Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Colleges

Tampa wastes no time to lobby for another Frozen Four

TAMPA — Within minutes of a second successful Frozen Four in four seasons wrapping up here, Rob Higgins started work on bringing college hockey's big event back to Amalie Arena as soon as possible.

"WE WANT YOU BACK" said a well-timed billboard on Channelside Drive, unveiled late Saturday night after North Dakota beat Quinnipiac 5-1 to win its eighth national championship.

The announced attendance of 19,538 was the third-largest for a Frozen Four title game.

"We've received a lot of positive feedback — we're interested to hear from the student-athletes, coaches and fans, but early signs so far are pretty strong," said Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. "Our hats are off to all of our partners to make a once-in-a-lifetime event happen at a really high level twice."

Tampa hosted in 2012, and bids will be taken in the fall by the NCAA to host four championships from 2019-22. Tampa already is hosting the women's basketball Final Four in 2019, so Higgins said his focus is on bringing the Frozen Four back in 2020, 2021 or 2022.

"We're really focused on having a long-term relationship with the Frozen Four," he said.

THE FUTURE: Many of the biggest names in the Frozen Four are unknown to casual hockey fans but don't be surprised to see a few become NHL stars in a few years.

When the Frozen Four was in Tampa in 2012, few knew who Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau or Union's Shayne Gostisbehere were. Four years later, Gaudreau is sixth in the NHL in scoring with 30 goals for the Flames; Gostisbehere is a Calder Trophy candidate, given to the league's top rookie. He has 16 goals as a defenseman for the Flyers.

Who could quickly jump from this Frozen Four to NHL stardom? North Dakota's Brock Boeser and Nick Schmaltz have already been NHL first-round picks, Schmaltz to the Blackhawks in 2014 and Boeser to the Canucks in 2015.

Quinnipiac's Sam Anas is among several draft prospects for the Bobcats, and from the two teams eliminated Thursday, Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko, a Hobey Baker finalist, is a former Canucks second-round pick who could forego his senior year, and Denver forward Danton Heinen is a Bruins prospect.

WELCOME BACK: Former Lightning star Marty St. Louis, who played in the Frozen Four for Vermont in 1996, got a big cheer from the Tampa crowd as he walked out for the pregame ceremonial puck drop.

THIS AND THAT: After stopping in Tampa for the second time in four years, the Frozen Four goes to the United Center in Chicago for the first time in 2017, then the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., in 2018. … While much was made of North Dakota's prolific offense, its defense held 15 of its previous 16 opponents to two goals or fewer.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

   
Comments
FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

Published: 12/10/17
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK — Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, completing a climb from walk-on to one of the most accomplished players in the history of college football. Mayfield won a lopsided vote to become the sixth Okla...
Published: 12/09/17
Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

TAMPA — His team was in Ann Arbor, practicing. He was signing footballs in Tampa.Yet another Jim Harbaugh fun fact."I can’t be in two places at once," Harbaugh said.Not that Harbaugh wouldn’t try it if he could. College football’s firestarter, its bi...
Published: 12/08/17

Gasparilla Bowl journal: Temple’s Collins speaks highly of former boss, new Gator Mullen

ST. PETE BEACH — If anyone has an accurate read on how new coach Dan Mullen will fare at Florida, it’s Temple’s Geoff Collins.Collins worked under Mullen as a Mississippi State assistant from 2011-14. He jumped from there to Gainesville, where he spe...
Published: 12/07/17
No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

GAINESVILLE — Aundre Jackson scored 23, Cameron Krutwig added 14 and Loyola-Chicago stunned No. 5 Florida 63-59 Wednesday, handing the Gators a third consecutive loss. Less than 48 hours after Florida coach Mike White said his team’s performance agai...
Published: 12/06/17
Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

No matter what happens on the field at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, the star of the show will be the bloomin’ onion. Not the deliciously crispy, glistening, 1,900-plus-calorie appetizer served at Outback restaurants, but the person who parades t...
Published: 12/06/17
Indiana hoops transplant perfectly at home in Tampa

Indiana hoops transplant perfectly at home in Tampa

TAMPA — Back home in Indiana, he was basketball royalty. He played in his first league at age 2. He lived — and loved — the hardwood life. He was accustomed to performing before more than 10,000 fans for his big games.Pat Bacon capped his storied pre...
Published: 12/06/17
Offensive guru Heupel is named UCF coach

Offensive guru Heupel is named UCF coach

UCF hired Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel as football coach.Heupel quickly hired former UF interim coach Randy Shannon as defensive coordinator.Heupel, 39, was a consensus All-American quarterback who led Oklahoma to the 2000 national titl...
Published: 12/05/17
At Hall of Fame induction, Steve Spurrier and Peyton Manning share respect

At Hall of Fame induction, Steve Spurrier and Peyton Manning share respect

NEW YORK — After the class picture of the latest Hall of Fame inductees was taken, Peyton Manning made his way over to Steve Spurrier for another handshake and some chit-chat before heading off in opposite directions to do media interviews. The forme...
Published: 12/05/17
FSU upsets No. 5 Florida, its fourth straight win over Gators

FSU upsets No. 5 Florida, its fourth straight win over Gators

GAINESVILLE — Terance Mann scored 25, CJ Walker added 17 and Florida State upset No. 5 Florida 83-66 on Monday night to remain undefeated. The Seminoles (7-0) also extended their winning streak against the Gators (5-2) to four, their longest in the 6...
Published: 12/04/17