The NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee has announced sites for future championships, and the Women's Ice Hockey Committee has decided to eliminate the third-place game at the Women's Frozen Four.
Both committees announced their decisions during their annual meetings conducted recently in Indianapolis.
The men's committee named host sites for the Men's Frozen Four through 2012. The sites, approved by the Division I Championships/ Competition Cabinet, are:
2009 -- April 9-11 at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., hosted by the U. S. Naval Academy and the Greater Washington Sports Alliance. It is the first time the event will have been held in the nation's capitol.
2010 -- April 8-10 at Ford Field in Detroit, hosted by the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and the Detroit Metro Sports Commission. It will mark the first time the event has been held in a dome. Detroit has been the host city for five previous Frozen Fours, but none since 1990 when it was held in the Joe Louis Arena.
2011 -- April 7-9 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, hosted by the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. The Xcel Energy Center also hosted the event in 2002 and still holds every Frozen Four attendance mark.
2012 -- April 5-7 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, hosted by the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. It will mark the first time any round of NCAA ice hockey championship competition will be held in the state of Florida.
The committee also selected regional sites for all four regions in 2008 and 2009, and the East and Northeast regional sites in 2010 and 2011. The specific dates for each regional have not been determined, but they will encompass March 28-30, 2008; March 27-29, 2009; March 26-28, 2010; and March 25-27, 2011.
In 2008, the East regional will be played at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, New York, and will be hosted by the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The University of Wisconsin, Madison, was selected to host the Midwest regional on campus at the Kohl Center. The Northeast regional will be held at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, and will be hosted by the College of the Holy Cross, while Colorado College will host the West regional at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In 2009, the East regional will be hosted by Yale University and Fairfield University and will be held at the Bridgeport Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Midwest regional will be held at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and be hosted by the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and Western Michigan University. The University of New Hampshire will host the Northeast regional at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire, and the West regional will be held at Mariucci Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
In 2010, the ECAC and Rensselaer will repeat as hosts of the East regional at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, while Holy Cross will once again host the Northeast regional at the DCU Center. In 2011, the East regional will once again be hosted by Yale and Fairfield at the Bridgeport Arena at Harbor Yard, while New Hampshire will host the Northeast regional at the Verizon Wireless Arena for the second time in three years.
Men's committee actions
In addition to determining future sites, the men's committee also voted to alter the current policy for officiating neutrality. Some officials work games in more than one league, and are therefore restricted from officiating tournament games involving teams from any league in which they officiate during the regular season. Some officials work primarily in one league and officiate only a handful of games in a second league.
Committee members decided that any official who works nine or more games is considered to be a representative of that league and can not work a tournament game in which a team from that conference participates.
In other business, the committee will implement a more formal process for the selection, evaluation and assignment of officials during the championship process.
Members also met with conference commissioners and representatives from ESPN. In the meeting with ESPN officials, the committee discussed increasing the exposure of the game by examining the availability of different broadcast windows.
Though no action was taken, the committee also discussed the format of the Frozen Four, including the possibility of moving the games from a Thursday-Saturday format to a Saturday-Monday format. Members suggested that even though the event is sold out, exposure could be increased through television with a change in format. The committee will explore the possibility and look for feedback from host sites, broadcast partners, coaches and NCAA membership.
Women's committee actions
The women's committee received authorization to eliminate the third-place game at the Women's Frozen Four to improve the championship experience for student-athletes.
The committee made the recommendation at its June 7-10 meeting in Indianapolis, and the Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet later approved the measure.
"We just felt that we'd outgrown the consolation game," said committee Chair Steve Metcalf, associate athletics director at the University of New Hampshire. The National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Championship grew to eight teams in 2005, with championship competition spread over two weekends.
"Every team has a championship experience, and then they go to the Frozen Four and continue that experience," Metcalf said.
The elimination of the game also will allow host institutions to focus on the championship game instead of splitting their attention between the two games on the final day of the tournament. Metcalf said that as a previous host, he believes the change will relieve pressure on institutions that are organizing the event. Improving the championship game's exposure was another reason the committee decided to do away with the third-place game. Metcalf said it provides more flexibility for the championship game time, which in turn could lead to a better television time as well.
The women's committee also met with conference commissioners and urged them to explore the possibility of out-of-region play. Officials asked the commissioners to coordinate scheduling so many conferences have similar off-weekends to foster more cross-conference and East-West scheduling.
"I think it's something that would be good for women's ice hockey," Metcalf said. "It also gives you some different comparisons. You can compare against teams from another region. Not only is it good for the ice hockey committee to look at how teams match up, it's also good for the conference to give their teams some exposure out of the region. It may help them get their teams into the postseason."
In other business, the women's committee voted to recommend an increase in the squad size to 27 student-athletes and the travel party size to 37 individuals to include more people in the championship experience.
Members also increased the minimum seating capacity for future Women's Frozen Four sites to 4,000 from 2,000.