Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City will be the new home of the ECAC Hockey Tournament starting in 2010. While fans of the central New York teams such as Union and Cornell will no doubt be unhappy with the longer travel, the truth is not a ton of those people were coming out to the tournament anyways. The Atlantic City area is a big alumni base for a lot of ECAC schools and, for the first couple years at least, will come out to see their teams play.
The financial package from Atlantic City will make this move worthwhile, and will help the conference and its schools immensely. Bottom line, last year’s championship game got just over 8,000 fans. For comparison’s sake, the WCHA Final Five championship got 19,463 in 2008. Obviously the WCHA is a much different league. They are hockey powers who, regardless of what they say, view academics as a secondary issue. ECAC is a group of smaller schools with an eye towards academics first. That’s just fine, but they still needed to do something to get some attention for the conference. And besides, how cool does the inside of Boardwalk Hall look?