The City of Buffalo and KeyBank Center will host the 2019 Men's Frozen Four and the 2022 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball first and second rounds, the NCAA announced on Tuesday. Canisius College, along with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Niagara University, will once again serve as the host groups for the two championship events.
The 2019 Frozen Four will mark the second time Buffalo has served as the host city for the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship. Buffalo last hosted the Frozen Four in 2003. The Frozen Four features three games: two national semifinal games on Thursday, and the national championship game two days later. The Frozen Four has been played in New York 10 times since the event started in 1948.
A little more than a month after hosting the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship first and second rounds in KeyBank Center, Buffalo also learned it will host the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Games will be played March 17 and 19, 2022. The return of the men's basketball tournament will mark the seventh time since 2000 where the city's downtown arena has hosted the NCAA's premier basketball championship tournament. In addition to the 2017 tournament, Buffalo has served as a host city for the basketball championship in 2000, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2014.
"The MAAC membership and staff are very excited to again host the Frozen Four in Buffalo, which is rapidly becoming the center for amateur ice hockey in the northeast," MAAC Commissioner Richard J. Ensor said. "I want to single-out the Buffalo Sabres and Pegula Sports and Entertainment for their commitment to the bidding process. The return of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament to Buffalo is equally as exciting. The MAAC looks forward to working with our co-hosts Canisius and Niagara to present these premier championships that will again showcase the City of Buffalo as a great destination site for NCAA Championships."
"This is a very important day for Buffalo sports," said Russ Brandon, managing partner and president of Pegula Sports and Entertainment. "It has been our mission, under the direction of Terry and Kim Pegula, to continually advance Buffalo's standing as a destination for major sporting events that have a tremendous effect on our community. The Frozen Four, coming on the heels of the NHL Draft, NHL Combine and World Juniors, is another premier event that will showcase our city as the leading hockey market it has become. The NCAA has also recognized Buffalo as one of the best sites for early March Madness games, which is continually proven by our top attendance numbers. Our community deserves opportunities to host events like these, and we are ready to put them on in a first-class fashion."
"Buffalo's selection as the host of the 2019 Frozen Four and the 2022 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament is further proof of our destination's growing reputation as a premier city for college and amateur athletic events," Visit Buffalo Niagara and Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission President and CEO Patrick Kaler said. "These events bring thousands of visitors to our area and generate a significant economic impact for our hotels and restaurants during a typically slower time of year. Each tournament we successfully host gives us more momentum to land additional first-rate athletic events in the future. I commend everyone who was involved in bringing these tournaments to our resurgent destination in the coming years."
"This is an exciting day, not only for the City of Buffalo, but for Canisius, the MAAC and Niagara," Canisius Director of Athletics Bill Maher said. "Hosting NCAA championship tournaments of this magnitude, which shine the national spotlight on our region, is a source of tremendous pride. This area has embraced NCAA events each time we have hosted. That pattern of success is a key factor in the NCAA's continued willingness to have Buffalo serve as a host city for its marquee championship events."
"Western New York has proven on multiple occasions that it is an ideal host location for elite sporting competitions," Niagara Director of Athletics Simon Gray said. "Having the Frozen Four and NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament returning to this region is a testament to the incredible fan base in this area. Niagara is proud to partner with the MAAC and Canisius on hosting two of the most exciting NCAA events."
In addition to the 2019 Frozen Four and 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament's first and second rounds, Buffalo has been awarded the 2020 Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championships. The event will take place March 27-28, 2020, at HarborCenter and will be hosted by Buffalo State and SUNYAC.