It is expected that at some point today, the NCAA will announce the hosts of the Frozen Four tournament for 2015 through 2018. 10 cities were named as finalists: Tampa, Washington DC, Brooklyn, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Paul, and Columbus. Around the time of the announcement of the finalists, a college hockey blog, USCHO posted their opinion on each of the potential hosts. Columbus did not make their lock list, and they did not have a very flattering opinion of Columbus as a hockey city.
When the “Cons” paragraph starts with “It’s Columbus. That simple.”, I knew I was in for a treat. The paragraph goes on to say:
When you look at cities like Boston, St. Paul and Chicago, it’s difficult to make any sort of comparison to Columbus. I have been to Nationwide Arena for an NHL Entry Draft and the building is more than sufficient to host a Frozen Four, but I just have a difficult time putting Columbus high on this list of finalists.
Yes, Columbus is not Chicago, Boston, or NYC, but I don’t think anyone has tried to make that argument. We are talking about a college hockey tournament, not the G8 convention (remember though, Columbus is on the list of Fastest Growing Cities). If having the brightest lights and the tallest buildings is the most important factor, then yeah, award it to New York and LA every year. But, the purpose of the Frozen Four is to promote college hockey. That is where Columbus has an advantage.
Columbus, OH has rich tradition when it comes to college athletics, and it has one of the premier arenas in the NHL. The Ohio State hockey team is now a member of the new Big 10 Hockey Conference and is now working to grow its relationship with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
What Columbus lacks in bright lights (when compared to New York, Washington, etc) it makes up for in potential to grow the sport of college hockey. Tampa, FL is among the list candidates, as they successfully hosted the tournament in 2012. The problem with Tampa is there isn’t a college hockey program in the city. Columbus has that potential with the burgeoning Ohio State hockey program. You get people interested in college hockey in Columbus, and they start following Ohio State. If they start following Ohio State, then through their relationship with the Jackets, you get more butts in seats to watch NHL games. Everybody wins.
It seems Columbus is simply being dismissed based upon the stereotypes that surround the city as not being a hockey town, and one experience at the NHL Draft. If “Southern hospitality” is enough to get Nashville some props in the article, I don’t see how the potential to grow the sport of college hockey is not included as one of Columbus’ strengths.
We will find out the NCAAs decision is soon, I certainly hope Columbus, OH makes the list.