« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service , Published May 08 2013

UND works on bid for NCAA hockey regional to come to Scheels Arena

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota is hoping to bring the NCAA Division I hockey tournament back to the state.

UND athletic director Brian Faison said the school is working on putting together a bid to host a men’s hockey regional at Fargo’s Scheels Arena in 2015 or 2016.

The NCAA’s current philosophy for regionals is to place them close to college hockey hotbeds, but it does not allow teams to play at their regular home arena.

Scheels Arena, a 5,000-seat arena that opened in 2008, is the closest viable option for UND to host a men’s hockey regional.

The NCAA has awarded regionals for next season, but has not made any announcements about the future beyond that. It is expected to review bids late this summer or early in the fall.

Faison said that officials at Ralph Engelstad Arena are helping UND put together the bid for Scheels Arena.

UND last hosted a regional in 2006 at Ralph Engelstad Arena (before the NCAA moved them off of campus sites), winning a pair of games by three-plus goals and advancing to the NCAA Frozen Four.

The last on-campus facility to host a regional was Minneapolis’ Mariucci Arena in 2009. Since the NCAA issued the edict to move regionals away from regular home sites, Minnesota has hosted two regionals at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

There was a proposal at the annual Florida meetings last week to change the NCAA tournament format to allow the top eight seeds to host a best-of-3 series in the first round, but it was met with resistance from a segment of coaches, Faison said.

“Clearly, for me, I’ve always been a supporter of the top eight hosting in the first round,” said Faison, who will be a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee in September. “I think it’s a better way. There are still going to be upsets. It’s just better for the game.”

The primary concern of coaches with that format is that it’s not a competitively fair situation, Faison said.

UND also is putting together a bid for Ralph Engelstad Arena to host the Women’s Frozen Four in 2015 or 2016.

The women’s Frozen Four typically is played at a home venue. Last season, Minnesota won the championship in its home rink, Ridder Arena.

UND has never hosted a Women’s Frozen Four.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald