The University of Maine decided not to submit a bid to host an NCAA Division I Hockey Regional at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland due to the sizeable financial requirement involved.
In 2016, UMaine and the Maine Sports Commission had submitted a bid to host a regional in Portland, which at the earliest would have been in 2020. However, after the NCAA considered moving regional play to campus sites, it asked schools to re-submit their bids.
As a result, UMaine did not follow through with its bid, citing the cost involved, according to Seth Woodcock, the school’s senior associate athletic director for development.
According to a story in US College Hockey Online, among the requirements for hosting a regional is a financial guarantee of $150,000.
“Due to the financial requirement for this round of bids, we didn’t think it was in the best interest of the university and the athletic department to submit a bid this time around,” Woodcock said. “That [$150,000] is a big number. It didn’t make sense to take that on.”
UMaine, which would have served as the host school, has been well supported in Portland. In its past seven games at Cross Insurance Arena, the Black Bears have attracted an average of 5,045 fans.
The minimum capacity to host a regional is 5,000 seats, and there are 6,206 permanent seats in Portland.
The fact the Black Bear hockey team has not been to an NCAA Regional since 2012 did not help its cause. The University of New Hampshire is actually the Division I hockey program closest to Portland, 62 miles away compared with 129 from Orono. But the Wildcats have fallen on hard times of late and have not been to a regional since 2013.
Not having one of those two schools involved would significantly hurt attendance, which is how UMaine would have fulfilled its financial obligations to the NCAA and the City of Portland for the use of the arena.
The NCAA announced last month that the 2019-20 regionals will be held at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania (Midwest); the Times Union Center in Albany, New York (East); the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts (Northeast); and the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado (West).
Loveland will again host the West Regional in 2021, and the other sites will be Scheels Arena in Fargo, North Dakota (Midwest); the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut (East); and the Southern New Hampshire University Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire (Northeast).
This year’s Frozen Four was held in Buffalo, and 13,624 fans attended the championship game in which the University of Minnesota Duluth beat the University of Massachusetts 3-0. The KeyBank Center, home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, holds 19,070 for hockey.
UMD’s semifinal win over Providence drew 13,051.
The next three Frozen Four sites, announced two years ago, will be Detroit (2020), Pittsburgh (2021) and Boston (2022).
According to a story in the College Hockey News, a group from Las Vegas, home of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, intends to bid on a Frozen Four and a regional in the 2023-26 bidding cycle.