A regional at the new rink is a cool idea, and might just work. As a B1G college town, and a plausible candidate for a D-1 team, interest in Iowa City might be greater than in the AHL cities that have been previously tried in the West. The neutrality of the site is beyond question, yet it's driveable for most all of the Central Time Zone schools.
If I were representing University of Iowa Athletics though, I might have a different event at the top of my wish list. As I understand it, the Hall of Fame Game is an annual event held early in the season. The purpose is to raise money for the Hall, but I have to believe that the financial demands placed on the host would be far less than a D-1 regional. Similarly, you'd expect ticket prices to be lower than at a regional.
Anyhow, if you could get two teams from the B1G to square off in Iowa City, and market it as an audition for the new rink, you might really have something. And should the audition go well, maybe a regional bid could be the next step.
The participating teams would also have an incentive. Such games are considered non-conference, and don't count against your season total of games.
Disclaimer: OK, Iowa City isn't Vegas. But in the usual year, IIRC, the game is much closer to the D-1 Hockey campuses in the Upper Midwest.
The question is who you're trying to attract. An in-season game is easier to plan for the fans of the participating teams (+) but doesn't have the importance appeal of an NCAA tournament game (-). But if you're trying to target the local fans instead, that changes the equation. In any case, a one game audition sounds like a good idea instead of diving in with a three game tournament level commitment to start. Many less requirements on what needs to be provided, including locker room space and ice time (you just knew I would bring that up, right?).
Since we're talking teams from the B1G, Football would have to be taken into account. You'd probably want a weekend when Hawkeye Football was on the road, for example. But yes, you'd be auditioning the local hockey community as well as the facility. Would local fans be curious about college hockey, in a way that their counterparts from Fort Wayne & Toledo were not? I think there's a decent chance the answer to that is yes.But if you're trying to target the local fans instead, that changes the equation.
Oh yeah.In any case, a one game audition sounds like a good idea instead of diving in with a three game tournament level commitment to start. Many less requirements on what needs to be provided, including locker room space and ice time (you just knew I would bring that up, right?).
But I believe they'd be OK on the locker room space. After all, they're planning on multiple tenants. Without checking, my guess is that Volleyball & Youth Hockey would be wrapped up before a D-1 Hockey regional. So presumably the space would there. For the same reason -- lack of competing events -- I've gotta believe the ice time would also be do doable.
Last & presumably least, it seems almost self-evident that they'd be able to handle a two team event. And again, staging one exhibition game would be a relatively painless way to find out.
Tangential: Evidently, my “combine Frozen Fours” idea has been discussed and dismissed and tabled for later for exactly the reasons you would expect.
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