The NCAA on Tuesday announced the sites for its Division I ice hockey regionals for the 2017-2018 and 2018-19 seasons.
The decision had no bearing on the University of Maine’s bid to host a tournament in Portland.
The bid submitted by the University of Maine and the Maine Sports Commission for the 2020, 2021 and 2022 regionals have not yet been addressed.
The bid to hold a regional at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland didn’t include the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons according to Seth Woodcock, the senior associate athletic director for development, and Will Biberstein, the senior associate AD for internal operations.
“It’s such a big process,” said Woodcock. “There’s a lot to it. It involves hundreds of volunteers. We just wanted time to figure out how to manage it.”
Biberstein said when you place a bid, you can specify which season or seasons for which you would like to to be considered.
Woodcock and Biberstein feel one of the primary reasons the NCAA awarded the regional sites for only the next two years was to further entertain the thought of reverting to home rinks for the regionals rather than neutral sites.
The decisions about 2018 and 2019 buy some time to see what direction the coaches and athletic administrators want to go in.
Poor attendance, particularly in the western regionals, has prompted the discussion about returning to home rinks.
Woodcock and Biberstein said they expect there to be plenty of conversation about the regional format at the upcoming American Hockey Coaches Convention scheduled for April 26-30 in Naples, Florida.
“A lot of people have strong opinions about that. We don’t. If they continue with the current regional format, we want to hold it in Portland,” said Woodcock. “We put in an awesome bid. It took a lot of time and energy. It has to be the most comprehensive bid that’s ever been submitted.
“We feel great about it,” added Woodcock.
“It wasn’t just the University of Maine and the Maine Sports Commission that submitted the bid,” said Biberstein. “It was a team effort. There were a lot of groups involved.”
Those groups included the administrators at the Cross Insurance Arena and the Bangor and Portland Convention and Visitors Bureaus, he said.
There is no timetable on when the NCAA will award the 2020, 2021 and 2022 regionals.
For the 2017-2018 season, regionals have been awarded to the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The Sanford Premier Center and the PPL Center will be hosting regionals for the first time. Both were completed in 2014.
The regionals for 2018-2019 were awarded to the PPL Center, the Scheels Center in Fargo, North Dakota, the Southern New Hampshire University Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire, and the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
The NCAA also announced the sites for the Frozen Four. After the 2018 event at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, the semifinals and finals will be held at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York (2019), the Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit (2020), the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh (2021) and TD Garden in Boston (2022).