From: Rocky Mountain News
by Pat Rooney
Five years of planning has come down to the final 100 days.
In a little more than three months, the Frozen Four returns to the state where college hockey crowned its champions in the first 10 years of the sport's existence.
When the puck drops for the first national semifinal April 10 at the Pepsi Center, four of the nation's best college hockey teams will try to forge a triumphant finish to their quests for the crown.
Adding excitement during the stretch run to the Frozen Four is the promising performances of local powers Colorado College and the University of Denver, which is hosting the event alongside the Metro Denver Sports Commission. DU and CC are ranked third and fourth in the nation, respectively, and are among the midseason favorites to reach college hockey's ultimate stage.
If that intrigue isn't enough, Air Force again will contend for an NCAA tournament berth out of the Atlantic Hockey Association, and CC will play host to the West Regional at the World Arena two weeks before the sold-out Frozen Four.
In other words, college hockey fans should be jumping out of their seats all across the Front Range for the next three-plus months. Judging by the atmosphere last year, when AFA nearly pulled off a monumental upset of Minnesota in the West Regional at the Pepsi Center, the intensity and excitement could reach frenetic levels.
"It has been kind of surreal - we got the event five years ago and now it is right around the corner," said Jon Schmieder, executive director of the Metro Denver Sports Commission. "An event like this sells itself, but if we could get a Colorado school in there, that would be gravy. When Air Force scored that first goal against Minnesota, the place was rocking."