LAKE PLACID - The Eastern College Athletic Conference announced at a press conference Tuesday that it has finalized a three-year agreement with the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) that will bring the annual men's hockey championship tournament to the Olympic Center beginning in March 2014.
The 1980 Rink in Herb Brooks Arena will be the fifth different venue for the tournament and sixth time the men's championship has experienced a location change in the league's history. The championship has previously been conducted at Boston Arena (1962-66), Boston Garden (1967-92), Olympic Center in Lake Placid (1993-2002), Pepsi Arena/Times Union Center in Albany (2003-10) and Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. (2011-2013).
The elite ECAC hockey conference is comprised of 12 of the most prestigious men's ice hockey programs in the nation.
"We are thrilled to partner with ORDA for our men's championship beginning in March 2014," said ECAC Hockey Commissioner Steve Hagwell. "Lake Placid has always been one of the special hockey places in the U.S. The combination of the warm welcome from the surrounding community, aura of the venue and general support will be easily abosorbed by fans and students alike. The location serves as a prime choice for enhancing the overall student-athlete experience."
The 1908 Rink - Herb Brooks Arena, one of three ice surfaces at the Olympic Center, is a 8,500-seat multi-purpose arena. The surface, along with the USA Rink was built for the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Six different ECAC Hockey programs claimed championship titles when the event was previously held in Lake Placid, with Clarkson (1993 and 1999), Cornell (1996 and 1997), Harvard (1994 and 2002) and St. Lawrence (2000 and
2001) earning multiple Whitelaw Cups. Princeton won the school's first-ever title in 1998 and Rensselaer won in 1995.
The arena has been used several times for college hockey championships. It hosted the 1970, 1984 and 1988 men's NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship, commonly referred to as the Frozen Four. The arena also hosted the NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Championship in 2007.
"We in Lake Placid and the Olympic Authority have always remained supportive of the ECAC Hockey, its members athletes, coaches and fans," said Ted Blazer CEO/president ORDA. "With this news of the return we are excited to once again greet the teams alumni and fans back to this unbelievable winter sports and hockey town. We are thrilled with the decision and welcome back the championship."
The Enterprise reported the tournament's venue change to the Olympic Center in Saturday's edition.
"As a destination, it's wonderful that this event is returning to Lake Placid," said Kimberly Rielly, director of communications for the Lake Placid CVB. "It not only occurs at a good time of year, enhancing the winter sports visitation in March, but it also attracts and introduces our destination to a quality, affluent demographic market."