Tampa a second Frozen Four over Washington D.C., but I don't think many college hockey fans will mind making the trek to Florida over D.C. in early April.