Frequent Frozen Four travelers, start making your plans: the next four Frozen Four locations were announced as part of a slate of hosts across multiple sports put out today by the NCAA.
We already knew that the 2018 Frozen Four would be in St. Paul. Now, we know the locations for 2019-2022: Buffalo, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Boston.
The 2022 Frozen Four, which will be hosted by Hockey East, will bring the event back to the TD Garden for the first time in seven years. It will be the fourth Frozen Four overall hosted at TD Garden (1998, 2004, 2015). Prior to TD Garden, the old Boston Garden hosted three NCAA Final Fours, and Matthews Arena hosted the 1960 edition.
The only real surprise among the announced sites was maybe Pittsburgh, as well as the lack of Tampa - a wildly popular host with fans and teams, which drew big crowds in 2012 and 2016. According to various reports on Twitter, Tampa pulled their bid for the next round, which is somewhat surprising given the city has expressed interest in welcoming the event back.
Pittsburgh returns to the fray after hosting the 2013 Frozen Four, in which Quinnipiac fell to Yale in the final. Pittsburgh’s inclusion comes as a minor surprise, but the growth of Penn State hockey and the continued popularity of the Penguins likely has the city squarely on the NCAA’s radar.
Buffalo and Detroit were no surprise. Buffalo has invested heavily in American hockey during the tenure of Sabres owner Terry Pegula, whose funding was responsible for Penn State’s D1 program. The city also hosts numerous USA Hockey events, and will host the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championship.
Detroit last hosted the 2010 Frozen Four and is a natural fit for some of the sport’s western fanbases; as an added bonus, they’re opening a brand new hockey arena this fall, so it’ll still be shiny when the Frozen Four returns in 2020. The 2010 final, which BC won, was played at Ford Field — which drew a record crowd, but was not really an ideal setting for hockey. This one should be better.
There might be some complaints from Western fanbases about only one of the four really being in their turf, but Buffalo and Pittsburgh are both fairly central to most programs. I’d suspect Chicago, St. Paul and Denver will all potentially be back in the mix when the 2021-2024 hosts are announced, presuming we avoid nuclear Armageddon between now and then.
The other piece of relevant men’s hockey news was the announcement of regional sites for 2018-19. From an Eastern perspective, no change: Worcester and Bridgeport in 2018, Providence and Manchester in 2019. Allentown, PA is an interesting new addition for the Midwest regional each of the next two years, with Penn State hosting. North Dakota will host each of the next two Western regionals - 2018 in Fighting Hawks Falls, SD, and 2019 in Fargo.
Overall, this is a pretty decent slate of hosts. None are necessarily huge tourist attractions other than Boston, but they’re all good hockey cities that should draw a solid crowd for the annual festival of college hockey.
Hockey East, the hosts of the 2022 Frozen Four in Boston, released the following statement:
“The entire Hockey East family is thrilled to once again be hosting the Frozen Four with our friends from TD Garden,” Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna said in the statement. “The memories from 2015 remain strong and we look forward to hosting the college hockey world in 2022.”