February 21, 2005

I'd Feel Better About The Score If fND Was Actually Any Good

As expected, Michigan beat fND like a red-headed stepchild on Friday, 9-2, in front of 7,948 fans. So much for Coliseum GM Randy Brown's prediction of a 10k+ sellout, and when that's combined with what he said in advance of last summer's Freedom playoff game versus what we actually saw, I'm beginning to think he's just a shill for the Coliseum. Oh, wait - that's actually his job title. My bad.

So how did the Coliseum measure up as a venue for college hockey? Pretty well, I think:

After hosting Fort Wayne's first college hockey game, next on the agenda for the Memorial Coliseum is securing a selection as an NCAA Regional site.

The 53-year-old arena, which once housed the NBA's Fort Wayne Pistons, and the CCHA are partnering in bidding for regionals for 2008-2011.

"I think our location is our strongest asset to start with," Coliseum general manager Randy Brown said. "The market, the fact that we are such a hotbed for hockey, and then, of course, the facility itself - those are our strengths."

Fort Wayne has been unsuccessful in previous bids, but now it has a renovated building - a $34.5 million project in 2002 raised the roof 41 feet to add suites and additional seating - and now the city's has hosted a college hockey game.

Other pluses include 5,000 on-site parking spaces, meeting rooms and ballrooms in an attached exposition center and its relative proximity to several college hockey programs.

Berenson enjoyed Friday's atmosphere and said the building would be a good pick for a regional site. "This is a hockey town," Berenson said.
I'm surprised that there was no mention of this in the Fort Wayne media - since the Fort has a chip on its shoulder about all kinds of things, this should have been a great opportunity to toot our own horn. Anyway, by my PIDOOMA calculations, Fort Wayne is within an eight-hour drive of every team in the CCHA except UNO and Alaska-Fairbanks, plus CHA's Wayne State and Niagara, and the WCHA's Wisconsin. Michigan Tech and Minnesota are not far outside that radius, either. Do I think we could host an NCAA hockey regional? Well, the Coliseum ain't Van Andel Arena, but I think it would do.

I've got pictures below the fold.

Chad Kolarik buries (spot shadow) a nice cross-ice feed from Jeff Tambellini for Michigan's third goal. fND goalie Morgan Cey never saw it coming.


Andrew Ebbett (spot shadow) chases down a deflected pass for an open-net goal. It was shortly after this that the fND fans were pretty much taken out of the game, since I could hear a couple of guys ten rows behind me arguing over whether Pujols or Sosa had more strikeouts last year. In general, the crowd was pretty even, with maybe a slight edge to fND. I gues that's what happens when you schedule a 'home' game against the #5 team in an arena with room to spare within a 2 1/2 hour drive of their campus...


Since college hockey doesn't allow fighting, players tend to wrestle around a lot instead. When the net is in the way, this can make for an interesting picture.


T.J. Hensick's second goal of the game, and Michigan's final goal, was so well-screened that neither he (arrow) nor the puck are actually in the picture.


And, of course, my favorite picture of the night:


Posted by Chris at February 21, 2005 02:49 PM

Category: Sports