TAMPA (FOX 13) - Tampa Bay Sports Commission executive director Bob Higgins first began lobbying to bring the Frozen Four, the college hockey national championship, back in 2005. As Tampa wraps up its second successful tournament, Higgins says he's still hard at work trying to woo the tournament to come back to the Bay Area for a third time.
"With any luck we'll put our best foot forward in the bid cycle for 2020, 2021 or 2022," said Higgins. "We'd love to have it back here and the whole college hockey community descend on Tampa Bay once again."
Cities across the country are vying to be the site of the 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 Frozen Four Tournaments. The NCAA will announce the winning cities in December.
Tampa first hosted the Frozen Four in 2012 and wowed NCAA officials so much, it was awarded a second tournament in 2016.
"Fans really enjoyed being here last time," NCAA director of champions Kristin Fasbender said before the 2016 national championship. "It is an event. It's not just three hockey games. We've worked really hard over the years to make sure we're fan friendly as well [as player friendly] and that we're bringing it to places that's a destination. I have a feeling tonight we'll see lots of sunburned faces as people spent time at the beach yesterday."
The Frozen Four brings in more than 10,000 college hockey fans from across the country. Officials say in 2012, those fans generated nearly 15,000 hotel visitor room nights and put $10 million dollars into the local economy. Based on the turnout they've seen so far, a similar return on investment is expected for 2016.