College Hockey and Basketball Tournaments Returning to Buffalo
Buffalo has yet to enjoy a major league pro sports championship, but college hockey and basketball's national titles will again run thru Buffalo. The NCAA announced on Tuesday that the Division I national hockey championship, the Frozen Four, will be played at KeyBank Center in 2019. The NCAA also announced that March Madness, the first-round series that's been so successful in Buffalo will be returning in 2022.
The Frozen Four was last in Buffalo in 2003. It's where Thomas Vanek earned MVP honors when he played for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Niagara University and Canisius College will serve as host schools for the Frozen Four.
It continues Buffalo's growing reputation as a city that can pull off large-scale events. The NCAA basketball first-round series in 2022 will be the seventh time for Buffalo. The World Junior Hockey Championships were held in Buffalo in 2011 and will be back in December.
It certainly doesn't hurt that so much improvement has happened around KeyBank Center. Harbor Center with its hotel and restaurants was the biggest addition, but other hotels and restaurants have popped up within walking distance of the arena in the past 10 years helping Buffalo's bid for big time events.
According to Patrick Kaler, President and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara and Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission, "Buffalo's selection as the host of the 2019 Frozen Four and the 2022 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament is further proof our destination's growing reputation as a premier city for college and amateur athletic events. These events bring thousands of visitors to our area and generate a significant economic impact for our hotels and restaurants during a typically slower time of year."
In addition to the 2019 Frozen Four and the 2022 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, Buffalo will also host the 2020 Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championships at Harbor Center.