The return of the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four to Minnesota has resulted in another sellout for the championship of men’s collegiate ice hockey.
Scheduled for April 4 and 6, 2002, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the 55th annual event sold out in advance for the fifth time in the last six years and for the third straight year at such an early date.
“The entire NCAA college hockey community is very pleased that St. Paul and the Xcel Center have continued the sellout streak,” said Jack McDonald, director of athletics at Quinnipiac University and incoming chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee. “College hockey has set many attendance records the past three years, showing the sport’s incredible growth.”
This year, fans that had attended previous Frozen Fours were given priority status during the sale and distribution of tickets. Priority was based on the number of ticket purchases made during the last five years, in ranking order (five years worth of purchases, four years, etc.). Seat locations also were arranged on a priority basis.
A total of 6,092 tickets were sold to individuals on the priority list. The NCAA also received more than 11,000 other requests and nearly 3,900 were filled from the remaining general public allotment.
“College hockey fans are extremely loyal,” said Tom Jacobs, NCAA director of championships. “We are excited about implementing a system that rewards that loyalty. It’s a great way for the NCAA to show its appreciation for all that these fans have done to make the Men’s Frozen Four one of the premiere collegiate sporting events in the country.”
This will be the eighth Men’s Frozen Four in Minnesota. Minnesota and New York will tie for second all-time behind Colorado’s 14. Minneapolis hosted in 1958 and 1966, Duluth in 1968 and 1981, and St. Paul in 1989, 1991 and 1994 at the St. Paul Civic Center. That building was demolished in 1998 and replaced with the 18,064-seat Xcel Energy Center, which opened in 2000.
“Minnesota is a great hockey market and the Xcel Energy Center is a world class hockey venue,” said Chris Hansen, general manager of the building. “There is a great history of NCAA championship hockey here. It’s exciting to bring the Frozen Four back to St. Paul, and we are proud to announce that the Frozen Four has sold out.”
Host school for the 2002 event is the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, which has an excellent history of NCAA championships administration. The university staff has handled events ranging from the Men’s Final Four to the Division III swimming and diving finals, and welcomed the inaugural Women’s Frozen Four to its campus in March.
“The University of Minnesota has an exceptional reputation for hosting NCAA events in a first-class manner,” said Tom Moe, the school’s director of men’s athletics. “We are thrilled to be bringing college ice hockey fans back to the Twin Cities for what will be the finest ice hockey championship ever.”
Ticket applications for the 2003 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four to be held at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York, will be available April 1, 2002, with a return deadline of May 1, 2002.