Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson was one of the people who brought up concerns about the NCAA hockey tournament's format of playing its tournament at neutral sites.
And while some Toledoans were upset at Jackson's remarks -- which, personally, I think was misplaced anger; he seemed to be more upset at the system than with Toledo in general -- everyone can admit that his thoughts had merit.
Let's take a look at some of the numbers surrounding the NCAA hockey tournament from recent seasons, beginning with this year's attendance numbers for all four regional sites.
|Van Andel Arena||2,289||21%||1,918||18%||10,834|
|Dunkin' Donuts Center||6,253||50%||10,974||89%||12,400|
Before we move on, a bit of explanation. The "Semis" and "Finals" numbers are the announced crowds at each site. The "Pct." column lists the percentage of a site's capacity that attendance total is.
Now, a few notes. Yes, the Toledo numbers were terrible. The numbers at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., were worse because there really wasn't a "draw" at that site. The Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., benefitted from having Boston College. But the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H., had a true "home" team (New Hampshire), and the attendance numbers reflect that.
All four sites also were hurt by the timing of the regional (Easter weekend). There also were numerous complaints about the ticket prices, which seemed to differ between venues. The cheapest tickets were at Van Andel ($65 all-tournament tickets, $35 single-day tickets), while the other venues were very similiar ($75 all-tournament at Huntington Center, $77 at other two venues; single-day were $45 at all three).
Let's provide a little more perspective with regional attendance figures from the recent past ...
|Webster Bank Arena||5,090||62%||5,328||65%||8,252|
|Xcel Energy Center||9,386||52%||10,974||61%||18,064|
Notice that, while the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis., may have had a larger attendance total than the Huntington Center, its percentage of capacity was less. Also, while the Xcel Energy Center numbers were good, the building had been filled to its 18,064 capacity the previous week for the WCHA's Final Five.
|Webster Bank Arena||7,671||93%||7,816||95%||8,252|
Notice the difference in attendance at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn., this season compared to others. The reason? Yale was there, so there was local fan support. Also, New Hampshire again was home at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Finally, if someone has the attendance figure for the final at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, I'd love to see it. I spent a LOT of time trying to find it, with no success.
|War Memorial Col.||4,133||51%||3,204||40%||8,103|
|Times Union Center||4,073||29%||3,737||26%||14,236|
|Xcel Energy Center||7,231||40%||7,182||40%||18,064|
The Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., was hurt by its size (capacity is 14,236). Notice that while the attendance total at the Xcel Energy Center was good, there was no Minnesota there to make it great (although Wisconsin was there). As a result, the building was more than half-empty.
|Webster Bank Arena||8,478||99%||8,478||99%||8,525|
|Van Andel Arena||4,052||37%||3,170||29%||10,834|
While the Van Andel numbers weren't as bad as this season, they obviously weren't great. Also, Notre Dame was there for the semifinals and lost, causing the decreased attendance in the final. Yale was at Webster Bank Arena (in Bridgeport, Conn.) and New Hampshire was at Verizon Wireless Arena (in Manchester, N.H.) while Minnesota-Duluth was at the Mariucci Center (in Minneapolis).
Here's one other thing to consider: the number of times a venue has hosted the NCAA hockey tournament helps it become better at judging interest and drawing crowds. Toledo is at a bit of a disadvantage in this area because it had never hosted the tournament before (it's also just four years old).
Compare that with the other three venues for 2013: Van Andel Arena and Verizon Wireless Arena each was hosting its fifth regional since 2004 (others for VAA were 2005, 2007 and 2009; others for VWA were 2007, 2009 and 2011), while the Dunkin' Donuts Arena was hosting its first regional since 2003 but had hosted six Frozen Fours, the most-recent coming in 2000.
OK, the floor is open for questions and discussion. I'd love to hear what you think and answer any questions you might have. Click on the "Post A Comment" link at the bottom of this file and let us know what YOU think!
Click here to read the story about BGSU and Huntington Center officials talking about the attendance at the Toledo regional.
Click here to read the original story that includes Jackson's comments about the Toledo regional.