Cities Vie to Be New Regional Sites
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
With the Division I men's ice hockey committee set to meet this week, six cities are in the running for the second East regional bid, according to a report in the Boston Herald.
Those six cities include Providence, Lowell (Mass.), Manchester (N.H.), Rochester (N.Y.), Bridgeport (Conn.) and Lake Placid (N.Y.). Worcester was already awarded the East Regional for this year, but a second site is needed with the expected expansion of the men's tournament to 16 teams and four regionals.
The ice hockey committee will meet this week in San Francisco to decide what two extra cities will receive bids. There is no word on which cities applied to be the second West regional host.
The committee still must finalize the plan for four separate regionals, and what their names would be. And there is still some concern over whether the tournament will be able to draw to four separate sites, especially if two are so close together in the East.
"The problem here is, they're all very close," said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna. "Worcester, Providence, you're still appealing to the same geographic area. Will you be able to draw?
"The problem was created because we got what we wanted, so even with this, it's still better [than the alternative]."
The NCAA originally mandated a regional must take place in a building with a capacity greater than 6,000, but later amended that to 4,000.
Rochester is aggressively pursuing the bid. General Manager Jeff Calkins told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that his 12,000-seat Blue Cross Arena is "a great location for regional sporting events and we're going to do what we can to bring those events in."
Rochester's arena is managed by SMG, the Philadelphia management company which runs 142 sports facilities nationwide, including Albany's Pepsi Arena, site of the 2001 Frozen Four.
That venue's manager, Bob Belber, was recently named SMG's promoter for 30 northeastern sites. Belber told the Democrat and Chronicle that he hopes to leverage his contacts with the NCAA to bring more events to SMG-managed facilities.
Ed Trefzger contributed to this report.