Committees Set to Meet in San Francisco

It seems like a welcome change this year for the ice hockey committees. There aren’t a lot of pressing issues on the agenda for the meetings that will take place from June 7-11 in San Francisco, but at the same time, there are very important ones, and most of them deal with the NCAA tournament.

Last year the Division I Committee awarded Frozen Four and Regional bids; this year there is only the discussion of the procedure to award Frozen Four and Regional sites, perhaps as early as the 2005 June meeting.

“We’re going to put the process into place for future bids for next year,” said Yale associate athletic director Wayne Dean, who is also the incoming chair of the Division I Men’s Committee. “We expect that we’ll be awarding Regionals and maybe Frozen Fours next year.”

The committee may also look at alternatives or modifications to the selection criteria for the NCAA tournament. Last year the committee added the RPI rule for postseason contests.

Other than that, it’s mostly procedural issues for 2004-2005 for the Men’s Division I committee.

On the Division I women’s side of things, the story may be different.

There is the issue of expansion from four teams to eight for the NCAA tournament. Last year, the item was approved by the Championships Cabinet and is now being forwarded to the Executive Committee for final approval in August. The Executive Committee gave tentative approval for the increase during its January meeting. The women’s Division I committee will hammer out the final details of the championship next week.

Also under question is what what components will make up the criteria with the expansion of the sport and of the bracket itself. And the issue of autobids will be discussed as well.

There will also be the issue of determining competition dates for the Women’s Frozen Four and the issue of sites. This season it will be held at the Whittemore Center in Durham, N.H., with Minneapolis the site in 2006 and Lake Placid, N.Y. in 2007.

The Division III Men’s Committee will also be looking at some hefty issues for the NCAA tournament. The field expands to 10 teams in 2004-2005, while Pool B teams will now be eligible for Pool C bids, but not vice-versa.

The Committee will have to figure out how to select the teams, the criteria, and just how to get it “correct.”

This upcoming season also marks the last of the on-campus sites for the Division III NCAA tournament. Sites for the Division III Frozen Four are expected to be chosen for the neutral site championships in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

The women’s Division III committee will look at the idea of expanding its field to eight. Expansion of the sport and new programs will highlight the agenda for this committee.

The rules committee will meet with the hot topic most likely being the WCHA replay situation, where the committee will hear from the WCHA to get the permission to use video replay during the regular season. Last year’s WCHA plan was struck down by the committee because a separate reply official was not going to be in use.

Other issues that the rules committee will look at will focus on a comparison of the crease rule between the NCAA and the NHL to see if the two should be the same, similar or non-similar. It will also look at roughing/clutching/grabbing rules and interference penalty situations.