Probably a significant portion of the US population was watching the NCAA men’s basketball championship last night. I didn’t but my NCAA championship is also this week — the Frozen Four.
NCAA hockey flies way under the radar in most of the country. Yet the Frozen Four comes amidst the best time of year for hockey fans. The conference and regional tournaments leading up to it have taken place over the last several weeks. The NHL playoffs start Wednesday night. The Stampede start the playoff quest for their second straight USHL Clark Cup Championship with home games Wednesday and Friday. Unfortunately, I will be en route to and in Denver so will miss those games. I’m hopeful, though, that some of the NHL playoffs will be available on TV at the hotel, especially since the Minnesota Wild are playing the Colorado Avalanche.
Playoff hockey is often touted because of the increased intensity of the play. But there’s one other thing, at least locally and at the college level, that makes it far different from the regular season. The real (diehard, if you prefer) fans are the ones showing up for the games, creating an entirely different atmosphere than the regular season.
I hope those who are into it enjoyed tonight’s basketball game. I’m still too busy looking forward to true hockey excitement.
It was the excitement of speed and grace, with the puck for catalyst, to give it reason, meaning.
William Faulkner, An Innocent at Rinkside