The top 16 teams in the American Collegiate Hockey Association will descend on Newark next weekend for the Men’s Division I National Championship.
Teams in the club tournament include Penn State, Rutgers, Arizona State and the University of Oklahoma. The University of Delaware’s men’s hockey team is the fifth seed in the tournament. “This is an extremely competitive collegiate tournament and championship,” says Delaware Sports Commission executive director Matthew Sparks. “Fans should expect some very high level hockey. We’re excited to bring that to the region.”
Bringing big sports events like the hockey tournament to the First State is part of why the Commission was created in 2009. The group was also responsible for bringing 800 wrestlers to Delaware in December for the Beast of the East tournament. Sparks says winning the bid to bring the hockey tournament to Newark was a coordinated effort. “We came to the table, we facilitated and brought together additional local stakeholders such as hoteliers, local businesses, and a few others, and put together a proposal for the University of Delaware and the Fred Rust and Gold Ice Arenas to host the championships,” Sparks says.
With all the players, coaches, and fans, the club hockey championship is expected to generate more than $500,000 for the state economy. State tourism leaders hope those making their first visits to Delaware for the tournament next weekend will decide to return. “When they come to visit for the hockey championship, they’re going to see what we have to offer. We’re confident that once they experience it for the first time, they’ll be back,” Sparks says.
The first round of the single game elimination tournament starts Saturday March 5 at 10:30 AM. Delaware’s first game is against Robert Morris at 7 PM on Saturday night. The championship will be held Wednesday night, March 9. Tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com. A full tournament bracket is also available online at achahockey.org.