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NCAA should pull 2012 Frozen Four from Tampa

By Ken Schott
Friday, August 29, 2008
| 16 comments

The city of Tampa, Fla., is scheduled to host the 2012 NCAA men’s hockey Frozen Four at the St. Pete Times Forum.

But the NCAA better rethink that in the wake of what the new ownership group of the Tampa Bay Lightning pulled on Notre Dame and the Lightning College Hockey Classic.

The NCAA should rescind Tampa’s right to host the Frozen Four after the Lightning told the Notre Dame just last Thursday that it wasn’t welcomed to have its tournament Jan. 2-3 in the St. Pete Times Forum. Notre Dame scrambled to find a new home, and it was fortunate that it found a home at the Sears Centre Arena in the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates, Ill. The tournament, in which Union College will participate, is now called Shillelagh Tournament, and will take place Jan. 2-3.

Union will play the Fighting Irish in one semifinal, while Minnesota-Duluth faces UMass-Lowell in the other semi.

Notre Dame and the Lightning co-hosted the tournament the last two years. But with a new ownership group in place in Tampa, it appeared the relationship between the two quickly soured. When the NHL schedule was released last month, it had the Lightning hosting the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m. The Lightning hosted a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on the second day of last year’s tournament, but that game was played in the afternoon.

Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson didn’t mince words in criticizing the Lightning’s new ownership group, which is headed by Oren Koules and former NHL player Len Barrie.

“I am extremely disappointed in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s decision to not continue the tournament,” Jackson said in a statement. “We had a verbal agreement to continue this for two more years, and as hosts of the Frozen Four in 2012, I’m not sure it’s the best message to send to the college hockey community by cancelling the tournament at such a late date.”

Not surprisingly, an e-mail request I sent to the Lightning asking to speak to one of the owners went unanswered.

The ownership group should take a closer look at the Lightning’s roster. They have 10 players who were in college hockey, led by Vermont alum Martin St. Louis. And assistant coach Cap Raeder was once Clarkson’s head coach.

What this ownership group did is make enemies with college hockey coaches. If I were a college hockey coach, I would refuse to give Lightning scouts a pass to come to a game to scout players. If they want to scout, make them buy a ticket.

Better yet, the NCAA should hand out the ultimate punishment to Tampa. It doesn’t deserve to host the 2012 Frozen Four anymore. The city can thank the Lightning’s new owners for that.

 
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comments

August 30, 2008
10:28 a.m.

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typical of these hollywood morons,they think they know sports.koules is another in a long line of morons the nhl has let infilrate ownership.i hope the lightning fold,god knows they'll never turn a profit.and the product in 08/09 is gonna be bad again.i hope the ncaa pulls the event from tampa bays owners,they deserve nothing.

August 30, 2008
9 p.m.

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kschott says...

Thanks for the comment. And you have an interesting ID. LOL

August 30, 2008
11:36 p.m.

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MaxHunter says...

*LMAO*

We're one of the most profitable franchises - CONTINUOUSLY!!!

Now seriously, who in Florida do you think is going to care if it's pulled? Who do you think is going to fill a college hockey tournament in South Florida? The fans of our university hockey team - our fantastic USF Imbeingsarcastic hockey team? Come on guys, sorry for your luck but it's business, nothing personal. And if the tourney gets pulled, how much do you think we're going to cry over it? You're trying to make it sound like it's a punishment. Boo-Hoo. Cry me a river. We've lost what? How much money in bed-tax? $200?

Sorry for the luck, but big deal.

August 31, 2008
4:54 p.m.

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ursus says...

Ken, I agree with you that the F4 should be moved elsewhere.

MaxHunter,
I am pretty sure that the F4 has been a sellout every year since 2000. It will be a sellout in 2009 also. I doubt the 2010 tourney in Ford Field in Detroit will sell out, but that will mainly be due to the size of the venue.

The Lightning College Hockey Classic, on the other hand, certainly was far from a sellout last year.

August 31, 2008
7:58 p.m.

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MaxHunter says...

With sarcasm aside...

As you said the Lightning College Classic, is far from a sellout. So why continue to sponsor a game that's not even played where Lightning fans reside? To grow support? Asking Blackhawk fans to give some respect to a Florida team, is like asking the Habs to give respect to the National Mexican Hockey Team (Alright fine, so I fibbed a little on the sarcasm. ) It's NEVER going to happen. So why continue to sponsor an event that isn't a sell out and is never going to do anything for the team - even in name?

As far as the F4 is concerned. Again big deal. I'd go - maybe(I'm from Michigan) - but who else in this area is going to care about a match up between ND and MSU - at least enough to pay for a ticket? We don't even have a collegiate hockey team. If and when it's played here, I'll cross my fingers for a sell-out- BUT I DOUBT IT.

August 31, 2008
8:11 p.m.

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kschott says...

MaxHunter, St. Louis doesn't have a college hockey team, and the 2007 Frozen Four there sold out. Frozen Four tickets, once they go on sale, are gone before you know it. People will travel no matter where the tournament is being played. Obviously, you're not a member of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Maybe you don't want visitors spending money in your town.

And the Lightning has continuously been one of the more profitable franchises? I don't think the Lightning was making much money when Phil Esposito was running the show when the franchise first started.

August 31, 2008
10:05 p.m.

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MaxHunter says...

Ken, with do respect, Espi was ten years ago, and even during that time we played at a 11,000 seat arena (which on a side note, I miss - it was like old time hockey in that place.) Until relocation to the Forum, that nearly doubled the size and we still sell-out 98% of our games. In a league of 30 teams we're the 11th most valuable team in the league - and that's when we're at the bottom! But if you want to go back seventeen years ago, to prove a point; you're right, I think we were in the red that year too - but then again that was a year before we played our first game.

This is the first time the F4 will be played out of a traditional hockey climate - you can TRY to use St. Louis as an example for your point, but St. Louis is a heck of a lot closer to hockey tradition than Tampa. You might even be able to use Anaheim in '99 as an example - but it's no more than a hop to Colorado who had TWO teams in the twelve that year.

I'm not a member of the Tampa Chamber - I'm in Sarasota. I'm your classic Hollywood writer that hates journalists and Hollywood (not necessarily in that order - and when it comes to journalists, "hate" is a strong word.) Yet, I feel fairly confident the area will survive if they pull it. I mean, it's not Schenectady (Holy Jeebus, I'm not even sure how to pronounce it, but I'll take your word it's located in NY,) but we do have a small tourist industry, outside of our hockey community/industry. :)

August 31, 2008
10:10 p.m.

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MaxHunter says...

PS

I really hope Schenectady is no where near Brooklyn, because I'm moving there Thursday, and I don't need any angry Schenectadians, Schenectoodling my butt on a walk home from the bar.

Cheers

August 31, 2008
10:21 p.m.

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kschott says...

Is that Hollywood, Calif., or Hollywood, Fla.?

And Alabama-Huntsville is also no more than a hop from Tampa. Alabama-Huntsville is hosting the Frozen Four in Tampa.

Washington is hosting this season's Frozen Four. And the city got it before Alex Ovechkin made hockey hot in D.C.

August 31, 2008
10:32 p.m.

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kschott says...

It's probably a three-hour drive from Schenectady to Brooklyn. You won't have to worry about angry Schenectadians. But you will have to deal with angry college hockey fans across the country.

August 31, 2008
11:39 p.m.

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MaxHunter says...

Ken,

There are two things I'm upset about today:

1. Alabama does indeed have a Hockey Team

2. You made me fact check.

With this being said (written.)

You can not... *shaking head in hands* Not, possibly... In a million years... Possibly believe you can win this argument using Huntsville as your example. The Great Holy Almighty Chargers who consistently rank since their inception in 1979. Who eat, drink and pee ice when not sweating or swatting swampland mosquitoes; are going to be your prime example of the reason Tampa should be upset if
F4 gets pulled?

It's true then...

While horrified and fact checking, I Wikipeded Schenectady and it said you people (commonly known as, Schenectadian-Americans) are known for having overly large glands below the waist and a wild sense of humor, not unlike the humorous Gnome from Travelocity but, much taller. You're Huntsville Chargers argument has proven this. :)

(On a side note my girlfriend - who I thought was speaking in tongues for a moment - pronounced the town for me and wants it known it's a BEAUTIFUL place. But can't verify my Wikipedia fact.)

On a final thought, it snows in Washington. I know this is true because I read it on Wikipedia too. And, it's about an 8 hour drive from Detroit to get too (versus 21 to Tampa) so I'm sure they're going to have a splendid time in Washington this year, and certainly be more successful than Tampa.

I know it sounds like I'm having fun at Tampa and Schenectady's expense, and I'm not trying to be mean; and granted I'll go to the F4 if I'm in town. But even if every player brought 4 people, and everyone in the 12345 zip code showed up, that still doesn't fill a nearly twenty thousand seat stadium in South Florida where the nearest collegiate hockey team is hundreds of miles away.

August 31, 2008
11:47 p.m.

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kschott says...

BTW, I am not a native of Schenectady. I am a native of a REAL hockey town: Philadelphia.

September 1, 2008
1:17 a.m.

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MaxHunter says...

*LOL*

Well that explains why you felt comfortable In Schenectady. I hear Philidelphians have big glands, too... But, mind you that's just a rumor. ;) *L*

September 1, 2008
6:13 p.m.

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kschott says...

Well, MaxHunter, we do have plenty of muscle in Philadelphia, particularly in South Philly. Wouldn't want to mess with them.

September 9, 2008
11:01 p.m.

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Johnny says...

Keep hockey tournaments in hockey cities. Why sell ice to eskimos? The NHL is doing okay in Tampa, but let college tournaments be played in hockey towns.

September 11, 2008
11:35 a.m.

[ Suggest removal ]
kschott says...

Johnny, thanks for your comment!

 

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