Tuesday, June 29, 2010

UMD Turned Down for NCAA Men's Regional

There was good news and bad news for UMD hockey Monday.

The good: The women's program will host the 2012 Frozen Four at Amsoil Arena, marking the third time UMD has hosted that event. The Bulldogs have won five national titles, with two of them coming at the old DECC.

The bad: The men's team was denied a chance to host an NCAA regional in 2012.

The hosts for the four 2012 regionals were announced Monday. They'll be held in Green Bay (host: Michigan Tech), St. Paul (Minnesota), Bridgeport, Conn. (Fairfield), and Worcester (Holy Cross).

Yeah, yeah, same old, been there, I know.

Remember, it was confirmed in January that UMD bid on this 2012 regional. If you aren't convinced that this process is simply a lame NCAA money grab, you need look no further than the fact that Minnesota is hosting a third regional in four years in 2012, and they're hosting the Frozen Four in 2011.

Naturally, since the rules require that Minnesota be placed in their home regional if they qualify, the NCAA sees nothing but dollar signs when the "U" bids on a regional and uses the XCel Energy Center.

Amsoil Arena will be nice, but it can't compete. Neither can any other rink in this region. Never mind that the Gophers haven't made the NCAAs for two straight years, and the XCel regional was embarrassingly attended in March, thanks to the fact that St. Cloud State fans apparently can't find the facility, despite it being only an hour away from home.

Who cares that only 7,500 people or so showed up in an 18,000-seat cavern? It was like watching the Class A state tournament -- with all due respect -- and that's not what this tournament should be about.

The NCAA has sent a clear message with their decision to ignore a wonderfully-located Duluth and send another hockey event to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Until they pull their heads out and put the regionals back at campus sites, expect more funeral parlor-like atmospheres at the sport's most visible and significant events, outside of the Frozen Four.

Since the U of M people have had plenty of practice, they have this down to a science, and you should expect a first-class event if you go.

That's not the point.

Instead, the point is that the NCAA is lazy, refuses to think outside of the box they planted themselves in, and they seem determined to ruin the hockey tournament by putting games in places that won't have any atmosphere unless the home team makes it.

No comments: