For Union, it’s just business

TAMPA, Fla. — Union had a great season last year: The Schenectady, N.Y., program won its first regular season title and advanced to its first NCAA tournament, to boot. But the truth finally came out a month ago, from junior Jeremy Welsh.

“We can say it now, but it was huge,” Welsh said about making the NCAA tournament last spring. “We had a huge selection show [party] and everyone was patting us on the back. We felt like we had already accomplished something, being the first Union team in the NCAA tournament.

“This year it was a completely different mind-set. If we didn’t win two games it was going to be a disappointment. Last year we were happy to be here and it showed.”

Under the collective guidance of captain Nolan Julseth-White and new head coach Rick Bennett, the 2011-12 Dutchmen are all business. No selection-show parties. No sighseeing trips in Atlantic City, Bridgeport or Tampa. No team-unifying hairdos, playoff beards, body piercings or music videos.

Happy to be here? They’ve barely had time to breathe, much less register where they are.

“We celebrated our successes: Obviously, when we won the ECAC playoffs, and obviously last weekend in Bridgeport, but we kind of celebrated that one night with the guys on the way back on the bus,” said sophomore goaltender Troy Grosenick.

“And the following Monday it was back to work,” he said.

4 Apr 12: Wednesday at the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fl, (Jim Rosvold)
Minnesota's players have blond hair, but you'll find no such business from Union (photo: Jim Rosvold).

To emphasize a point, Union doesn’t have playoff beards, frosted tips, bleached hair or any other visual indicators of a playoff hockey team. Even Minnesota’s Golden Gophers — considered hockey heavyweights and perennial contenders — colored their collective hair to match their eponymous hue (and helmets).

“We haven’t accomplished our main goal of the year,” explained Grosenick. “We know that there’s still work left to be done, so until we finish what we set out to do, it’s all business.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Probably makes it a lot easier for travelling fans to make arrangements to travel and get time off from work. Any increase in lead time can make a huge difference in that department.

    • Saturday is typically the lowest night for TV ratings across the board. I would think this is more likely for the gate. Monday night for the final would probably get more viewership, so if there is a TV consideration, that might be it.

      Also, there is less sports competition on Monday night for the championship.

  2. Semi’s on Saturday would be nice so I wouldn’t have to leave work early on Thursday to catch the early semi game on TV. For the people that actually travel to the FF, I’m not sure it really matters.

  3. With regards to the 18,000 seat minimum and Boston’s TD Garden, I am sure there is a waiver process, especially for a city that has hosted many Frozen Fours since the very earliest NCAA championships.

    I am sure that such a waiver would be granted for Detroit, Minneapolis and Denver for the same reason, if the building size was close to the requirement. It might exclude some newer venues that did have successful Frozen Fours.

    • Pepsi Center in Denver lists 18,007 as capacity for hockey, so that isn’t a problem. Detroit will be interesting depending on how the new arena is configured, but they clearly should host at some point.

      • I figured it was but thanks for the update.

        I am not sure the NCAA will say no to Boston selling 17,500 tickets opposed to Denver selling 18,000 tickets. I think this rule, frankly, was to get former hosts like Providence and Albany out of the rotation, because the buildings are smaller and without NHL/NBA caliber amenities.

  4. I hope that this change might also move the regionals a week later and have all first round games played on Saturday and all second round games played on Sunday.

  5. How about Friday / Sunday? That seems a lot better than Saturday / Monday. Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Detroit should host every 5 years and fill in other cities for the 2 other years. Having it away from Boston for so long is just plain stupid. There are more D1 teams within 50 miles of Boston than any other city. As for the size ( 18,000 seats ), unfortunately Boston is very expensive and ticket prices could be higher there to make back some revenue. Not that I want high prices as I am sick of the gauging here for all the pro teams. just a fact.

  6. I’d like to see the first round back on campus. I don’t think it will make much difference to play Saturday semi’s – Monday night finals. I’d love to see Gary Thorne announce the semi’s and final game on television as in years past. That alone will boost viewership.

  7. That leaves the host of the 1993, 1997 and 2006 Frozen Four out as well. The Bradley Center in Milwaukee has a hockey capacity of 17,800.

    • This Hockey East fan would support a waiver for the Bradley Center for the 200 “missing” seats.

      If the NCAA counts luxury boxes (which is probably what they want to do for the high-rollers) then Bradley Center/TD Garden are safe.

  8. I will take whatever days off I need no matter which days the games are played if I’m attending. Although Monday night is probably a better night for the championship with regards to tv, which I’m sure is why they are proposing this.

  9. Providence was a great host city. It’s a real shame the capacity spec knocked them out. Regionals will only be well attended when they’re on campus – should be at the No. 1 Seeds’ barns.

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