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Regional NCAA hockey tournament boosts Western Massachusetts economy by $1.2 million

Regional NCAA hockey tournament boosts Western Massachusetts economy by $1.2 million


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The first NCAA Division I men's regional ice hockey tournament at the MassMutual Center proved to be a gamechanger for Western Massachusetts, generating a remarkable economic impact of $1.2 million.

Featuring prominent teams such as the University of Denver, University of Massachusetts, Cornell and the University of Maine, the tournament drew large crowds, demonstrating the region's passion for hockey. More than 11,000 paid tickets were sold.

Photo courtesy of Lucas Armstrong

The tournament not only captivated hockey fans, but also provided a significant boost to the local economy. More than 500 hotel rooms were booked in Springfield during the event, highlighting the city's hospitality infrastructure.

Collaborations among various stakeholders, including the MassMutual Center, American International College (AIC) and the University of Massachusetts, played a critical role in ensuring the tournament's success. Support from organizations such as the Business Improvement District (BID) and the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau (GSCVB), along with local eateries and breweries, further amplified the event's impact.

The tournament also encouraged community involvement through Fanfest, which included interactive experiences with the Forest Park Zoo and Basketball Hall of Fame. Attendees enjoyed a variety of activities, including life-size masks and clapboard inflatables, in collaboration with the Thunderbirds.

Sean Dolan, General Manager of MassMutual Center, expressed his excitement about the collaborative efforts leading up to the event. “It was really exciting for the MassMutual Center to host our first-ever NCAA Division I regional men's hockey tournament,” said Dolan. “We are grateful for the support of so many of our community partners and we look forward to hosting similar events in the future.”

Michael Lavato, AIC Associate Athletic Director, echoed similar sentiments: “It was truly a great experience for the city of Springfield to host an event like this. We are very proud that AIC is joining the Springfield Community to help organize events like this. of the event and the economic impact on the area is astonishing and we hope to do this again in the near future.”

Photo courtesy of Joseph Flanagan, Fanfest

It was a great experience working with the MassMutual Center and American International College to host the NCAA Regional event in Springfield. Western Massachusetts is packed with hockey fans and it showed throughout the tournament weekend. We look forward to working together to host similar events in the future, said Jeff Smith, associate athletic director for external operations at the University of Massachusetts.

Following Denver's victory in the Springfield region, they clinched the 2024 Men's Hockey National Championship by defeating Boston College in the Frozen Four.

Looking forward, MassMutual Center strives to establish itself as a premier NCAA tournament destination, leveraging state-of-the-art facilities and the local love for the sport.

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22News began broadcasting in March 1953, providing local news, network, syndicated and community programming in western Massachusetts. Follow WWLP-22News on X@WWLP22NewsAnd Facebook.




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