DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire will be the host of the 2002 NCAA Women's Frozen Four on campus at the 6,501-capacity Whittemore Center. The announcement was made today by the NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Committee.
The semifinal games will be played March 22 and the championship contest is scheduled for March 24.
"We are delighted to have been chosen as the 2002 site for the NCAA Women's Hockey Frozen Four," said UNH Athletic Director Marty Scarano. "UNH is one of the nation's "charter institutions" in sponsoring women's ice hockey and has a great tradition. We are justly proud of our hockey teams and the Whittemore Center. This will allow UNH to showcase its fine programs. We are sure the NCAA will find the "Whitt" a fine venue to host this prestigious event."
"The awarding of the 2002 NCAA National Championship to UNH is a very proud moment for our women's ice hockey program," said head women's ice hockey coach Karen Kay. "The tradition we've established, along with the outpouring of support we've received from the Seacoast community, has been instrumental to the success of UNH hockey and has made the Whittemore Center a special place to play for our student-athletes. I know that UNH hockey and the enitre state of New Hampshire will pull together to make this championship one that the NCAA will be very proud of."
It will mark the second year that the NCAA administers a championship for women's ice hockey. The 2001 Women's Frozen Four will be held March 23 and March 25 at the University of Minnesota's Mariucci Arena.
"The University of New Hampshire has a great history and tradition in women's ice hockey, and the community is passionate about the sport at all levels," said Carolyn Campbell-McGovern, Chairperson of the NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Committee. "The committee is excited about bringing the championship to the East, and we know UNH will do a terrific job as the host institution."
UNH has been the host of NCAA championship events in other sports, including the Division I-AA football tournament games at its own Cowell Stadium in 1991 and 1994.
The Whittemore Center played host to the ECAC women's hockey Championships in 1996 - the building's opening season - when the Wildcats defeated Providence College in the longest game in NCAA history. Brandy Fisher, who was named the winner of the 1998 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, scored in the fifth overtime to end the game with a win for the Wildcats.
New Hampshire owns the fourth-highest women's hockey attendance in in the nation for the 2000-01 season. That number, however, does not include the 1,871 fans - the largest crowd ever for a women's hockey game at the Whittemore Center - who witnessed the Feb. 10 exhibition game against the U.S. National Team.
The Whittemore Center is also the home of the UNH men's ice hockey team, which boasts some of the highest attendance figures in the nation. So far in 2001, UNH's cumulative home attendance is 100,667 and only 17,170 fans are needed to set a new all-time season-high. The UNH men's team has enjoyed sellouts in 15 of 16 Whittemore Center contests this season.
Before moving into the Whittemore Center in 1995, New Hampshire was the host of the ECAC Championships at the old Snively Arena as well.
Prior to the NCAA's sponsorship of a national championship, the American Women's College Hockey Alliance (AWCHA) crowned titleists in the 1998, 1999 and 2000 seasons. New Hampshire won the inaugural national championship in 1998 and advanced to the title game in 1999.
Tickets for the 2002 Women's Frozen Four will become available on June 18 and can be obtained by calling TicketMaster at (603) 868-7300. Ticket prices for both sessions are $40 for adults, children and seniors and $20 for UNH students. Prices for single sessions are $20 for adults, children and seniors and $10 for UNH students .