- Arts & Life
“Quinnipiac might not have the biggest building in college sports, but we have by far the best,” Director of Athletics and Recreation Jack McDonald said. “We are very proud and honored to be selected to host the first NCAA Women’s Frozen Four at Quinnipiac, in the state of Connecticut, and for the fifth time in New England.”
Previous New England schools that have hosted the Frozen Four include the likes of Providence College, University of New Hampshire, and Boston University. Furthermore, an ECAC school has not previously held the competition.
“Every conversation with a recruit, we would say Quinnipiac is the best kept secret out there. I think the secret’s out,” Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey head coach Rick Seeley said. “It’s really an exciting time to be a part of Quinnipiac University. We know the hard work it will take to pull off an event like this.
Seeley is entering his fifth season as head coach of women’s ice hockey, and is the third coach in the history of the program.
“Our primary goal is for the four teams to walk away saying I could not have had a better experience,” Seeley said. “Putting people in the seats is going to be a primary factor in having those athletes feel that way. I believe, without doing any homework, that this is the most centrally located Women’s Frozen Four.”
Following opening statements by McDonald and Seeley, ECAC Hockey Commissioner Steve Hagwell reflected his thoughts on the NCAA’s decision.
“I know Jack has been talking about this event for close to two years, and I’m really happy for him and the Quinnipiac community on realizing that dream today,” Hagwell said. “The only thing that could cap would be one of our members being crowned NCAA champion.”
After Hagwell’s comments, McDonald and Seeley responded to questions from the press, ranging from recruiting standpoints as an outcome to the future of tournaments at Quinnipiac.
When asked about the most striking characteristic about the TD Bank Sports Center that assisted in bringing the Frozen Four to Quinnipiac, McDonald believed it was all about the atmosphere.
The TD Bank Sports Center broke ground in October 2004, and opened to the ice hockey and basketball teams on Jan. 27, 2007. It replaced the previous homes for said teams, Burt Kahn Court and Northford Ice Pavillion
McDonald also believed the competition will affect the Hamden community in various positive ways, bringing in fans whom previously were unaware of the state-of-the-art building.
“Having a national tournament like this is going to bring people in from Wisconsin, Minnesota, all over the country,” McDonald said. “National media will be here, national staff will be here. New as it is, there is still hundreds-of-thousands of people that will want to see a game.”
Seeley then proceeded to share his thoughts on hosting in the Frozen Four.
“Our team will be here, no matter what,” Seeley said. “It may be just experiencing what it’s like, and creating a deeper desire or understanding of why you want to get to something like this. It is another level that if you haven’t experienced, you don’t understand.”
In closing out the conference, McDonald believed that the future was bright for tournaments at Quinnipiac, and that 2014 will open a gateway of opportunities.
“We’ve hosted some men’s basketball events here. The USA Olympic Team was here in 2010,” McDonald said. “The people are out there. Everyone wants to see a great sporting event. Anyone that’s been to a final four in any sport knows to be selected is quite an accomplishment.”
In 2010, TD Bank Sports Center welcomed the USA Women’s National Team in a contest against the ECAC Hockey All-Stars.
Ridder Arena in Minneapolis will play host to the competition in 2013. Last year, Amsoil Arena in Minnesota hosted the Women’s Frozen Four.