This week, college hockey enthusiasts have an additional reason to be glad as ‘the mecca of pucks’ Boston will host the Frozen Four championship in the TD Garden. Besides the local teams from the Providence College and Boston University, North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha are expected to also join in.
Tomorrow, the teams will participate into a semifinal doubleheader, which will reveal the two winners that will challenge each other in the championship game on Saturday.
This is the eighth year that the Frozen Four is held in Boston but first time in eleven years when Boston University hosts it at the Garden.
The Frozen Four’s return to Boston was long-awaited by all segments of hockey fans from mayor Marty Walsh to professional hockey players. Mayor Walsh recently told reporters that he, as a hockey fan, was thrilled to learn that his city would host this year’s Frozen Four.
However, Boston is not just a location where the tournament will be held. Instead it is a town that hosts a community that really loves hockey. For instance, the Bruins have a dedicated fan base that had been cheering for them since 1966, when Bobby Orr arrived and boosted the sports’ appeal among Bostonians.
Although the Bruins finished last in six of seven seasons of the Original Six NHL in the 1960s, the tickets at the old Garden were always sold out at 13,909.
Additionally, Boston really invests in the future of hockey champions since more than 20 schools play hockey within 50 miles of the city. The Beanpot schools are within three miles of each other, while 12 more schools play Division1 to 3 hockey in western Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
But the ones Bostonians should thank to are Steve Nazro, vice president for events at the former FleetCenter, and Hockey East, which will host the tournament this year, which pulled some strings to make it happen.
Mr. Nazro said that there is an enormous number of amateurs playing hockey in Boston.
“So, it’s definitely a mecca. Certainly, Minnesota is a very strong amateur hockey area, but we think this is the place to be,”
Don “Toot” Cahoon, a hockey legend from Mass. that played in the back-to-back national championships between 1971 and 1972 at Boston University, knows best the spirit of hockey in the area.
He described the Frozen Four as a “pinnacle” that provided participants with an “unparalleled” and “overwhelming” experience. He said that back in his days, there was no greater achievement than getting your team into the Frozen Four.
Although the Frozen Four was hosted by Tampa and Washington in the recent year, more and more college hockey fans requested that Boston, Minneapolis and St. Paul, and a third city should host the Frozen Four in a three-way rotation.
However, this proposal will be discussed at the annual meeting of the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA), which is scheduled for this month. A spokesperson for the NCCAA men’s Division 1 said that hockey fans constantly pressure the committee to bring the Frozen Four to their cities or to other cities that are also historical places or have a strong fan base.
Image Source: Bruins Daily