ShareThis Page

Frozen Four shows off 'hockey city'

| Thursday, April 11, 2013, 12:07 a.m.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Jody Seinert (left) and Dave Cramer of Palmer Products Imaging measure the space above an entrance gate at Consol Energy Center while hanging signs and graphics Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in preparation for the Frozen Four.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Randy Cooper of Medicine Hat, Alberta, stands in front of Consol Energy Center before going to see his son, Carson Cooper, practice with the Yale hockey team Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in preparation for the Frozen Four.
Karin Larson of St. Cloud, Minn., is in town to see St. Cloud State practice for the Frozen Four on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Consol Energy Center.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Dave Cramer of Palmer Products Imaging pulls a tape measure across an entrance gate Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at Consol Energy Center while hanging signs and graphics in preparation for the Frozen Four.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Yale practices Wednesday, April 10, 2013, for the Frozen Four in Consol Energy Center.

Karin Larson feels at home in a sweatshirt, a heavy hockey sweater and a coat.

She lives in St. Cloud, Minn., where a winter storm warning is in effect through Thursday night and up to a foot of snow is forecast.

“I'm not used to this,” Larson, 30, said Wednesday outside Consol Energy Center in a lightweight St. Cloud State University hockey shirt in temperatures hovering around 80 degrees.

St. Cloud State is one of four teams vying for the NCAA Division I men's ice hockey national championship in Pittsburgh. The Frozen Four tournament, which starts Thursday and ends Saturday, also features Quinnipiac University and Yale University, both in Connecticut, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Yale is the only participant to have played in a Frozen Four before, in 1952. It's the first time the tourney's been held in Pittsburgh.

“I think we're as ready as we can be,” said Marty Galosi, senior associate athletic director at Robert Morris University in Moon, the tournament host.

The parking lot across Centre Avenue from the arena will hum with festival-like activity in the hours leading up to the games. Workers erected multiple stages, miniature hockey rinks, tents and other displays Wednesday afternoon.

At Frozen Fest, fans will be able to play interactive hockey games such as “top shot,” in which participants shoot pucks toward targets and win free merchandise at one of the many corporate booths in the lot. Cheerleaders, mascots and pep bands will make appearances. The band No Bad Juju will perform Thursday, and Tres Lads is scheduled to play Saturday.

Galosi expects the tournament to draw up to 15,000 out-of-towners, plus thousands of fans from the region. A limited number of tickets remain, he said. Participating teams returned about 600 tickets they were allotted.

Out-of-town fans — including ones whose teams aren't competing — ambled around the arena, many wearing shorts and T-shirts.

“I'd rather have 34 (degrees) and rainy, but I'm not complaining. From what we've seen so far, this seems like a hockey city to us,” said Jeff “Bratman” Sisak, 52, a meat cutter and sausage maker from suburban Milwaukee who roots for the University of Wisconsin.

Sisak and his wife Linda, 48, have attended about 20 Frozen Fours, including last year's in Tampa.

“It was hot and muggy with palm trees and sandy beaches. I hated it,” Sisak said before asking directions to the nearest Primanti Brothers so he could order the restaurant's signature slaw-and-fry-filled sandwich.

Randy Cooper, 55, of Medicine Hat, Alberta, is rooting for Yale. His son, Carson, is a freshman center for the team.

“It's a long way to come from a small town to Downtown Pittsburgh and the Frozen Four. The city, and this arena, are phenomenal,” Cooper said, noting former Penguins winger Troy Loney, who played on the 1992 and 1993 Stanley Cup teams, is from Bow Island, Alberta.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.