TAMPA, Fla. - Tampa Bay and the St. Pete Times Forum have been awarded the 2012 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four, it was announced today by the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee. The University of Alabama, Huntsville will serve as the host school for NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey’s showcase event. It will mark the first time any round of NCAA ice hockey championships competition will be held in the state of Florida.
Tampa Bay was among six finalists for available years of the championships. Other cities chosen to host the Men’s Frozen Four were Washington D.C. (2009), Detroit (2010) and St. Paul (2011). The other finalists were Boston and Philadelphia. The Tampa Bay bid was a joint effort by the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, the St. Pete Times Forum and the University of Alabama, Huntsville.
“Being awarded the Frozen Four further affirms Tampa Bay’s growing influence on the national sporting map,” said Ron Campbell, President of the St. Pete Times Forum and Chairman of the Tampa Sports Commission. “A lot of different individuals and groups worked hard on this bid and I think it all started with Jay Feaster, John Tortorella and our Lightning winning the Stanley Cup and showing the nation that Tampa Bay is not only a great sports community, but a thriving hockey community. We place this event alongside the Super Bowl and collegiate basketball championships that are coming to Tampa and we look forward to fully embracing the NCAA and its student-athletes.”
Wayne Dean, chair of the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee, and a member of the NCAA staff took site visits to all six locations prior to all cities doing formal presentations to the entire Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee, June 7-10, in Indianapolis. Tampa Bay Lightning star and 2004 NHL Hart Trophy Winner (MVP) Martin St. Louis, a former Frozen Four participant, met with the NCAA on their site visit to Tampa to tout the area as a potential host city. St. Louis is a co-chairman of the organizing committee for the event.
“As we represented to the committee in Indianapolis, the Tampa Bay area is a tremendous hockey market,” said Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster. “From the 23,000 people who witnessed Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals inside the St Pete Times Forum to the 20,000-plus gathered on the plaza outside the building, we demonstrated that Tampa Bay hockey fans are passionate about the sport and we expect a similar response for the Frozen Four in 2012.”
The 2006 Frozen Four will take place at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with the 2007 finals held at the Savvis Center in St. Louis, Missouri and the 2008 Men’s Frozen Four at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
“We are extremely appreciative of the NCAA’s decision to have Tampa Bay host the 2012 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four,” said Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. “Our community stands ready to create an unprecedented Frozen Four experience for college hockey’s student-athletes, coaches, officials, and supporters.”