SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The University of Minnesota and Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn., have been selected to host the 2018 NCAA Men’s Hockey Frozen Four, as announced today by the NCAA. In addition, the Gophers will host the 2016 NCAA West Regional at Xcel Energy Center.
“We are extremely excited to be selected to host the 2018 NCAA Frozen Four,” Minnesota Head Coach Don Lucia said. “Xcel Energy Center, the city of Saint Paul and the University of Minnesota have a great history of hosting first-class events and we look forward to continuing that tradition over the next few years.”
In 2018, Minnesota will play host to an NCAA Frozen Four for the eighth time in school history. Minnesota previously hosted the 1958, 1966, 1989, 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2011 Frozen Fours. The 1989, 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2011 Frozen Fours were contested in Saint Paul with Xcel Energy Center hosting the 2002 and 2011 renditions.
“We are proud to welcome the NCAA Frozen Four back to the State of Hockey,” said Xcel Energy Center General Manager Jack Larson. “We look forward to partnering once again with the NCAA, the University of Minnesota, Visit Saint Paul and our local business community to produce an unforgettable tournament weekend for college hockey fans.”
With Minnesota as host, the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four set multiple arena and NCAA attendance records. The attendance of 19,327 at the championship game – a 4-3 overtime victory by the Golden Gophers over Maine – established a new all-time attendance record for the largest crowd ever to witness a hockey game in the state of Minnesota as well as an NCAA Frozen Four finals record at that time (re-set in 2010 at Ford Field). The combined attendance for the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four was 57,966, also setting a record for total tournament attendance at the time.
“The University of Minnesota is proud to host the 2018 NCAA Frozen Four along with our partners in Xcel Energy Center and Visit Saint Paul,” Minnesota Director of Athletics Norwood Teague said. “The sport of hockey is ingrained in the history and culture of the state of Minnesota, and we are ecstatic to once again be hosting the premier event in college hockey.”
The 2016 NCAA West Regional will also mark Xcel Energy Center’s fourth regional event after 2010, 2012 and the upcoming 2014 NCAA West Regional on March 29-30, 2014. If the Gophers earn a berth to the program’s 35th NCAA tournament, Minnesota would play in the NCAA West Regional.