Cheers to the Boston College Eagles for crushing the hated Badgers of Wisconsin 5-0 on Saturday night to win the NCAA Hockey Championship. Jerry York (pronounced "Yawk") has created quite the hockey powerhouse at BC and their recent record of success in the NCAA playoffs is remarkable.
Jeers to the NCAA for ever allowing a Frozen Four to be played on a football field. As much as it pains me to admit it, announcer Gary Thorne nailed it during the game when he expressed utter dismay that a championship hockey game would ever be played under the conditions that we saw at Ford Field on Saturday night. The ice looked to be terrible shape, both from the way it appeared on TV and its suitability for play. The entire setting was visually dismal with a huge curtain on one end, gaps between the boards and the stands, and an overall atmosphere that was entirely unconducive to the game of hockey.
When you take that stage and then consider the two semi-final blowouts and a championship game that for the most part lacked for drama, it was probably the worst Frozen Four in years, at least since the debacle in Cincinnati in 1996. Having an occasional regular season game in a unique setting such as a baseball or football field is fine. But when you're playing for the NCAA Championship, you gotta play on a real rink. Next year, with the Frozen Four set to return to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the atmospherics and ice conditions will almost certainly not be a problem. But in making plans for the future, the NCAA should take a valuable lesson from this year's fiasco at Ford Field: never again.
UPDATE-- James from California--a man who's seen more than a few Frozen Fours in his day--writes in with more about the Ford Field clusterfarg:
Don't be to hasty in assuming that the NCAA may have learned a lesson. At the Frozen Four they made quite the big deal about the "record setting" attendance figures (approx 36,000 each night). The money grubbing bastards are probably salivating over those kind of numbers being achieved every year.
While Ford Field looks like a great place for a football game (it being a football field and all), it was terrible as a venue for the Frozen Four. From what I heard there and could see from my seats, the people in maybe the first ten or so rows of the risers on the sides could not see the entire ice. I was at the end behind one of the goals and could not see any of the goals scored in that net (and I was 14 rows up). And of course the fact that the place was half empty made any display of spirit by the fans just seem sad.
Glad BC won. Did not want to see the Badgers win another won. I'd already sat through that once.
Damn BC is a fast team.
Hockey aside, I did take in the Detroit Tigers Opening Day (and the three games after that) at Comerica, across the street from Ford. What a great ballpark. Fortunately for the Tigers they got to open against Hugh Hewitt's Hapless Cleveland Indians.