UND Hockey (Photo Credit: Russell Hons)
On June 1, 2017, the NCHC released their end of the year report. One things that was mentioned was the future location of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff.
Future Location of the Tournament – With only one year remaining on the NCHC’s contract with Target Center to host the Frozen Faceoff, the conference has been holding discussions with its Board of Directors and Athletic Council about the overall tournament structure and future location of the NCHC’s championship weekend. The conference plans to make a decision later this summer on the future of the post-season tournament.
Today, while perusing the fan message board Sioux Sports, I stumbled across this little news nugget. While normally, we take fan postings on message boards with a grain of salt, this individual (whose name escapes me) works with the NCHC in video production. So, I am inclined to believe this information because it comes from the inside.
While the contract hasn’t been signed, it’s looking like the Frozen Faceoff will return to the X starting in 2018-19. However, if Target Center decides they don’t want to have it during this lame-duck year, the tournament could move to the X for this next season, as the Wild are not at home that weekend.
While not formally discussed, there is the off chance it moves to the Ralph for this coming season if TC pulls out and the X doesn’t have open dates.
Next couple of weeks. The TC isn’t too happy since they just installed a new cooling system.
Based on the information above, I imagine a decision regarding the future location of Frozen Faceoff will be coming in the near future. Looking at the calendar, the days of summer are beginning to tick down.
The question: will the NCHC stand pat or move the Frozen Faceoff from the Target Center? I’ve talked to a lot of college hockey fans that want the NCHC to move to the Xcel Energy Center. That’s a popular sentiment.
One thing fans should consider, if the Frozen Faceoff moves to the Xcel Energy Center, it’s never going to be like it was before. However, the fan experience has the potential to be better than it is at the Target Center. I think the crowd number “could” grow with the move.
Xcel Energy Center
Here’s what I had to say back in March. Obviously, there’s no comparison between the Xcel Energy Center and the current makeup of the Target Center, but I am willing to see what improvements are made during the offseason.
Also, maybe our expectations are unreasonable? With the league’s current setup, I don’t ever see the Frozen Faceoff replicating the old Final Five. It’s not possible minus Big Ten schools Wisconsin and Minnesota. You’re never going to have 18,000 screaming fans for a Frozen Faceoff at the Xcel Energy Center. It’s just not possible.
While I am not overly sentimental, I enjoyed my experience with the Final Five. I loved having a three-day event in Minnesota’s capital city. One look will tell you that St. Paul is a lot cleaner than Minneapolis. But after four years of going to the Target Center, I am willing to make more memories there. IMHO, there are way more dining and drinking establishments in the area surrounding the Target Center than the Xcel Energy Center.
Target Center Cons
Looking back, there have been four Frozen Faceoffs at the Target Center, for the most part, the ice conditions have questionable, at best. This year, it appeared that the ice conditions had improved, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.
I am not going to mince words, in its current form, the Target Center is a grungy, gross, worn out building that’s stuck in the 1990’s. Also, UND fans are used to first class facilities and the Target Center fails on many different levels.
This summer, the Target Center will be closed for all events and they’re going to finish the renovations to the building. When it’s all said and done, the Target Center “should” be a shiny, improved building. Those concerns should be addressed. I am actually willing to give the new upgraded Target Center a chance.