Tuesday, May 08, 2012

NCHC Tournament to the Target Center - Why The Hate?

Reports are that the "National Collegiate Hockey Conference" will play their postseason tournament at the Target Center when play starts in 2013-14.  The NCHC will bring together UNO with North Dakota, Denver, Colorado College, Minnesota-Duluth, St. Cloud State, Western Michigan, and Miami into a single conference, comprised of the biggest non-Big Ten hockey schools away from the east coast.

Looking at the geography (Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado), Minneapolis seems to make the most sense as a tournament site.  It's a fairly easy drive from Omaha, Grand Forks, Duluth, and St. Cloud.  And it's probably in the center between the four schools in Colorado, Michigan, and Ohio. But many hockey fans are complaining...and I'm not sure why, exactly.

The Target Center is an NBA arena; it's ice capable, but the Minnesota Wild plays in St. Paul at the Xcel Center.  That would be the perfect spot, but it appears that the Big Ten is lining up the Xcel Center as a host site...so it's not available.  I understand there have been ice issues in the past at the Target Center, and as an NBA facility, the sightlines might be suboptimal.

But if it's not at the Target Center, where SHOULD the NCHC play?  Do they pick a home rink for somebody?  Grand Forks would make the most sense, but I don't think anybody wants to play at the home of the Sioux. (I'm going to call them the Sioux until a new nickname emerges..)  Where else would they play?  Milwaukee?  Chicago?  You are moving farther away from more fans than you are approaching.

Des Moines?  Kansas City?  Would ANYBODY there care about college hockey?

Minneapolis makes the most sense; the market understands hockey.  It's centrally located for the NCHC.  The Target Center might not be the finest facility, but a Google search on the Target Center doesn't turn up much that's wrong with it.  Granted, I don't follow the NBA, but it seems to work for the Timberwolves.

So why not the Target Center?  And if not, where should it be?  Mariucci on the UMTC campus???


Filbert said...

The Big Ten will alternate between Joe Louis and the Xcel Energy Center. That means every other year, the X will be available. So why not use the Pepsi Center in Denver on the off years? Or better yet, rotate campus sites each year. Campus sites will ensure sold out attendance, and gives each school a chance to host a major tournament. It will give students from other campuses a fun road trip as well.

The Pepsi Center makes sense if they want a large arena since the NCHC is based in Colorado and has 2 teams there.

The Target Center is an awful place to watch basketball, let alone hockey. It looks like the NCHC is looking for a cheap solution since the TC is struggling to book events.

Husker Mike said...

The Pepsi Center is a two day drive for five of the eight fanbases...

mdneilson said...

'We're very close [to having an agreement]." He would not rule out more than 1 site for the tournament and said that he and Novak "plan to be very, very visible" at the arenas of games of future NCHC teams during the 2012-13 season.' -From an interview reporter Mick Hatten had with Sherr. (Not many would consider the TC to be very very visible, I don't.)

I, as a SCSU fan, would LOVE trading between the X and Pepsi Center. Denver is only about a 14 hour drive from here, and a change of scenery is always nice. Plus, it is a great road trip.

Rotating campuses wouldn't work very well since Miami and WMU both can only host 4,000 with a packed standing room. The other member schools' rinks can hold at least 50% more. Limiting so many seats will also greatly decrease the potential revenue for all schools.