St. Louis is back and they’re not going away.
Two years ago, St. Louis was among seven cities to make the last cut for hosting the Frozen Four. They didn’t get it and now they’re back, hoping to get the Frozen Four in 2007 or 2008. St. Louis has hosted once before, in 1975.
“You have to go through the process once and you hope the second time is the charm,” said Marc Schreiber, the St. Louis Sports Commission’s Director of Marketing and Communications. “To go through it once and say you’re turned off, it goes against our mission. We think we offer a great package and we think we have a great shot.
“What is tougher is that they’re only going out for two years, whereas the last time they went for three. It’s challenging enough for a city that hasn’t hosted before, and a non-traditional site, there’s less years that they’re going out and it makes it tougher.”
The last time out St. Louis partnered with Nebraska-Omaha. This time UNO bid its own home arena, so St. Louis had to find someone to partner with, and that someone was the newest conference on the college hockey block — the CHA.
“The CHA is excited and interested in partnering on this,” said Schreiber. “You hope that it’s beneficial in the long run, being able to get the event. With the CHA being a new conference, it’s intriguing for them to go through this process as well.
“In that we don’t have a Division I hockey school right here in St. Louis, one of the challenges was finding a good partner. We did our homework and tried to find the right partner.”
St. Louis is certainly one of those cities that has people talking. Some good and some bad. What does St. Louis have to offer for college hockey? Why should we go to St. Louis? After all, there is no Division I college hockey in St. Louis so how can one prove that the city or town will support the Frozen Four?
“You can see how somebody can be a little leery because you may not be in a stronghold of college hockey,” admits Schreiber. “But you certainly have passionate hockey fans here that you can sell to. We have a great base with the St. Louis Blues and this is a hockey town.”
St. Louis is certainly proving that it is a college sports town. The 2004 and 2005 Division I Wrestling Championships are being held there and it was there in 2000. The 2001 Women’s Final Four was held in St. Louis, and the bid process is coming again for more Women’s Final Fours. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has been to St. Louis, and the city is hosting the 2005 Final Four. In addition, the Big XII football championships have been there.
So the city of St. Louis is serious about college sports as a whole. Now, to convince the NCAA Ice Hockey Committee and the college hockey fans of that.
“One of the things that we battle with is what the impression of St. Louis is,” said Schreiber. “Are we a serious contender or are we the guys that are just going to keep coming back and not get it? We know we’re a serious contender.”