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Preparing for the Frozen Four
This year Quinnipiac plays host to the biggest event in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey. From March 21-23 the Frozen Four is taking place at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Before four of the best teams in women’s college hockey could compete for a national title, there were plenty of preparations to be done. The staff at TD Bank Sports Center is responsible for making sure the facilities are ready for the big weekend.
Fans could already see the first signs of preparation last week, in the numerous Frozen Four logos displayed in the arena. A large banner hangs in the corner of the arena and an extra large Frozen Four decal has been on the outside glass of the arena for several weeks now. Both were placed there to inform and excite the Quinnipiac community for this upcoming event.
“I think it’s doing exactly what we wanted it to do,” said Eric Grgurich, executive director of the TD Bank Sports Center. “We want to get a little buzz going when people walk up to our men’s games or our basketball games or whatever they’re coming for. They see that big logo out there and kind of inquire, ‘What is that going on?’”
The word is out, but a week ago, the work was still far from done. The building itself had to be transformed into an NCAA location. This means Quinnipiac and TD Bank logos on the ice had to be changed to the NCAA logo. The logos of the four competing teams were also added to the decal in front of the arena.
Without a break before the Frozen Four weekend, the TD Bank staff made these changes just days before the event. Yet logos are also not the only aspects considered when preparing the building.
“When we are going to get the trophies, Quinnipiac is a Pepsi sponsor and the NCAA is a Coke sponsor so we have to get all of their product in for the coolers and everything they want displayed for the championship,” said Jamie Schilkowski, Assistant Athletic Director and Equipment Services. “Just little things like that, that are different from what we normally do.”
Schilkowski is the main communicator with the NCAA and is in charge of making sure the event location is up to NCAA standards. He is responsible for organizing things such as the red carpet entrance, the banquet for the participating teams and the overall schedule for the weekend.
Although everything was set before the weekend of the event, he is there this weekend to help with any last minute requests from the teams and to make sure the event runs smoothly.
The staff was on track in getting the building ready for the Frozen Four, but they also were responsible for drawing in a crowd.
“As we are right now, we are sold out of tickets that we had to sell,” Grgurich said, earlier this month.
Grgurich and the rest of the staff were successful in marketing tickets to season ticket holders and also to local youth hockey teams. This is the first time in several years the women’s Frozen Four is back on the East Coast, giving locals the opportunity to attend. The last time it was in New England was 2009 in Boston.
There were still standing room tickets available as of last week. Each team was given 200 tickets to sell and any remaining tickets were given back to the TD Bank staff to be sold.
As everything came together for the fast approaching event, Grgurich said he hopes the weekend leaves a lasting effect on fans.
“I think, I hope it opens peoples eyes to it [women’s hockey]. I think our team’s here the last couple years have been fantastic and I’m trying to get more people out. They just need to see it I think,” Grgurich said.
It remains to be see what kind of effect the Frozen Four will leave on Quinnipiac and the community, but the staff at TD Bank Sports Center was fully prepared to take on the weekend.
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Commentary: Enjoy it, Bobcat fans
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Best wishes. Now get it done Bobcats!...
Former teammates behind opposing benches at the Frozen Four