On Thursday, a USA Today report suggested that the Arizona Coyotes and the nascent Arizona State Sun Devils varsity hockey program plan on submitting an application to host a future NCAA Frozen Four. A Frozen Four in the desert? Very likely...soon.
The Coyotes told USA TODAY Sports Thursday that they have already talked to USA Hockey about making a bid for the 2018 WJC, and are in discussions to have the potential for some Arizona State University games to played at Gila River Arena as early as next season.
The Coyotes and ASU officials have opened talks about submitting a joint application to host an NCAA Frozen Four. Coyotes executives and ASU officials will both be attending the Frozen Four together in Boston this year.
Given how the NCAA rolled out the red carpet for Penn State with consecutive Pennsylvania Frozen Fours in Pittsburgh 2013 and Philadelphia 2014, I'd imagine Arizona will get a chance to host the event fairly quickly...as soon as 2019, the next available opening for the event.
Glendale, Arizona would become the 13th NHL city to host college hockey's championship weekend. Chicago will become #12 in 2017. This got me thinking...which first-time NHL franchise host city is next.
Here's the list of potential first-time Frozen Four NHL host cities, ranked:
17. Winnipeg – lol be serious
16. Edmonton – see #16
13. Vancouver – I don't know. I could come around to this idea. Does one of the Alaska schools want to host again? Still, any Canadian Frozen Four wouldn't be without its set of challenges, such as athletics departments needing to ensure that all roster players have valid U.S. Passports well before they even know they are participating in the event.
12. Toronto – At one point College Hockey Inc. was batting around the idea of a Toronto Frozen Four. Still not sure how feasible it would be.
11. Montreal – Probably the best of the potential Canadian hosts. Still, meh.
10. Sunrise, Florida – Can barely support a NHL franchise, let alone a college hockey National Championship.
9. Raleigh, North Carolina – Really no reason to put the event in North Carolina, unless you want to stoke the ACC hockey flames, which, no thanks.
8. Los Angeles – Alaska-Anchorage and the city of Anaheim hosted in 1999, but there isn't a host school within 350 miles of the City of Angels. Pass.
7. San Jose – Giving the Bay Area a Frozen Four makes a bit more sense than a second Southern California Frozen Four, but only slightly.
6. Newark, New Jersey – if you're gonna do it NYC then, we do it big then.
5. Brooklyn – Getting warmer, but still not quite there yet.
4. New York – Would be one of the most expensive Frozen Fours to attend. Also, good luck trying to book the World's Most Famous Arena between the Knicks, Rangers, postseason college basketball and the venue's 451st Billy Joel concert, give or take.
3. Dallas – Could this be the impetus for the University of Texas to go varsity? Still, Texas in April seems like a fine destination Frozen Four as any.
2. Nashville, Tennessee – Similar destination-type Frozen Four as Dallas, but one that has a few college hockey programs within a reasonable driving distance (though I doubt you'd see UAH or Miami there).
1. Glendale, Arizona – Frozen Four in the desert? Sure, why not.