NCAA D-I Men's Ice Hockey Committee Chair Sean Frazier said Tampa's performance as host of this year's Frozen Four puts the city "in a position where it's clear that this is a place that we would come back to," according to Laura Keeley of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. Frazier said the experience in Tampa has "been outstanding. It has exceeded every expectation that I've had. The attention to detail has been off the hook." Univ. of Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said, "I've played in a Frozen Four. I've coached in one, and I've attended several. And Tampa has done an excellent job. The community certainly showed everyone that hockey is special here." Thursday's semifinals “drew 18,605 and Saturday's final 18,818 (both about 1,000 shy of a sellout).” Fans “enjoyed the change of pace from the traditional northern locales -- even if the idea seemed a bit far-fetched at first.” The committee “already has awarded the Frozen Four to Pittsburgh in 2013 and Philadelphia in 2014.” Keeley noted “beyond those dates, nothing is set -- other than the NCAA's desire to come back to Tampa.” Frazier: "Top to bottom, it's been fantastic" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 4/8). In N.Y., Marty Cohen wrote for a sport that “typically anchors its tournament in traditional hockey sites in the Northeast and Midwest, merging hockey and sunshine in early April was an outside-the-box venture.” The “only other time the event was held at a warm-weather site” was in Anaheim in '99. Tampa Bay Sports Commission Exec Dir Rob Higgins said, “It’s just something we’ll never forget. It’s such a historic moment and opportunity for us” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/7).
WE WANT YOU BACK: In Albany, Pete Iorizzo wrote a lot about the Frozen Four “had changed by the time the event came to Albany in 1992 and then again in 2001, when it just about filled the downtown arena to capacity.” The Frozen Four now is “so big as to be barely recognizable.” Iorizzo: “If you like college hockey and live here [in] the Capital Region, it also means the sport's gain is your loss.” The tournament since ’02 has “hit NHL cities and NHL arenas every year except one,” when it was in Milwaukee in ’06. What Albany “can’t do is change the capacity of Times Union Center.” It seats “14,000 for hockey,” but the NCAA “is looking for 15,000, minimum.” Times Union Center GM Bob Belber said, "The events have grown to a degree that they're so prestigious that every city wants them. And a lot of the cities that want them have the sufficient space the NCAA is looking for" (Albany TIMES UNION, 4/8).