Gallery: Saturday at the Midwest Regional

Here are photos from Rochester Institute of Technology’s win over Minnesota State and Omaha’s win over Harvard on Saturday at the Midwest Regional in South Bend, Ind.

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  1. I agree that ESPN has leveraged and won. But ultimately, the NCAA made this decision. This is not about the student athletes and their fans. It’s about the NCAA bigwigs in Indianapolis who want to line their pockets.

    College hockey is a great sport to watch and can even be touted as a less violent form of the NHL since fighting is actually penalized and discouraged. I’m just glad we made plans to be in Tampa so I don’t have to be at their mercy.

  2. Plus, why is the NCAA Hockey tournament at the same time as the basketball tournament? Do you know how hard it is to find a place to watch a game at the same time the basketball games are going on? I live in Colorado Springs the home of the first 10 NCAA Hockey Championship games and i can’t go to any sports bars including Buffalo Wild Wings and not get stuck in the corner with the smallest TV with NO sound! What a joke! Yet when I do get the game turned on after missing the first half of the period other people start watching it!

  3. I wonder how much it would cost someone like NBC Sports or Fox Sports to buy out the rights for the hockey tournaments?  Given the treatment both the men’s and women’s hockey tournaments get, I would hope it was dirt cheap.

  4. We can gripe all we want but the fact is the TV networks are in the business of making money, not making us happy.    And NCAA women’s basketball and lacrosse games are going to generate higher ratings than a niche sport like college hockey.  I”ve seen some people diss college lacrosse but look at the attendance for that tournament — they get over 35,000 people for the final game (over 45,000 for the semi’s last year).      Getting our games on the main tier of ESPN is just a dream — I’m happy the games are even on the U.

        • Of course a crappy sport on ESPN or ESPN2 will generate higher ratings that anything on ESPN3 or ESPNU.  Does anyone rally think ESPN is a good network anymore?  They went in the toilet when the anchors decided they cared more about catch phrases than actual analysis.

    • ” lacrosse games are going to generate higher ratings than a niche sport like college hockey” — lacrosse ISN’T niche?

      Also, the argument isn’t about getting the games “on the main tier of ESPN.” It’s about getting them all televised live, somewhere, where there isn’t going to be a pre-emption (for regular season mens lax, which is NOT a ratings draw) or a blackout. This sport is getting worse and worse coverage from ESPN every year. It’s a fact they don’t care about hockey and we’re seeing it over and over again (meanwhile, NBC Sports Channel is full in on hockey of all kinds). Moving the FF semi to ESPNU, moving the FF itself off ESPN, moving the selection show of all things to ESPNU — that’s all called reduced coverage…and so is ESPN3, which is no substitute for an actual HD feed.

      Connelly didn’t even go into the fact that ESPN forced a blackout of FSN North which was showing all the syndicated games on Saturday. If you didn’t live in the home region of FSN North ESPN forced them to be blacked out. Thanks guys!

      We deserve better. Being a third or fourth class citizen on ESPN’s “family of networks” and their internet feed isn’t cutting it anymore with their reduced interest.

    • What an assine comment….  Your calling Lacrosse a big time college sport and hockey a niche sport?

      That is one of the dumbest thing I have ever heard, and we are all now dumber for having read this idiotic post.

  5. don’t forget the fact that for the 1st time in history, a RSN  wasn’t available on Directv or Dish “outside its home footprint”

    All 3 Saturday FSN North games were blacked out on the sat. systems unless you lived inside their footprint. However, no such restrictions existed for the games on NESN or Altitude

    Simply awful….

  6. This article is right and it’s really sad for the NCAA and
    college hockey. Of note: while some of the games this past weekend were on
    ESPNU or ESPN3 Internet channels there was not a lot of notable programming on
    ESPN or ESPN2.  Oh and if there was, ABC
    is also an option if ESPN/Disney has a busy sports weekend.

    ESPN has gone from being “Worldwide Leader In
    Sports” to being the “Worldwide Leader in Basketball and Football.”
    Placing the blame all on ESPN is easy but someone else should share a little of
    the blame, College Hockey Inc.  The
    organization was developed a few years ago to be the marketing and promotions
    arm for College Hockey and also encourage elite players that college hockey is
    a viable route to the NHL and competitive with Major Junior Canadian Hockey,
    and also encourage growth of the sport. MY grade for CHI is an F. Schools that
    should and could be playing NCAA hockey still aren’t, Penn State is joining,
    but that’s because of their 88 million donation from an alumni and nothing to
    do with College Hockey Inc. Some schools already have NCAA-capable buildings:
    Delaware, Rhode Island, and Navy come to mind. Others such as Minn-Moorhead and
    Lindenwood have expressed interest in the past but neither has added men’s
    hockey (Lindenwood added women’s) . 
    There has also been no Western expansion of the sport and
    Alabama-Huntsville remains the only southern school.  Other than Hockey East and NBC Sports
    Network, the coverage of the sport on TV hasn’t grown significantly on a
    national level.

    • It’s because the NCAA has no idea who Union and Ferris are!
      They need time to research their logos and if they are really American citizens.

  7. I couldn’t agree with this article more, but you need to lay some blame on the NCAA also for not exploring options, rather than allowing ESPN to sign a 12 year extension, 12 years? C’mon that’s a bit much. Also I couldn’t stand the intermission reports, I noticed on more than one occassion they couldn’t even pronounce the player’s names right, to me in that professional setting this should not happen.

  8. Do you get all tired bitching about the same stuff year after year?  Yeah everyone hates ESPN and probably watches them more than any other network.   Like any of you know how to run a network…You seem to think you do…Reality: IT’S COLLEGE HOCKEY.  Niche.  Forever.  Nothing more.  I love it.  You love it.  Doesn’t mean it rates and can carry a network.  They do it the justice it deserves based on the return it gives.  Nothing more, nothing less….

  9. I just wish college hockey would be on broadcast over-the-air network television like the NHL on NBC is. I’ll watch college hockey over college basketball anyday. I hate it that the hockey National Championship game got moved off of ESPN to ESPN2.   

  10. Is there really a difference that the final is on ESPN2 instead of NBC Sports Network? The biggest difference is that NBC SN doesn’t have multiple stations. And though I am a huge fan of college hockey, one must note that NBC SN ratings are actually down since they switched from Versus and have had a very hockey friendly schedule.

    Is hockey a priority for ESPN? No? Is Barry Melrose awful? Yes. But the hockey tourney is but a small piece of ESPNs NCAA package. It won’t be separated from the rest of the package. The NCAA negotiated the deal that put it on ESPN2 and ESPN U. They and ESPN have the numbers to show what the audience has been. If college hockey merited a bigger platform, it would have gotten it.

  11. Last year’s Notre Dame-UNH game wasn’t half empty, but wasn’t completely full either.  I think part of the attendance problem is they make you buy tickets for all three games at a regional at once.  I have a hard time forking over $160 for two tickets and would much prefer a single game sale.

    Also, the only reason Hockey East got NBC Sports to take on the playoffs is because Notre Dame is coming in 2013, and NBC is pretty much the Notre Dame Broadcasting Company.

  12. because of this espn screwed up mess — the western/nodak game was blacked out on FSN in my area in southern indiana! Because the local CW affiliate in Kzoo bought the game, it made the FSN feed subject to blackout, but I live 3 hours from Kzoo!  I had to get in my car and drive into MIchigan and find a local bar to watch…

  13. Sorry folks, but College Hockey will never draw the audience to put it on a major Network. The NCAA is about Basketball and Football. Everything else is an after thought. When Hockey is played at Colleges and University’s in all 50 states, then it might make a major network.

  14. Look at the crap the NHL got for dropping ESPN and going to Versus. I agree ESPN is now trying to bury hockey all together since CBS and NBC are trying to build their brand on NHL and college hockey . But the NCAA is blind to counter programming, and a 12 year contract sounded good at the time. We just have to live with trying to build an audience on the other networks and force ESPN to acknowledge us. 

  15. Unfortunately for many NCAA sports, ESPN is dictating game times.  The NCAA needs to determine what is more important, the number of fans attending the events, thus creating a great environment for the student-athletes or the number of people watching on tv.

  16. Agreed.  ESPN is a joke when it comes to hockey.  I have written to ESPN many times over the last few years expressing my displeasure of their coverage.  They do some nice things such as all the games being available on ESPN3 so I can watch many at one time, but i am lucky to get ESPN3.  Not every cable provider pays the fees to get that service.  Aside from that, the applauds to ESPN stop.  The selection show gets a 30 minute slot on ESPNU with Barry Melrose as their “expert” and no surprise he picks BC and whatever ECAC team to be in the final every year.  Please get another “expert”.  Now the games are getting bumped from prime time and still get terrible commentary from people that obviously do not know the teams or players.  ESPN, please let another network cover this event.  It’s obvious NBCSports is committed to hockey and they would hopefully do a better job.  Can college hockey leave the NCAA therefor removing ESPN’s stranglehold?  That would be even better.  Better yet still, the Sioux could continue to be the Sioux.

  17. I went to the game in Worcester witohut my two daugthers, 14 and 12, because the game was too late for a school night.  Game didn’t end until almost 10:40.  Ridiculous.

  18. Was suprised to come home on Sat night and find out the Gopher game wasn’t being televised live. Recorded it on sunday 24 hours after it happened. Also ESPNU, the 90’s called and they want their technology back. Couldn’t believe I was watching the NCAA tournament in low def. 

  19. Do I dare mention the D3 Frozen Four have been webcasts the last two years (won by the team I shoot for, St. Norbert College in De Pere a stones throw from obscure Green Bay aka Titletown USA) after a stint a CBS College Sports . . . just looking out for the little guys.

  20. All networks need to make money, but doing it with quality coverage does not seem to be ESPN’s goal.  As for the Lacrosse coverage delaying D-1 tournament hockey, they did it last year too.  But if Lacrosse is a big draw, 35,000 said one post, good for them, but do they put the finals in Tampa?  What percentage of those Lacrosse fans drove 10 hours or had to get on a plane to get there?  Maybe those fans were more local.  Hell, if the Lacrosse finals were near my backyard, I’d go. 

    Note to ESPN if they continue to carry this tournament, enlist some help from the local broadcasters who been with the team(s) all year.  They’ll help you get the facts & trivia right (E.g. Brett Hull never played for North Dakota, etc.).  Believe me, they’ll add some color.

    • Good Point…..An additional point is the Lacrosse Champ weekend is at an outdoor venue. Look at all of the Hockey outdoor games in the last 10 years. These are not NCAA Tourney games…..Reg season only. 2012 Frozen Fenway drew 40K for Umass/UVM and Maine/UNH. Now most of that was from Maine and UNH but the true point is look at what happens with an outdoor event. I have been to both Frozen Four and Lacrosse Final Fours many times. They are both great events but if you put the Lax Champ in Dallas I assure you there would not be 35K people there.

      I also back your point about hiring local broadcasters / writers / producers…etc. They know how to sell the sport and actually have facts to make points. Melrose is a clown.  

      ESPN has been good to College Hockey in many ways but they have treated it as a secondary sport way too often. In 1995 I was at UMAINE. Maine and Michigan were headed to a 3rd overtime in the Semi’s of the Frozen Four. ESPN 2 went to its regular scheduled broadcast after the 2nd OT. It was Senior Men’s Tennis. We lost our minds bc ESPN did not even let the audience know it was going to leave the game. A few students were following the game on radio and it slowly got around campus that Maine had won early in 3rd OT. This an old example but it points out that the ESPN coverage has been lacking for many years.The game winning goal was the #1 play on the SportsCenter countdown that night with an apology to College Hockey Fans….

      Love the Johnny Cash and UND remix name.

  21. You nailed it!!! The only other thing that I would add is I’m not sold that the NCAA execs want to see college hockey succeed financially. Point is look how much better the conference tourneys are run (venue location, game times, attendance) compared to the NCAA tourney is. Frozen Four in Tampa? NCAA’s crusade to do away with the Fighting Sioux nickname & logo despite the support of local tribes people. Clearly both ESPN & the NCAA could use some free market competition to better their product, vs. being the only entity for a decade without a competitor.

  22. Call your cable providers and complain.  Hate to say it, but I think college hockey is just not a big time sport for the broadcasters.  I’ve been to the lax finals, they pack an NFL stadium.  You’d never see that for college hockey. 

  23. Great article JC…hit several nails on the head, as have many of the “commenters” in follow-up. Our beloved sport of college hockey really is a niche-world, but that world is growing, with D1 and D3 players (men and women) now hailing from far many more places than the old traditional Minny/Mich/Mass hotbeds of days goneby. 
    ESPN should realize this, and build the sport up through true “professionally produced” coverage, in every way!

    They should realize the games are going to be followed by a passionate fan-base, who know where most of the kids come from, where the feeding grounds are, what the makeups of leagues are, and yes, even some of the histories involved, from both recent and distant past! 

    Much of the coverage is insulting to anyone who watchred even 4 or 5 games this past season, never mind the true college hockey community! (Barry M treats us to more and more phony garbage talk every year – he is so transparent in his false-knowledge and fake buddy-buddyness, it makes me want to throw up!)

    And the in-between-periods stuff is completely unacceptable…Anson Carter was a great player, and knows college hockey because he played, but so have hundreds and hundreds of other ex-players…give me a guy who has a passion for the tournament and a passion for the game, can talk easily about all the teams and the years they have had, and puts things in more historical perspective…and a little analysis and criticism does not hurt either!
    And I do not need a host who is a young “studio-typecast upstart” from the mothership who cannot pronounce names and knows little about college hockey apparently…think he can name 4 teams from the CCHA and the ECAC and the Atlantic??? I doubt it!

    Regionals is such a great weekend, but having to suffer through the nature of the coverage and the lack of interest on the part ESPN certainly affects how it is viewed.

    Congrats to the Frozen Four teams…hope it is a great tournament in Tampa and a fitting conclusion to another great year for our sport!  (…and hope ESPN doesn’t screw up too badly in covering the weekend…!) 


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