Via USCHO, the NCAA has released the names of ten finalists that are vying to host the Frozen Four in either 2015, 2016, 2017, or 2018. Those finalists are:
• TD Garden, Boston
• First Niagara Center, Buffalo, N.Y.
• Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
• Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh
• Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
• Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
• Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.
• United Center, Chicago
• Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Fla.
The first thing that stands out is that all ten arenas are home to NHL teams, or at least will be once the New York Islanders
move to the Barclays Center. That was likely a factor that knocked out some other bids, such as Cleveland, or Kansas City, even though their arenas are as big, or in some cases, bigger, than the finalists.
Overall, it's a pretty strong field to choose from. Pittsburgh and Philly hosted last year, and this year, respectively, which likely takes them out of the running. Columbus is more than likely out too. It was a fine host, but it's not exactly an exciting destination, and their last time hosting was kind of spoiled by the Final Five Repeat Frozen Four, which was just kind of meh all around. Otherwise, it's probably anyone's guess as to what direction the NCAA goes.
Both Brooklyn and Chicago are areas the Frozen Four hasn't ventured to before, and have the allure of bringing college hockey to a major city, and one people would enjoy travelling to.
Washington D.C. and Tampa are both recent hosts, but seemed to draw excellent reviews from fans that travelled to the event, which would seem to put them in good position.
St. Paul and Boston are both old stalwarts in college hockey's two largest hotbeds. Boston seems to have been on some sort of double-secret hosting probation from the NCAA after a kind of half-hearted effort with the 2004 Frozen Four. But now that it has been over a decade, it might be time to let Boston back into the fold.
That just leaves Buffalo, which isn't the most exciting destination, but when considering Terry Pegula's influence in the college hockey world, it seems like that could be a possibility.
Who do you think the NCAA should select for the next Frozen Fours? Leave us a comment with your picks.