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College Hockey:
Mile High Aspirations

Thirty-one years. Should the city of Denver host a Frozen Four in 2007, it will have been 31 years since Minnesota skated off with the title at the old DU Ice Arena.

The folks in Colorado are hoping for a return of the Frozen Four to the Buffalo Plains State. After all, the first 10 Frozen Fours were held in Colorado Springs, and from 1948-1976, Colorado was the home of 14 Frozen Fours — half of them to be exact.

“It’s all about the history of college hockey,” Jon Schmeider, Executive Director of the Metro Denver Sports Commission. “The history in Colorado Springs, where the Frozen Four began, and not to mention Colorado College and the University of Denver being in our backyard, it made perfect sense to put it together.”

The city of Denver has boomed in the last decade as a sports town. The Denver Broncos and Denver Nuggets were the only games in town until Major League Baseball added the Colorado Rockies, and then the Quebec Nordiques moved and became the Colorado Avalanche. The ’90s saw two Stanley Cups for the Avalanche and two Super Bowls for the Broncos. In addition, college sports began to pick up with strong programs at Colorado and Colorado State and lately in hockey, it’s been Denver and CC.

So Denver is a sports town, but it hasn’t hosted a Frozen Four since 1976. Does this mean that Denver is still a traditional college hockey market?

“I would say that it is,” said Schmeider. “Of course, hockey is traditionally a northern and eastern game, or in recent memories with the NCAA’s, a Minnesota or East Coast game, but we are a traditional hockey place. You understand that the Avalanche and Denver University have made it so. Denver is a hockey town first and foremost.”

So the decision was made by the Denver Metro Sports Commission to go after the Frozen Four. The Commission was formed in 2001 and is working heavily towards bringing college events to the city. They are trying to bring the women’s Final Four to Denver as well as the Big XII Football Championship Game.

There are new facilities in the city of Denver — Invesco Field at Mile High and the Pepsi Center, where the Avalanche play and the Frozen Four would be held. And there is a sense of collegiate sports in the town itself.

“It’s a marquee event and at the sports commission, we have a select target of events,” said Schmeider. “At the collegiate level there aren’t as many other ones that are as solid as the Frozen Four. We have a very short list of events we wanted to go after, and the Frozen Four is at the top of it.”

So Denver is giving it a shot and they’re not going to back down until the Frozen Four comes to the city.

“We’ll pursue this event until we get one,” said Schmeider. “This is important to us. We’re not just going to bid once and go away. We’re going to continue to be here and the Frozen Four is coming to Denver.”


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