As the Tampa Bay Lightning and its fans prepare to welcome the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four Men's Division I Ice Hockey Championship, the team, in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, is bringing the Hobey Baker Award to the Bay Area. Beginning Sunday, the award will reside and be on display at select Lightning home games and throughout the community up until the conclusion of the tournament.
"Hosting the 2012 Frozen Four in Tampa Bay helps grow the great game of college hockey in the southern United States," said Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, host of the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four. "Having the Hobey Baker Award here from now through April will be another unique way to further spread college hockey's incredible history and heritage throughout our community."
The award will be present at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on the west plaza prior to the puck drop and on the Bud Light Party Deck during the game for each of the team's next two home games, including Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins as well on Tuesday when the Bolts take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins.
The Hobey Baker Award is awarded each year to an individual deemed to be the best player in men’s Division I ice hockey. Award criteria include candidates emulating the exceptional character traits exhibited by the award’s namesake, Hobey Baker, a World War I flying star better known as America’s greatest amateur athlete in his day. Award candidates must demonstrate strength of character both on and off the ice, contribute to the integrity of their team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game. Consideration is also contingent on scholastic achievement and sportsmanship.
In addition, the Lightning have enjoyed a rich history with the Hobey Baker Award, as the team's Senior Advisor to the General Manager, Tom Kurvers (Minnesota-Duluth), is a previous recipient, as are former Bolts Junior Lessard (Minnesota-Duluth) and Matt Carle (Denver), and current defenseman Matt Gilroy (Boston University).
Tickets for the 2012 NCAA Men's Frozen Four are on sale now. Reserved all-session tickets for both the semifinals and the championship game (three games total) are $195 and can be purchased by visiting NCAA.com/frozenfour. The event will take place on Thursday, April 5 and Saturday, April 7 at the Times Forum. The two semifinal games will start promptly at 4:30 and 8 p.m. on April 5, while the championship game will begin at 7 p.m. on April 7.