> The city of Pittsburgh and CONSOL Energy Center will host the men’s Division I NCAA ice hockey championship – known as the Frozen Four
> The Penguins, the city, VisitPittsburgh, Robert Morris University and SMG partnered to successfully bid the NCAA national title tournament
> Major selling points for the bid were the brand-new CONSOL Energy Center, the strong hockey community in Pittsburgh and the city itself
> The bid was placed in mid-February, and Pittsburgh was named the winner of the 2013 games Tuesday
> The games will give the city and RMU national exposure, which will be largely beneficial to both
The city of Pittsburgh has hosted some of the biggest events in sports: the Stanley Cup Final, the World Series, AFC Championship Games, the NHL and MLB All-Star Games, the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, PGA tournaments and soon the NHL’s Winter Classic.
Now The Sporting News
’ best sports city in America is continuing its Grand Slam by being named the host of the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey championship – known as the Frozen Four – in 2013 at CONSOL Energy Center.
Robert Morris University, the Pittsburgh Penguins, VisitPittsburgh, local politicians and CONSOL Energy Center formed a partnership that led to a successful bid for college hockey’s grandest showcase.
This began as a pipe dream ... Our hockey program is ecstatic with being named host of the 2013 Frozen Four. I think it’s a great event for the city, the university and for our hockey program. - Derek Schooley
“This began as a pipe dream,” Robert Morris men’s ice hockey head coach Derek Schooley said. “Our hockey program is ecstatic with being named host of the 2013 Frozen Four. I think it’s a great event for the city, the university and for our hockey program.”
All participants recognized the opening of the brand-new, state-of-the-art CONSOL Energy, which will also host the first and second rounds of the 2012 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, as being the biggest selling point to the NCAA committee.
“The one thing we were missing was this fantastic facility,” Schooley said. “Now that we have it, we see where this is taking us. Where it takes us from here is a long road, a lot of work, a lot of effort, but it’s something we’ll relish, we’re excited about doing, and we hope to put the best Frozen Four on in the history of the Frozen Four. With this partnership I believe we can accomplish it.”
“The Pittsburgh Penguins are very excited about the opportunity to host the Frozen Four,” Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse said. “It’s the first National Championship at the CONSOL Energy Center. It’s another sign that the promise of the new arena is paying off even before we opened our doors.”
RMU athletic director Dr. Craig Coleman added:
“This unbelievable arena; the information we were able to provide the committee about what was planned in this arena – and all the bells and whistles in this arena – clearly was the No. 1 selling point."
The No. 2 selling point is the burgeoning hockey community in the Pittsburgh region.
“Pittsburgh is clearly recognized as a major hockey town,” Coleman said, “led of course by the Penguins and their success, as well as the youth hockey and, hopefully, our Division I ice hockey at Robert Morris has contributed to that as well. Pittsburgh is no longer just a football town. Pittsburgh is a football and hockey town, and I think the committee recognized that.”
The Frozen Four is broadcast on ESPN in the United States and TSN in Canada, providing a huge stage for the city of Pittsburgh, the CONSOL Energy Center and RMU hockey. The exposure will better showcase the beauty of Pittsburgh, the strength of hockey in the region and will aid in RMU’s continued building of a strong Division I hockey team.
“This shows our commitment as a university to Pittsburgh hockey,” Schooley said. “This will help our program attract players from all over the United States and Canada because of the national recognition this has given us. But also it helps keep our goal of keeping elite Pittsburgh players in Pittsburgh.”
The Penguins have played a vital role in the widespread popularity of hockey in Pittsburgh. The Penguins not only garner excitement by fielding a championship-caliber team every year – including a Stanley Cup title in 2009 – but also has supported hockey’s growth at the youth, amateur and collegiate level.
“We could not have a better relationship with a professional sports franchise than we at Robert Morris have with the Pittsburgh Penguins,” Coleman said. “From our coaches working their camps, to their players working out at our facility on the Island Sports Center, to the Pittsburgh College Hockey Showcase, and now finally to the collaboration that led to the successful bid to bring in the Frozen Four, we couldn’t ask for a better partner. We’ve been treated very well by the Penguins, and we want to express gratitude for that.”
We wouldn’t be here right now without the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pittsburgh Penguins went above and beyond what you could ask for from a professional organization and how they deal with our Division I hockey team. - Derek Schooley
“We wouldn’t be here right now without the Pittsburgh Penguins,” Schooley said. “The Pittsburgh Penguins went above and beyond what you could ask for from a professional organization and how they deal with our Division I hockey team.”
The bidding process, according to Coleman, began a few years ago when selected members of VisitPittsburgh and RMU began attending Frozen Four “Future Hosts Meetings.” The meetings helped the parties better understand the process, as well as witness firsthand the excitement generated by the Frozen Four.
The NCAA sent out bidding packets in December of last year. RMU, on behalf of the group, submitted its bid in mid-February. Pittsburgh was named a finalist in last April/early May.
Then on Tuesday, the last several years finally paid off with the NCAA’s announcement that Pittsburgh and RMU hockey will host the college national tournament in 2013.
The only thing that could make the 2013 Frozen Four an even greater success to the region would be for the RMU men's hockey team to be on the ice at CONSOL Energy Center competing for a national title.
“Wouldn’t it be extra special to host in 2013 and also play in it in 2013,” RMU president Dr. Gregory Dell’Omo said. He then jokingly addressed Schooley, “Derek – Dr. Coleman and Marty did their job; the Pittsburgh Penguins did their job; VisitPittsburgh definitely did their job; and all the other organizations in the city of Pittsburgh that contributed to this proposal did their job – now it’s your turn. So good luck.”