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Details of the NCAA hockey tournament come into play

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The committee that serves it doesn’t expect any major changes either.

While several other NCAA tournaments have changed dramatically and moved to one central location – men’s basketball in Indianapolis, women’s basketball in San Antonio, volleyball in Omaha, and women’s hockey in Erie, Pa. – the men’s hockey regions will still be held in their four predetermined locations and the NCAA Frozen Four will remain in Pittsburgh.

Omaha associate athletic director Mike Kemp, the chairman of the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee, confirmed this to Jim Connelly and Ed Trefzger of USCHO in a podcast this week

“At this point I think we know the tournament will be organized as it has been in recent years with four regional sites,” Kemp said on the podcast. “We know that the Frozen Four will be in Pittsburgh on the scheduled dates. So from that standpoint I think we understand that we are in a position where things will be as normal as possible when they go into the tournament.”

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Fargo’s Scheels Arena will host one of the regionals on March 26 and 27. UND, a virtual slot to make the NCAA tournament at this point, is automatically posted there.

The Frozen Four is scheduled for April 8-10 at PPG Paints Arena, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Kemp discussed several other hot topics related to the NCAA tournament with Connelly and Trefzger.

A fourth regional site

The four predetermined regional locations were originally Fargo, Loveland, Colo., Bridgeport, Conn. And Manchester, NH

But Manchester recently withdrew as host.

Kemp said the committee has explored several different ideas, including having a replacement in the west. In a traditional format, college hockey often has two regionals in the east and two in the west. However, in recent years they have placed three in the east. So the committee did not think it would necessarily be problematic to place a third in the West.

However, it rejected that idea, as it would mean more teams would travel by air.

Kemp said the new fourth regional region will be in the east.

“The NCAA went out – not our committee – to look for a few spots,” Kemp said on the USCHO podcast. “They have a few spots that are strong potential. I expect an announcement in the next few days – not weeks, but several days – about a location. But it will be in the east. I’m going to look at another regional position off the east coast. . “

Capacity limit

Kemp said the NCAA is open to admitting fans, but it will be dictated by the local health departments, counties and states.

The NCAA does not allow more than 25 percent of the hall capacity for winter or spring championships, according to Kemp.

The capacity of Scheels Arena is approximately 5,000. The maximum capacity for the regional would thus be 1,250.

“It looks like we’ll have at least one site – Fargo is a site that’s already open – with a region where they can accommodate (fans), although the NCAA will dictate what the limit will be,” Kemp said. USCHO. “Fargo, of course, in North Dakota, is an open area. The other sites will be dictated and hopefully they can be opened up to some degree of presence outside of family and friends between now and either the Regional or the Frozen Four.”

PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh has a hockey capacity of 18,387, bringing the maximum potential capacity for the Frozen Four to approximately 4,600.

How is the field picked?

The hottest topic in college hockey right now is how the 16-team NCAA tournament field is chosen.

As in a normal season, each of the six conferences will receive one automatic bid. It can go to the regular season champion or the post-season champion, although all leagues have awarded it to the playoff champion in recent years.

But the process for selecting the big teams will be different.

The Pairwise Rankings are usually used to select the at-large teams, but that formula has become obsolete with no cross-conference play this season.

“You’re going to look at the win-lose record,” Kemp told USCHO of the overall selection process. You’re going to look at the strength of the schedule. You’re going to look at the mutual results. You’re going to look at the results versus regular opponents. All these factors come into play. Country there are some, but it’s very limited – it’s going to have to be those comparisons within the conference. And then we’ll have a little subjectivity in it. It’s inevitable this year, which makes it challenging. “

For this season, the NCAA also forms regional advisory committees, with one head coach from each conference. According to Connelly, Brett Larson is the NCHC representative in St. Cloud State.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” Kemp said on the podcast. “It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be hard to do, but we have a format that we’ve used in the past. We have the parts that go in pair that will help us formulate ideas and thoughts about who those Sixteen teams are. They are. But there comes an eye test factor. That’s one of those things that can’t be avoided. “

Other notes

Kemp discussed the NCAA’s desire to place teams within driving distance of regional locations on the understanding that this will largely not be possible for Loveland. He also talked about changes in fan events at the Frozen Four, discussions of how to deal with potentially positive COVID-19 tests, and ESPN’s commitment to airing the tournament.

Listen to the entire interview here

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