The early game in Albany is probably the worst idea ever. (Full Disclosure: I’m a Clarkson Alum) If you’re going to make decision like putting Clarkson in Albany based on attendance, wouldn’t you make that game as accessible as possible? For some reason the scheduling here is different than all of the other brackets, and they put made the 2-3 game the early tilt.
A slight disadvantage for Michigan no doubt as most teams prefer the early game for that bonus rest and to watch the competition, but a huge disadvantage for attendance. Why? Because the local Clarkson fan base is probably at WORK. Heck, so are most of the local Albany fans on a Friday afternoon.
A good start would be to move the start time’s up to 5:30 and 8:30 like the Hockey East and Beanpot and at least give people a chance to show up at the arena after work. A better idea is to start holding regionals in the East at better hockey tourist destinations so people are willing to set aside a few days regardless who is playing. The ECAC tournament attendance in Albany was a generous 5,000 fans (lots of fans that looked like seats) compared to 5,600 for the D-III Semifinals in Lake Placid the same weekend. Last year’s attendance for Clarkson / UMass in Rochester was 3,887. Both Lake Placid, Agganis Arena spring to mind as an ideal locations for a regional. Great arenas that could be filled with a lot of atmosphere, and a lot of things to do for the weekend. I may even toss the Gutterson Fieldhouse into that mess. How about a location in NYC? Give me a reason for the trip regardless of who is playing!