College Hockey:
Men’s Division III title game planned to coincide with Philadelphia Frozen Four in 2014

The championships would be decided on consecutive days if NCAA committees give approval.

The NCAA championship games of men’s Division I and Division III will take place in the same location and on the same weekend in 2014 if NCAA committees sign off.

The Division III men’s hockey committee has approved the 2014 finale to be played at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center on Friday, April 11 — the day between the Division I semifinals and championship game.

The move needs to be OKed by the Division III Championships Committee and the Division III Management Council, which next meets Oct. 15-16. The budgetary impact is expected to be one of the top questions from those groups.

Organizers with the Philadelphia bid have already signed off on adding the game to the 2014 schedule, and plans call for adding it to the bid specifications for future Frozen Fours.

It would be a big change for the D-III tournament, which, until 2008, had been almost exclusively played on campus sites. Lake Placid, N.Y., was the site of the semifinals and finals in four of the last five seasons and is scheduled to host again in 2013.

The semifinals in 2014 will move back to campus sites on Saturday, March 29. Quarterfinals are scheduled for Saturday, March 22 with the three first-round games Saturday, March 15.

Combining championships is far from unheard of in NCAA circles. Since 2003, the men’s lacrosse championships for all three divisions have taken place in the same city.

And in 2013, the Divisions II and III men’s basketball championships will be played in the same city as the Division I Final Four, Atlanta.

“With certain sports that the NCAA has done this with, it has been a win-win,” said Bruce Delventhal, athletic director at Plattsburgh and the chair of the Division III men’s hockey committee.

It also would be a big change for the Frozen Four, which in recent years has struggled to find a Friday night event to build around the presentation of college hockey’s individual awards.

From 2006 to 2010, a skills competition was held for selected men’s and women’s seniors who had completed their eligibility. In 2011, an open skate was held.

Last season in Tampa, Fla., the festivities moved outside for a pep rally.

The 2012 Division III hockey championship in Lake Placid drew announced crowds of 2,100 and 3,100 for the semifinals and 3,300 for the title game.

The Division I and Division III finals are usually three weeks apart, so their combination would alter the D-III side. The NCAA Division III Management Council’s playing and practice seasons subcommittee earlier announced that it would recommend that schools not be allowed to play games before Nov. 1, citing health and safety concerns.

Currently, Division III teams are allowed to start playing on Oct. 15, the same day that they can start practicing.

There are some concerns in the Division III community about the changes to the calendar to accommodate the championship game shift, Delventhal said.

“That doesn’t mean it’s still not a good idea and worth trying,” he said.

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  • http://twitter.com/joecct77 Joe LaCour

    Think the NESCAC is going to go along with this?

  • Afterfurtherreview

    Great idea! The D3 kids will get to play in front of a pretty big crowd and it will give some of us people that attend the FF every year something to do that Friday night.

    • Joseph Crowley

      I agree that this is a great idea. I think it should be standard for Men’s and Women’s Division I Frozen Fours. If it goes well, the NCAA should consider having the Division III semi-finals the preceding weekend. I am not sure DIII schools would want to travel for semi-finals at the Frozen Four site to play on Wednesday.

  • pejz

    how about add the womens d1 and d3 too

  • Joe S

    This is a bad idea. Too long of season for D III and NESCAC school presidents will likely NOT allow their schools to lengthen season,

    • Afterfurtherreview

      Then maybe they should try to start their season even later, so the kids can experience playing in front of a large crowd, in a professional arena, should they make the finals. Just a thought. Not only is it good for the fans, I think it would be good for the kids and D3 hockey in general.

  • Genowayhemakesit

    What they can do is, if North Dakota makes it this far and loses again, let them play the D2 champ and it can make them all feel superior if they win against a smaller school with a recruiting disadvantage

    • Joseph Crowley

      You mean Division II championship teams like Merrimack, UMass Lowell that now play in Division I? Or perhaps you meant teams that play in Division III?

      Perhaps we should instead try to celebrate Division III schools and try to give them a larger audience for their championship, the way that Lacrosse has done.

  • NY_Nittany_Lion

    My prediction? None of the Div I fans are going to care about the Div III title game. The game will be played to crowds, at best, the same size they are getting now in an arena three times bigger. Philly doesn’t seem like a horrible idea, but what about when the Frozen Four is in St. Louis, Dallas, Anaheim, or Tampa?

    • psuchamps2001

      Absolutley dead on. No thanks. Just so a few more suits can hang out together and talk about everything but hockey while the die hard DIII fans have to fight for tickets and travel to places where NO DIII teams are within 500 miles? No thanks. But it will get approved.

  • hockeystick9

    I won’t be surprised that if you purchase the D1 package, you’ll be required to purchase a D3 ticket as well. IMHO – The NCAA is looking for more revenue and may be using a D3 to obtain that goal.

  • jmsptrk

    it’s a good idea — trying to get these deserving kids a bigger audience to play in front of, while creating a bit more of a spectacle of the whole affair. hope it works.

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