It’s been about 10 years since the Eastern College Athletic Conference held its men’s hockey championship in Lake Placid. But on Tuesday, they announced they would be back in 2014. Our Cara Thomas tells us about a special bond between ECAC hockey and Lake Placid.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- From 1993 to 2002, the ECAC men's hockey championship was held at the Olympic Arena in Lake Placid. Since then, the championship traveled to Albany and then to Atlantic City.
Ted Blazer, ORDA President and Executive Chief Officer, said, "We did it for ten straight years and I think with like a lot of things, things do change so they moved on for a while."
But officials for the ECAC as well as collegiate hockey coaches say the other venues just weren't the same. The championship didn't attract as many people as they'd hoped and the atmosphere lacked fan enthusiasm.
Clarkson Head Hockey Coach Casey Jones said, "What we're looking for in terms of inside the building right now, in terms of draw and in terms of getting the excitement with the fans and getting them in the building really for that student athlete experience and for a championship experience."
And it's for this very reason that the ECAC and the Olympic Regional Development Authority have struck a deal. Beginning in 2014, the championships will be returning to Lake Placid's Olympic Arena.
"This arena is certainly a great size for them it's just around 7,000 or so when you fill that up, it's just electric inside. So it's a perfect spot for them," said Blazer.
The agreement between the ECAC and the Olympic Regional Development authority says the championship will be held here in Lake Placid for three years. But organizers say they hope this arena will be called home for years to come.
ECAC Commissioner Steve Hagwell said, "At the end of the day, I just, personally, couldn't get away from that this is the site, this is home. If we want a home, this is home for this league."