NCAA and Bears Follow-Ups
Responding to a few emails I’ve received:
Heshey Bears NHL Affiliation
The Hershey Bears have officially parted ways with the Colorado Avalanche now that the Bears’ season is over.
Regarding a new affiliation, from the Patriot-News:
The Washington Capitals still appear to be the front-runner, but no deal has been signed. The expectation is that an affiliation announcement won’t come this week.
“We’ve been working extensively trying to secure an NHL affiliate,” said Doug Yingst, Bears president-GM. “It would be our goal and objective to hopefully have an answer within two weeks.”
The Frozen Four in Florida
South Florida is out of the running for the 2009, 2010 or 2011, but Tampa is one of six finalists.
The selection committee will visit Tampa on April 22, and each city will make a presentation at an NCAA hockey meeting in Indianapolis in June. The host cities will be announced in September.
The other finalists are the FleetCenter in Boston; the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.; the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia; the MCI Center in Washington; and Ford Field in Detroit.
I’ve only been to one game in Tampa (spring of 2004, against the NY Islanders), and it was a nice arena. There were plenty of fans, many who seem to have gotten hockey down, although there was still a good amount of instruction throughout the game. It didn’t seem like there was anything else going on in the area at that time.
The northern cities have a good advantage in terms of location. It’s not just about being a “hockey market” than it is about possibly having the teams involved be local (making it much easier to sell tickets). Although, lets be honest, is anyone in Minnesota really going to complain about going to Florida in early spring? I doubt it.
Maybe Alabama-Huntsville, the only southern Division I team, will make the tourney that year (they were a win away this year, losing in the CHA title game to Bemidji State), giving the UAH fans a nicer commute.
Good luck Tampa.