ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota is widely known as the "State of Hockey", and one needs to look no further than a puck-related announcement Wednesday to supply proof.
The NCAA revealed that the University of Minnesota and Ridder Arena were awarded both the 2015 and 2018 Frozen Four Championships. The announcement came as the NCAA unveiled the largest host site announcement in history, spanning 82 championships across a four-year cycle (2014-18). In total, 1,984 bid applications were submitted and 523 total championship event sites were awarded across all three divisions.
"We have had incredible success hosting past women's hockey Frozen Fours," head coach Brad Frost said. "The University of Minnesota takes great pride in putting on a first class tournament for the teams and fans that are involved. This is a great honor for our university, and I am confident that these championships will be two more memorable, top notch events."
Ridder Arena was one of four finalists to host the women's NCAA Frozen Four from 2015 to 2018, along with Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo., (hosted by Lindenwood/St. Louis Sports Commission); Whittemore Center Arena in Durham, N.H. (New Hampshire); and Ralph Englstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. (North Dakota).
The women aren't the only ones to celebrate today's plethora of championship announcements. The U of M men's hockey program and St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center will host the 2018 Men's Frozen Four. 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. "The Xcel Energy Center, the city of St. 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."
Minnesota previously hosted Men's Frozen Fours in 1958, 1966, 1989, 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2011.