No Surprise: Minnesota Voted As Fan Favorite Host For Future NCAA Frozen Four Tournaments
A majority of college hockey fans nationwide seem to agree that the State of Hockey is the best place to host the NCAA Frozen Four. TheRinkLive.com conducted a fan poll recently, asking where the public would like to see a future Frozen Four held. Minnesota was the answer, and it wasn't particularly close.
Only a year removed from Minnesota's last Frozen Four hosting stint, college hockey fans around the country are apparently clamoring for more Minnesota hospitality. Of the 16 top options in the fan poll, only 5 options drew double-digit percentage points, and St. Paul led the pack by 8%.
TheRinkLive.com Poll Results (Top 5)
- St. Paul, MN - 23%
- Tampa, FL - 15%
- Las Vegas, NV - 12% (tie)
- Nashville, TN - 12% (tie)
- Phoenix/Glendale, AZ - 11%
Officials with the Xcel Energy Center were elated to hear this news, with the Duluth News Tribune getting comments from the venue's VP and general Manager, Jack Larson. He told the DNT "We’re honored and thrilled to hear that. We like to think that people want to be here for the Frozen Four. The stadium has been host to a number of high-profile hockey events, including NFL playoff games, NCAA conference tournaments, a couple Frozen Fours, and several Minnesota high school hockey tournaments.
The Xcel Energy Center has been host to three Frozen Four tournaments since it opened, and the prospect of future hosting opportunities should excite fans for a couple reasons.
The first, obviously, is the opportunity to see the best of the best in the college hockey world hitting the ice right here in the State of Hockey. Secondly, because every time the Frozen Four has been hosted at the Xcel Energy Center, a Minnesota team wins it all. The Gophers won in 2002 in a 4-3 OT game against Maine, while the Bulldogs won 3-2 in OT over Michigan in 2011 and again in 2018 in a 2-1 victory over Notre Dame.
While fans want to see the Frozen Four back in Minnesota once again, it will be at least a few years before that happens. After this year's destination being Buffalo, NY, Little Caesars Arena in Detroit will be the host in 2020, PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh in 2021, and TD Garden in Boston in 2022.
In all, Minnesota has hosted a total of 10 NCAA Men's Hockey championships, spanning all the way back to 1958. Two of those have been during the current 16-team tournament format that went into place in 2003. While most of them have been held in the Twin Cities, Duluth played host to two.
Minnesota's Frozen Four Hosting History
- 1958 - Williams Arena in Minneapolis (Denver defeated North Dakota 6-2)
- 1966 - Williams Arena in Minneapolis (Michigan State defeated Clarkson 6-1)
- 1968 - Duluth Entertainment Center in Duluth (Denver defeated North Dakota 4-0)
- 1981 - Duluth Entertainment Center in Duluth (Wisconsin defeated Minnesota 6-3)
- 1989 - St. Paul Civic Center in St. Paul (Harvard defeated Minnesota 4-3 OT)
- 1991 - St. Paul Civic Center in St. Paul (Northern Michigan defeated Boston University 8-7 3OT)
- 1994 - St. Paul Civic Center in St. Paul (Lake Superior State defeated Boston University 9-1)
- 2002 - Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul (Minnesota defeated Maine 4-3 OT)
- 2011 - Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul (MN Duluth defeated Michigan 3-2 OT)
- 2018 - Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul (MN Duluth defeated Notre Dame 2-1)