Sound Off! NCAA committee botched men's hockey tournament

From the letter: "... there’s no doubt that money rather than bracket integrity had a lot to do with this seeding."

Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey prepares for NCAA Regional game against Michigan Tech
Minnesota Duluth forward Blake Biondi (7) skates across center ice during a practice session on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, at Budwieser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

The NCAA hockey committee certainly did a bang-up job of sticking it to the teams in this part of the country.

First of all, putting all three Minnesota teams and the overall No. 1 seed with the No. 6 seed in the same regional is unfair to those teams. St. Cloud State most likely has to plough its way through two of its biggest and toughest in-state rivals to get to the final four.

It doesn’t really matter that much that they’re in different conferences since they played each other twice during the regular season with the outcomes having a significant bearing on national ranking. I thought one of the goals behind holding a national tournament was to pit good teams from different areas of the country against each other.

What happened to that aim?

Another disservice by the committee was handed to the NCHC. Although the conference put only three teams in the tournament, the committee placed two of them in the same region. Both of those, by the way, finished 1 and 2 in the final conference standings. Moreover, the tournament brackets allow for the possibility of all of the other conferences, with the exception of the Atlantic Conference, putting two of its teams in the finals. While Hockey East has only two teams in the tournament, there is the potential for both to make the final game.


Finally, there’s no doubt that money rather than bracket integrity had a lot to do with this seeding. What’s confusing, however, is that the Fargo regional was going to do well attendance-wise even without all of the Minnesota teams being there. Perhaps there will be an opportunity in the future for UMD coach Scott Sandelin to explain why the committee set the brackets this way since he was a member. In the meantime, from this fan’s standpoint the committee did a lousy job.

Mike Lucci


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