Photo: Demand for seats for this year’s Frozen Four is bound to be sky high at Chicago’s United Center.
“This is going to be big,” said Brian Elizardi, Director of Alumni Engagement for DU told LetsGoDU. “We have been working on this [Frozen Four] for a long time and we have some exciting plans in place. There will be events in Chicago and 11 more around the country to celebrate the University of Denver’s success.”
In a memo, Brandon Buzbee, DU’s associate Vice Chancellor for Global networks cites a unique alliance between Global Networks and DU Athletics to bring the DU community together in a way that it has never been done before. The Frozen Four is seen by DU as a golden opportunity to build the DU brand and forge lasting ties with their alumni network.
Everybody wants a piece of these #1 seeded ice hockey Pioneers – and everyone wants to watch high octane “200 feet of relentless Pioneer hockey”.
But can you get a seat?
As the clock ticked down on the DU’s 6-3 win over Penn State in Cincinnati, fans’ eyes moved immediately to the winner of the Notre Dame (23-11) – Mass-Lowell OT contest. Notre Dame won 3-2 and set-up a prime time Frozen Four semifinal thriller pitting the Irish against the #1 seeded Denver Pioneers (31-7-4) in what is sure to be one of the hottest tickets in the history of DU sports.
While DU does not usually travel well, a variety of factors are converging to make this a must-see event, especially for Denver fans who have seen their title drought extended to nearly 15 years. DU has a major presence in Chicago and so do the other schools at the Frozen Four- Notre Dame, Harvard, and Minnesota Duluth.
Pioneer fans remember last year’s 3-2 heartbreaking semifinal loss to North Dakota in Tampa. Denver fans believe this is just the team to end the drought and they are going to want to watch the action live.
But not so fast.
Anyone who follows the Fighting Irish understands the power of the Notre Dame alumni and friends, especially in the city of Chicago. They have a whopping 16,000 alumni in the Chicagoland area alone – and that does not include family and non-alumni who join the local Notre Dame network. They could easily fill up the entire United Center. The Notre Dame influence is felt across the city of Chicago as anyone who lives there can tell you and South Bend is less than a 100-mile drive.
There is The Notre Dame Club of Chicago which serves as an anchor for local Golden Domers. The Notre Dame Club of Chicago is a non-profit organization that raises funds for the ND Club of Chicago Scholarship Foundation and for the sponsorship of Summer Service Learning Projects in Chicago for current students. The Foundation currently supports over 60 local students.
Want to build a network for your career development, find an apartment, or just join cultural events? The Notre Dame Club offers these services and much more. If you are not from Chicago but want to fly in and go to the Frozen Four, just go to Notre Dame Travel and they will be glad to plan your trip and coordinate all your activities – be it sports or social events sponsored by the University.
But don’t sell DU short.
The University of Denver has 6,000 constituents in Chicagoland – mostly parents and alums. The DU Chicago Chapter is led by president Cody Sherrill and they are one of the largest and strongest alumni chapters in the country, behind only Denver. Cody told LetsGoDU, “The base of hockey fans in Chicago is huge. Also, Chicago is a big sports town and there are lots of DU grads here so the demand is going to be there. We were hopeful and planning all year for Denver hockey to make it here. There are a number of Chicago alums that purchased tickets months ago and it has been the talk of the chapter the last few months.”
And what about Harvard and UMD, the other two teams at the Frozen Four? They will have a ticket allotment, too and will be scouring ticket sites for a chance to see their teams play as well. Of course, Harvard also has Harvard Alumni of Chicago along with a national following and well-heeled graduates with an interest and the wherewithal to follow their team live. Duluth is in close proximity to Chicago and has a large, passionate fan base that travels well.
Finally, Chicago is one of the most appealing destinations for a Frozen Four and travel by air to the Windy City is affordable and accommodations are relatively inexpensive. People have nearly two weeks to make plans to attend and the event is at a relatively quiet time of year. Add this all together and you have the perfect storm with ‘only’ 19,717 seats for hockey at the United Center.
While none of the four participants have the singular draw of the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks fan base, this is sure to be one of the hottest tickets ever for a Frozen Four.
LetsGoDU will be covering all the details regarding Denver’s national watch parties, the soon to be announced #SkateFor8 Ambassador Challenge and Chicago Pre-Game reception details as soon as we get them.
As for tickets, good luck!