What’s the No. 1 thing everyone will miss about the WCHA?
The Final Five.
I don’t think there’s much debating that.
Sadly, in three days, it will be gone forever. In 10 years from now, we will be those people telling the young’ns about the “good ol’ days” of college hockey when North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado College, Denver and all of the other Minnesota schools were all in the same league and they played an epic tournament every year in front of 19,000 people.
We’ll tell them about the time hockey fans drank an Irish bar out of beer, and about how fans of all sorts of teams got together — whether their team made it to the event or not — for great hockey games and great times afterward.
By then, the new leagues will be well on their way.
The Big Ten, the NCHC and the WCHA will continue to have strong postseason tournaments, I believe, and the leagues will ultimately be successful. But there’s no chance that this event will ever be replicated. It’s simply impossible. This is a perfect storm of location, fan bases, rivalries, facility, downtown area.
So, for all of you who are going: Enjoy it. For those who are watching it on TV: Do the same. After all, we’ll never have this event again.
I detail some of that in my Thursday morning story here. Minnesota coach Don Lucia had an interesting quote talking about how the NCAA regionals can be a letdown atmosphere-wise after playing in the Final Five a week earlier.
Today’s games are Minnesota State vs. Wisconsin at 2 p.m. and North Dakota vs. Colorado College at 7 p.m. Check out a breakdown of those games here.
Another thing to watch for today is the Hobey announcement. UND’s Danny Kristo and Corban Knight are both Hobey hopefuls. Read about that in this week’s On the Ice column.
In case you missed it earlier, I wrote a story on Kristo for Wednesday’s paper. It talks about his intense competitive drive and his lifelong dream of playing for UND. Read that here. His family also sent me some young Danny pictures that certainly display how big of a UND fan he was growing up. Check them out here.
I wrote up a blog post on the attendance figures in the WCHA and CCHA this year. The ominous sign for the new WCHA is that its teams finished at the bottom in both leagues in attendance. Check out the results — and which teams increased and decreases in attendance from last year — in this post here.
On Wednesday afternoon, I joined College Hockey Inc.’s Nate Ewell for a podcast. We talked about Kristo, Knight, the Final Five and college hockey in general. Listen to that here.
College Hockey News has a Final Five preview here.
That’s it for now. We’ll have a pregame video up this morning discussing memories of the Final Five, the Hobey 10 will be listed later and a live game blog will be going tonight. So check back often.