Who are the Frozen Four? Exploring the history of NCAA D1's prized ice hockey championship

Boston University Terriers v Boston College Eagles
Boston University Terriers v Boston College Eagles

The Frozen Four refers to the final two rounds of the NCAA Division I men's ice hockey tournament, consisting of the national semifinals and championship games. It is considered one of the most exciting events in college hockey.

The tournament begins with 16 teams selected by a committee who compete in regional brackets. The four regional winners advance to the Frozen Four to determine the national champion.

The championship was first held in 1948 with Michigan defeating Dartmouth in the final. For the first 10 years, it was held in Colorado Springs before moving to different cities each year. Locations like Boston, Minneapolis, Denver and Syracuse have hosted multiple times.

In the early years, Michigan dominated under coach Vic Heyliger, winning six of the first nine titles. No other school has won more than five championships. Boston College and Denver have been the top programs, each winning four titles since 2000.

The event was called the NCAA hockey tournament until 1999 when it adopted the Frozen Four name. It has become one of the most attended college sports events, drawing in thousands of fans who journey to the city where it takes place.

After the championship game, the NCAA names the Most Outstanding Player for the tournament. An All-Tournament team of six players is also selected.

The Frozen Four showcases future NHL stars and top amateur talent.

2024 NCAA Frozen Four schedule and contenders

The Frozen Four of the 2024 NCAA DI men's ice hockey tournament will be played at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 11 and 13.

Three, out of the four ranked teams, including Boston College, Boston University and Denver advanced from the No. 1 seeds while Michigan is from the fourth top seed.

Nine-time champion Denver secured consecutive victories of 2-1 against UMass (in overtime) and Cornell to propel to the semis. Denver last won the title in 2022.

Meanwhile, Boston University, who won five titles, held off Minnesota State 6-3 behind a virtuoso performance from Hobey Baker candidate Willy Sherman. BU last won the title in 2009.

Boston College edged past Quinnipiac 5-4 in a thrilling overtime regional final. BC has five titles to its name and last won in 2012.

Rounding out the field is Michigan, who defeated in-state foe Michigan State 5-2 to keep its championship hopes alive. It has won nine times with 1998 being the last.

The national semifinals will occur on April 11, with Denver facing Boston University at 5 p.m. ET and Boston College taking on Michigan at 8:30 p.m. ET. The winners will skate for the national championship on April 13 at 6 p.m. ET. All games will be televised on ESPN2 and streamed on ESPN+.

Edited by Piyush Bisht
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