March Madness is associated mainly with one thing: basketball. The name itself just conjures up images of buzzer beaters, cinderellas, and thrilling performances. But there’s a different March Madness and it comes in the form of the NCAA men’s ice hockey tournament which culminates in the Frozen Four. This year the East regional took place at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
It is the epitome of college hockey in the United States. The Frozen Four is the two day, four team final tournaments to crown the National Champion in NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey. The 2019 version is being hosted by the MAAC, Canisius College and Niagara University at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. The home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres has welcomed two teams from each of the Hockey East and NCHC hockey conferences in a curious drawing. However, not all has been rosy in Bison City.
Lawson Ice Arena provides a quintessential college hockey experience, and the Lawson Lunatics are the co-stars along with the players on the ice. Kalamazoo has a strong hockey tradition, and it is a great town to visit for a weekend getaway. Consider following your favorite team on the road, or just making a weekend trip to see Western Michigan hockey.
Several seasons of sub-par results have dulled the shine a bit at Alfond Arena, but the fact is, it’s a fantastic place to catch a college hockey game. While the standing room only crowds and intimidating atmosphere of the school’s glory days may be a thing of the past, central Maine hockey fans still turn out in solid numbers for the state’s most popular sport.
Gutterson Fieldhouse is a quintessential old-school hockey barn. Everything about the place screams old-time hockey. Vermont displays its history throughout the facility, and it’s easy to see that hockey is king here at UVM. Renovations are planned for “The Gut” as part of a $95 million improvement project, which will include a new events center next door to Gutterson Fieldhouse. Here’s hoping the renovations don’t change too much of the old-school aura here.
Boston’s unofficial city championship is the longest running and premier college hockey tournament in the nation. Having these four schools, all located within five miles of each other, competing annually would alone make for a compelling tournament. Add in the fact that these teams are regulars in the national rankings, and you have a college hockey fan’s dream tournament. The Beanpot is a bucket list item for any serious hockey fan, whether or not you even follow college hockey.