This past weekend, UND played in the NCAA West Regional tourney in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  If you watched the games you will see that the games were sparsely attended, just like I had predicted.

So the NCAA wants the teams to play in empty arena’s posing as quite mausoleums during prayer time.

Come to think of it, I have probably been to churches that are louder than last week’s West and Midwest regionals.

The announced attendance for Friday’s game between Niagara and UND was 2289 and for Saturday’s game, the announced attendance was 1918 fans.

Seriously!

If mathematically challenged, that’s a grand total for 4207 fans to see the NCAA West Regional hockey games for the weekend. My words, “that’s pathetic.” The NCAA should be ashamed. There are high school hockey tourneys in North Dakota that have more people attend them then this regional.

Today was the last press conference of the year for UND hockey head coach Dave Hakstol was asked about his thought on the NCAA tourney being played in building with atmospheres like last weekend’s regional in Grand Rapids, Michigan?

“The pinnacle of our season should be played in a great atmosphere,” Hakstol said. “I think the players that are involved in the national tournament deserve that. “I think It’s something that has garnered a fair amount of discussion over the last couple of year, but no action.” We have to fix things. We’re not doing this the right way at the regional level. I saw a stat within out program we had 5500 people on a live chat, and there was maybe 1500 people in a building watching a great hockey game between Yale and North Dakota on Saturday night. That’s not right. That’s the pinnacle and that’s the spotlight of our season. Yeah, we have to change things. Certainly, I would like to work towards doing that, sooner, rather than later.”

Hakstol continued, ” The best regionals that I have been involved in, that I can remember, atmosphere wise, was here, in 05-06, where we hosted, competitive environment. The regional in Minnesota; last year at the Xcel Energy Center; in front of 10,000 people, we came up one game short. Great atmosphere to play in, spotlight event, the way the national tournament game should feel. Third one would have been; at the Kohl Center, where the University of Wisconsin hosted. We had the good fortune of coming out of that regional. That was a tough game, there was about 15,000 people cheering against us and 1,000 of our fans with us, but that was atmosphere, and that’s the stage that our national tournament should be played on, we need to get back to one shape or form. “

It’s pretty clear that the UND’s head coach would rather play in a raucous, loud arena filled with passionate fans, even if they’re another fan bases’  than an empty arena, in a nameless town with empty seats posing as fans for the sake of having a regional championship at a neutral site, in an empty building on Saturday in March.  I agree.

About The Author

College Hockey Writer and Editor
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Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers college hockey and the University of North Dakota for Inside Hockey. Eric is the editor of Goon’s World. Lastly, Eric is also a college hockey writer for The Hockey Writers.