NCHC Moves Frozen Faceoff From Minnesota to North Dakota
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced that it will move its Frozen Faceoff tournament from Minnesota's Xcel Energy Center to North Dakota's Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The entire single-elimination tournament will now take place in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The home of the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, Ralph Engelstad Arena has averaged about 3,000 fans per game this season.
The Minnesota Wild has not been able to host any members of the general public this season at Xcel Energy Center.
“Due to continued challenges with COVID-19, we are forced to alter the structure and location of the 2021 NCHC Tournament. Circumstances surrounding travel, testing, and fan attendance made the traditional format difficult to complete,” NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton said in a statement released Monday. “We are disappointed that we will not be able to culminate the season at Xcel Energy Center, but look forward to bringing one of college hockey’s best tournament experiences back to Saint Paul in 2022.
Quarterfinals and finals will be held on March 12th and 13th, with the semifinals taking place on Monday, March 15th and the finals on Tuesday, March 16th.
“We are humbled and appreciative for the opportunity to host the nation’s premier college hockey post-season tournament. I have no doubt that the University of North Dakota, Ralph Engelstad Arena and all our Grand Forks community partners will rally together to make this event a first-class experience for all NCHC student-athletes, coaches and fans,” said Bill Chaves, North Dakota Athletics Director and Chair of the NCHC Athletic Council in the NCHC's statement.
“The collaboration and coordination among all eight schools during this incredibly unique year has been extraordinary. The leadership shown by both the NCHC Board of Directors and our Commissioner has been tremendous. Our goal now is to do our part in concluding the NCHC season in a safe and memorable fashion for all involved.”