Colorado Venues Selected as NCAA Tournament Hosts, Denver named Hockey & Gymnastics Host Institution

Last week, the NCAA announced more than 450 selections of host sites for preliminary rounds and final sites of championships in Divisions I, II, and III, with most to be held from 2022-23 through 2025-26.  The University of Denver is set to host two Hockey Regional playoffs in 2022 and 2026 in Loveland (in addition to hosting the West Regional in 2021, depending on the Covid-19 situation) and a Gymnastics Regional in 2023 at DU’s Magness Arena.

The winner of the two hockey regionals in Loveland advance to the Frozen Fours in Boston (2022) and Las Vegas (2026), respectively. The Women’s Gymnastics Regional at Magness Arena recognizes the growing significance of Denver as a gymnastics hub.

Locally, the Metropolitan State University of Denver is hosting cross country events in 2022 and 2024 in nearby Washington Park. And, CU-Boulder will be hosting the National Ski Championships in Steamboat Springs in 2024.

It was disappointing to see that Division I lacrosse regionals and/or finals would not come to the Rocky Mountain Region. In the eyes of the NCAA, lacrosse remains an east coast sport with only a pair of non-Atlantic seaboard regionals at Notre Dame and Ohio State over the next five years.

Unfortunately, NCAA soccer postseason play, men’s and women’s,  will miss the state of Colorado as well. Colorado will have to wait until 2028 for another chance to land ‘the beautiful game’.

Below is a list of the NCAA events that will take place in Colorado between 2022-2026:

2022                                                                                                                                         D-2 Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Regional, Washington Park, Denver, Host- CSU Pueblo

D-1 Men’s Hockey Regional Regional, Budweiser Events Center, Loveland, Host – University of Denver

2023                                                                                                                                         D-1 Men’s Basketball First & Second Round, Pepsi Center, Denver, Host – Mountain West Conference

D-1 Woman’s Gymnastics Regional, Magness Arena, Denver, Host – University of Denver

D-2 Men’s & Women’s Track & Field Championships, Derose Thunder Bowl, Pueblo, Host- CSU-Pueblo

2024                                                                                                                                          D-2 Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Regionals, Washington Park, Host – Metropolitan State University Denver

D-1 Ski Championship Finals, Steamboat Springs, Host – CU Boulder

2025                                                                                                                                              D-1 Men’s Basketball, First and Second Round, Pepsi Center, Host – Mountain West Conference

D-2 Men’s & Women’s Track and Field finals, Thunder Bowl, Host – CSU – Pueblo

2026                                                                                                                                          D-1 Men’s Hockey Regionals, Budweiser Events Center/Loveland, Host – University of Denver

5 thoughts on “Colorado Venues Selected as NCAA Tournament Hosts, Denver named Hockey & Gymnastics Host Institution”

  1. I wonder if DU even put in a bid for a lacrosse regional this time around?

    Last time DU hosted regional in 2015, it drew over 13,000 fans to Mile High on a poor weather day, which still was the sixth best-drawing regional of all time, and was the top-drawing regional that year. No regional outside the East Coast has ever drawn more people than Denver, so it’s not for lack of fan interest.

    The challenge in Denver is most likely financial. Drawing 13,000+ to an NFL stadium like Mile High may not make much of a profit, given the high rents they must charge and having to fly three other teams to Denver (or four if DU or Air Force didn’t qualify). In other words, the NCAA certainly makes more money drawing 13,000 fans to college stadiums like Hofstra or Navy or Brown, where rents are lower and most of the teams can likely get there on a bus.

    1. I wonder if DU would consider hosting a lax regional at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. It’s a smaller venue, but has been a successful lax venue in the past (2014 Wold Championships and 2018 MLL Championships). This could cut the costs of hosting.

  2. Good point, Tim. Dicks is probably cheaper to rent than Mile High.

    But we don’t know if DU got any kind of break on Mile High’s rent or not. Remember that the late Pat Bowlen, a former DU board member and donor, whose family still owns the Denver Broncos and the Denver Outlaws lacrosse team, was part of the DU group who recruited Bill Tierney to Denver back in 2009. Bowlen, a Canadian, loved lacrosse…DU played a number of lax games at Mile High, including regular season matchups with Notre Dame and Duke, as well as ECAC and NCAA tourney games at Mile High, so my guess is that the DU brass likely still feels more loyalty to Bowlen/Mile High than it does to the Kroenke Sports (Dick’s owner). But who knows?

    While 15,000 fans inside the 18,000-seat Dick’s Sporting Good’s Park would probably be a much better look than having 15k rattling around in 75,000 seat Mile High, Dick’s has poor transit issues that Mile High doesn’t have, and you still need to fly at least 2-4 teams out to Denver for any regional, no matter what stadium you use.

    I think if it made good financial sense to do it, DU would have likely bid for these lax regionals. Perhaps they did and lost the bids, but my guess is that DU sat out, figuring that hosting NCAA hockey and gymnastics is effort enough for a small athletic dept…

  3. DU “hosting” hockey regionals in Loveland does nothing for me. If DU qualifies it doesn’t have a home-ice advantage. Magness is on campus so I’d go there.

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