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Philadelphia, the Wells Fargo Center and ECAC Hockey will play host to the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four. The weekend-long event, which crowns the champion of Division 1 collegiate hockey, will be held on April 10 and 12 of that year, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.
The Wachovia Center has hosted a number of NCAA Tournament events, such as the 2000 Women’s Final Four, the 2001 Division I Men’s Basketball East Regional and the 2006 Division I Men’s Basketball First and Second Rounds. The Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) will serve as the host for the event on April 10 and 12, 2014.
In 2013, Pittsburgh, Robert Morris University and the new CONSOL Energy Center will play host to the same event. RMU currently plays in Atlantic Hockey and is the only Division 1 college ice hockey program in the state of Pennsylvania.
The closest NCAA Division 1 program to Philadelphia is Princeton, which plays in the ECAC, making that league an understandable host for this 2014 event.
Philadelphia has a rich college hockey history, dating back to a Penn team that began playing in 1898. The school competed in D1 hockey back in the 70s before the program took a tumble and the funding was cut. It returned as a club sport more recently, and the Class of '23 Rink that sits on the University City campus is often a secondary practice facility for visiting NHL clubs who cannot practice in South Philly for whatever reason.
Today, several of the schools in and around the city compete in the extremely competitive American Collegiate Hockey Association, which governs club-level college hockey around the country. Drexel, Penn, La Salle, Rowan Lehigh, Penn State, Villanova, Penn State-Berks, Delaware and St. Joe's are just some of the local schools that have strong club programs.
None of these local schools are close to making the jump to Division 1 men's hockey, for various reasons. PSU has debated the possibility and seems to be the most likely team in the area to eventually make the jump, but at this point there are no plans for expansion.
Perhaps our city landing this tournament is a stepping stone toward greater publicity for our many college hockey programs.