The city of Las Vegas might host the next Frozen Four. Let’s see the details here!
Las Vegas Considered as a Frozen Four Destination
For years now, sports fans have complained about the NCAA’s prohibition of national championship events in Las Vegas. The ban came to be because of gambling. But today, it is a thing of the past, much to the delight of the adoring fans. So it’s only natural that people are speculating whether there is a chance this city would host a College Football Playoff game or Final Four. And how about some hockey? Well, it seems that both the NCAA and Las Vegas are keen on introducing college hockey here.
What’s more, it was the NCAA that first announced that they would contemplate this town as the host site. Then, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority fueled speculation when they showed their interest in hosting a regional or Frozen Four. In fact, they made it clear that they were doing their best to bring this idea to fruition.
One of the officials, Lisa Motley, said that they were focusing on hockey, especially because the Golden Knights presented them as a plausible ice destination. By her own admission, their victory has opened plenty of doors for the city, and they now want to compete for a Frozen Four. This is all possible because of the NCAA’s recent decision. Namely, they removed their ban which forbade places that had legalized sports betting to host championship events.
Steve Metcalf of the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee stated that Las Vegas was a viable destination. Apart from this, he went on to say that the public would love for this to become true. According to Metcalf, Vegas has become a quintessential hockey town due to all of the accomplishments of the Vegas Knights. The Committee has been in contact with those who hope that their city will be considered.
Let the Competition Begin!
Furthermore, the organization will accept bids from August until February. Ultimately, they will contemplate all the options by next summer. Then, they will make a statement about the Frozen Four and all regional host cities in October of next year. As for regionals, their announcement will go according to the same timeline. Currently, everyone believes that Las Vegas will submit a bid.
In point of fact, they did so for the 2019–22 cycle, but they were aware that they would ultimately be rejected. If anything, at least everyone was aware of how serious this city was about hosting the event. The last city in the western part of the United States to host this event was Denver in 2008. However, Frozen Four has not come anywhere close to the Pacific coast for about 20 years now.
Back then, it was held in Anaheim, California, in 1999. A city does not have to possess a Division I hockey team to be eligible. For instance, Chicago and Tampa both hosted this event, and they did not have college hockey. As for the UNLV, they have one team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. Moreover, this does not indicate that Las Vegas is unfamiliar with Division I hockey by any means. As a matter of fact, Orleans Arena held the US Hockey Hall of Fame Game last October. The game was between Minnesota and North Dakota.
T-Mobile Arena organized the Ice Vegas Invitational tournament for two years straight. One obstacle would be to find a vacant date at T-Mobile Arena. For the last 12 years, the Frozen Four has taken place in an NHL facility. And the only exception was 2010. To be specific, this was when Detroit’s NFL stadium hosted the tournament. But Metcalf has indicated that the NCAA prefers to have it at a true NHL venue.
Thus, Las Vegas needs to ensure that T-Mobile Arena will be able to organize everything. Bearing this in mind, the owners of the stadium, MGM Resorts International, issued a statement. It was evident from it that they would be more than happy to welcome the Frozen Four.
In fact, they were over the moon when the ban was lifted. George Kliavkoff believes that the city has accepted hockey because of the recent success of the Golden Knights. Additionally, Kliavkoff reiterated that they were doing their best to explore all the available options. As for the future, the resort hopes that they will host a wide variety of championship events that will attract fans from all over the country.
Motley mentioned that Las Vegas would need to open more hotels. Also, they would need to take a closer look at the event calendar and then decide on which year to bid. She said that it would be wise to examine all the social factors and not rush into making a decision. The organization needs to think about what would be best for Las Vegas before proceeding.
The Success of the Las Vegas Team
In addition, Metcalf stated that it was important to have the support of the local NHL team. For instance, George McPhee, the current president of hockey operations of the Golden Knights, had a significant role in bringing the Frozen Four to Washington in 2009. This was when he was working for the Capitals. So the Golden Knights released a statement in support of this idea. They believe that their city is experiencing a surge of interest in all things hockey. So the event would increase the excitement that permeates Las Vegas.
The NHL gave the green light to the creation of a Las Vegas hockey team back in 2016. Since then, this sport has become quite popular in the area. Especially because the Golden Knights were able to bring the shiniest trophy to their city. Due to all of this, the UNLV moved into the City National Arena. Then, they went from Division II to Division I.
The Effect of the Victory
This prompted Faith Lutheran High School to create a team too. So the Vegas Junior Golden Knight was the first local team to secure a regional qualifier. They even went to Quebec to participate in an international tournament. Because of all the success, Metcalf almost said that the Golden Knights were the main reason why the city would be considered. However, he stopped just in time and only stated that the team made the city more appealing.
Furthermore, Metcalf called their victory an unbelievable story that residents loved. The team turned everyone’s attention to Las Vegas, including the NCAA’s. According to Metcalf, it does not come as a surprise that people want to go and watch this event in Las Vegas. When it comes to a regional, then it is more plausible to hold it in a smaller venue. This means that one of the options would be Orleans Arena.
When asked about this, a spokesman for the venue stated that he did not want to speculate. However, he listed all the success of this arena, including the fact that it hosted NCAA basketball tournaments. By his own admission, this proves that they were capable of organizing athletic competitions. Thus, they will continue to negotiate with the Las Vegas Events and the LVCVA.
What we know currently is that the Frozen Four will be organized in Pittsburgh and Boston, in 2021 and 2022 respectively. And Phoenix has stated their desire to host it as well. One of the most common destinations is Minnesota, while the Frozen Four was successful in Tampa as well. Nevertheless, Las Vegas maintains that they have good chances. Lastly, Motley said that the residents would adore the Frozen Four. With all of the success, Las Vegas has become the new sports capital of the world.