I've said this before and I'll say it again, college hockey is a step ahead of the rest of the hockey world with their regular season schedule, but about three miles behind in their playoff system. USCHO just tweeted the names of the 2012 NCAA men's regional hosts( And College Hockey News confirms) and it's an absolute disaster on just about every front.
First, the announcing of four more regionals means we won't be seeing the slightly less moronic proposed tournament format, which at least included one playoff round that made some sense.
The second problem is the hosts themselves. The hosts will be Minnesota, Michigan Tech, Holy Cross, and Fairfield/Yale. If it feels like a repeat, it's because it pretty much is. The two eastern ones aren't that big of a deal. They're sure to be boring, empty arenas for critically important games, but there aren't really any better options. Plus, with now-defunct Fairfield helping host in Bridgeport, you get the joy of the 17 people in attendance saying, "What the hell is that deer doing in here?"
The first problem is letting Minnesota host for the fourth consecutive year. They got regionals in 2009 and 2010, the Frozen Four next year, and then another regional the following year. Over that same four year period, the entire CCHA conference, will only host three events: 2009 Grand Rapids regional, 2010 Fort Wayne regional, and the 2010 Frozen Four. It's no secret that a big part of the reason Minnesota wants to keep hosting is to give themselves a home ice advantage in the tournament--assuming they ever make it back--so why do they keep getting that advantage in the tournament?
The problem with Michigan Tech hosting at the Resch Center in Green Bay, is along the same lines as my first complaint. In the relative landscape of college hockey, there is absolutely nothing "Midwest" about Green Bay, Wisconsin. With Nebraska-Omaha out of the league, Alaska is the only CCHA team that would travel east to get to that regional.
I've made comments in the past about the CCHA looking like a 'B' level conference, with their inability to find a way to work Alabama-Huntsville into their fold, but in truth, there's four major conferences in college hockey. It's the ECAC, Hockey East, WCHA, and CCHA. So why every other year, are the regional hosts the ECAC, Hockey East, WCHA, and WCHA?
On the plus side, at least there isn't another regional in St. Louis.