The final stops along the road to Tampa will look pretty familiar.
The 2012 NCAA men’s regionals have been set, with Bridgeport, Conn.; Worcester, Mass.; Green Bay, Wis.; and St. Paul, Minn., being the four sites.
All have hosted regionals in recent years; Bridgeport and Green Bay will host two years in a row, including 2011. It also continues a trend of regionals going to buildings that are both off campus and feature NHL-sized rinks.
The winners from those four regionals will advance to the Frozen Four at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
The West Regional will be at the Xcel Energy Center as opposed to the smaller, on-campus Mariucci Arena, a Minnesota spokesperson said Monday.
The Xcel Center hosted the West Regional last season, but without Minnesota in the field, it drew an average of only 7,232 in the 18,064-seat venue that is also set to host the 2011 Frozen Four. The WCHA Final Five a week earlier in the same building claimed an average attendance of 14,307 over five games.
2012 will be the fourth straight season the Twin Cities have hosted a part of the NCAA postseason. Minnesota drew a regional at Mariucci Arena in 2009.
Green Bay’s Resch Center also hosted a Midwest Regional in 2006, with an average attendance of 7,973 over two days in the approximately 8,800-capacity building, bolstered by the presence of Wisconsin.
Fairfield and Yale are co-hosting the East Regional at Bridgeport Arena at Harbor Yard, which averaged 12,717 over two days in the 2009 tournament.
Holy Cross will host the Northeast Regional at Worcester’s 14,800-seat DCU Center, site of a 2010 regional that drew an average of 6,313 over two days.
The three games at DCU Center, formerly known as the Centrum Centre, will give it 39 NCAA tournament games, which will tie the Broadmoor World Arena for first in NCAA hockey history.
The regionals are scheduled for March 23-25, 2012. 2011 regionals are scheduled for Bridgeport (East); Manchester, N.H. (Northeast); Green Bay (Midwest); and St. Louis (West).
The NCAA has not held or scheduled a regional on campus or on Olympic-sized ice since the 2009 event at Mariucci Arena.