Erickson: NCAA women’s hockey lacking some logic

first_imgWhy? I find myself asking that on what seems like a daily basis.In the sports world, I have many whys:Scott Baker, why must you look so promising, but then put up less-than-impressive stats? (Probably the reason I’ve never been a big Baker fan.)Tiger Woods, why did you ever think excusing your actions by calling yourself a “sex addict” would work well for you in the end? (He may have been a god among men on the golf course, but I have lost all respect for him.)Brett Favre, why did it ever cross your mind that playing for the Minnesota Vikings was a good choice? (That plan failed, epically.)Paul Chryst, why did you call for a pass play on the failed two-point conversion in the Rose Bowl when the run was what got you there so effectively? (Too soon, Badger fans? My apologies.)It’s been about a week now, but I still can’t shake that “why” feeling that has been bugging me for several days.Last weekend I flew out to Erie, Penn. From the moment I waited an hour for a cab from the airport to my hotel, I couldn’t help but wonder why the heck the NCAA chose Erie for the Frozen Four.The feeling only became further amplified after walking into Tullio Arena, where the games were being held.Upon entering Tullio, it’s impossible not to miss the wide-open hallways that grace the Kohl Center’s interior – as well as the entire Kohl Center itself.Tullio, to say the least, is outdated and in major need of a tune up. Passing through the doors feels like a trip in the DeLorean back to the ’80s, and it hasn’t been fixed up since then.Which brings me to my most recent “why.” Why NCAA, why did you pick Tullio Arena for the national championship tournament?Sure, it’s women’s hockey, which doesn’t bring the crowd out in tens of thousands (unless Wisconsin is hosting Minnesota in the Fill the Bowl game). But surely any hockey tournament deserves a better venue.In addition to shoddy seats and an ancient atmosphere (the Metrodome looks like a gem compared to Tullio), the ice itself was questionable.Behind one of the goals, the ice had some dangerous divots on the boards that were clearly visible from the makeshift, death trap of a press box I found myself sitting in.So how exactly did the NCAA determine Tullio Arena was spectacular enough to hold a national championship event? Frankly, I don’t think anyone actually knows.Mercyhurst has been vying to host the tournament for years, but Tullio definitely needs some help before that should have become a reality. Sadly, Mercyhurst didn’t even get the chance to use the home ice advantage they somehow achieved after losing in the quarterfinals to Boston University.Sure, women’s hockey isn’t a revenue sport, but all athletes deserve the right to play somewhere awesome for their national championship tournament.The Frozen Four for Men’s Hockey is being held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. this year. The Xcel was built as a hockey arena and is simply beautiful. Even my high school girls team had the chance to play there for the state title my senior year (no worries, they won).Minnesota loves hockey, but how does it make sense that high school teams get to play their state championships in NHL caliber stadiums while NCAA Division I teams have to play in – for lack of a better word – a dump?Tullio Arena is clearly in need of a renovation, which Erie already realized seeing as it’s getting a $42 million renovation set to start any day.Logical, yes, but it begs the question why the NCAA didn’t wait a year or two till the renovations were done? It seems to make more sense to show off a new arena in an event like the Frozen Four, rather than the current, ugly state it is in.And to further the lack of respect or love for the sport of women’s hockey, the game wasn’t even televised.There was a live stream of the game online, but after suggesting this option to many people, this option seemed impossible to find.It’s simply shocking that a more popular sport such as hockey, despite being women’s hockey, doesn’t even get a television spot for it’s national championship game. Yeah, it’s the middle of March Madness and everyone is loving basketball, but for those people who actually wanted to cheer on their team, they had to do so through blogs or area-constrained radio shows and didn’t get the chance to feel the live action of the games – which for a national championship tournament was, of course, intense.Women’s hockey is a growing NCAA sport. National champion runner-up Boston University’s program is only in its sixth year of existence. Furthermore, the fact that Minnesota and Wisconsin were able to draw a 10,668-person crowd to a regular season game proves how much fans love this sport, especially in Wisconsin (and not to mention, that game was televised).The women’s team has now brought home four national championships in six years. No matter the ugliest, most unworthy arenas the squad plays in or the extreme lack of exposure given to it, it will continue to play its game and get the job done.Next year, the Frozen Four will be held in Duluth’s new AMSOIL Arena. It’s a definite step up from this year, and one can only hope the squads actually get a television spot.Kelly is a sophomore intending to major in journalism. Have you ever been to Erie, Penn.? Try to convince her it’s not so bad at [email protected]last_img