March Madness has ended, the Final Four is over, everyone’s brackets have been destroyed and College basketball fans at-large have returned to being productive members of the work force (OK, most people aren’t that obsessive). There is however a handful of college sports fans that are still waiting for their final four. The NCAA D1 Men’s ice hockey championship, more commonly referred to as the Final Four, begins the final rounds tonight. Minnesota Duluth will face Notre Dame at 3:00 pm Mountain and Michigan will face North Dakota at 6:30 pm. The winners of those two games will play for the National Championship on Saturday night at 5:00 pm Mountain.Like many college sports, college hockey is very different from professional play. Fighting is not allowed, players wear full masks and the physical aspect of the game is very understated by NHL standards. I have come to discover these differences usually turn off casual hockey fans. I however very much enjoy college play. Without the “excitement” of unnecessarily hard hits and players who STOP PLAYING to throw punches (subsequent penalty requiring you to miss 25% of the period) you are left with a hockey game consisting of few distractions from the fundamental aspects of the game; position play, effective fore checking and offensive zone cycling, neutral zone transitions, we can stop there but the list goes on.
So if you are looking for a change from the last games of the NBA and NHL regular season or the first few MLB games this year why not give the student athletes at these four great schools a chance?