TAMPA, FLA. – Like any Minnesotan who escaped the winter of seemingly never-ending snow to take in the sunny weather in the Tampa Bay area for the NCAA men's Frozen Four, Tom McGinnis got a firsthand look at one of the most popular destinations for college hockey's premier event.
McGinnis, a Gophers senior associate athletic director who oversees hockey, is hopeful the University of Minnesota and St. Paul will put on just as good of a show for next year's men's Frozen Four at Xcel Energy Center.
"We got to meet with the NCAA [Friday] morning, the [hockey] committee and the folks here in Tampa," McGinnis said. "Obviously, we want to continue to build upon the championship. We provided a great experience in 2018 when we had those four teams. The championship continues to evolve, and we want to make sure we're always providing a great experience for the student-athletes.
"It's always great when we can bring college hockey to the State of Hockey."
Next year will mark the fourth time that the Frozen Four visits the home of the Wild. The Gophers won the first title at the X in 2002, and Minnesota Duluth followed in 2011 and 2018. The 2018 field featured Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State of the Big Ten, but the Bulldogs emerged with the trophy.
The Frozen Four has been scheduled through the 2026 season, with St. Louis serving as host in 2025 and Las Vegas, for the first time, in 2026.
McGinnis said the Gophers definitely will be seeking future Frozen Fours, on both the men's and women's side.
"This is a championship that should be in Minnesota as often as we can have it," he said. "We understand the importance of rotating it around. Obviously, Boston has a strong tradition, and everyone loves being in Tampa."
A wise choice
Gophers freshman Logan Cooley was one of the three Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick finalists along with teammate Matthew Knies and award recipient Adam Fantilli of Michigan. Cooley ranks second in the nation in scoring, but there was a time when he wanted to give goaltending a try — briefly.
Logan's mom, Cathy, told the story during Friday's Hobey ceremony in which an uncle gave Logan goalie equipment to try. How'd it go?
"He got lit up like a Christmas tree," Cathy said.
Logan went back to playing forward, and that choice has panned out OK.
Gophers coach Bob Motzko tasked associate head coach Steve Miller to analyze video and develop a game plan against Quinnipiac. Miller hit the ground running Friday morning.
"He came over this morning and just said, 'I'm out of here,' " said Motzko, who hired Miller away from Ohio State last offseason. "He gets his own room and doesn't stay with his family. He's a machine. He's working his tail off. And these guys know it."
Miller helped Denver win back-to-back NCAA titles in 2004 and '05 and assisted Providence in its 2015 championship run. In 2018, he was a first-year Ohio State assistant when the Buckeyes advanced to the Frozen Four.
"He's as good as they come in the business," said Motzko, who previously coached with Miller at Miami (Ohio). "He's also a good-luck charm."