It appears that the ECAC Hockey tournament is headed back to Lake Placid in 2014.
The league and the Olympic Regional Development Authority have called a press conference for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Conference Center at Lake Placid Edelweiss Room to announce that the tournament will move back to Lake Placid, starting in 2014. It will be a three-year deal.
Lake Placid had been home to the ECACH tournament from 1993-2002 before it moved to Albany from 2003-2010. Atlantic City, N.J., has hosted the last two years and will host again this season.
Lake Placid beat out Albany, Atlantic City and Providence, R.I., in bids to host the event.
ECACH commissioner Steve Hagwell wasn’t available for comment. Assistant commissioner Ed Krajewski declined comment. Jon Lundin, communications director for ORDA, said “We will have a press conference Tuesday at 11 o’clock. We’re going to be announcing a major sporting event coming our way. It involves a winter sport.”
The tournament moved to Lake Placid after being in Boston from 1962 to 1992. In the 10 years in Lake Placid, the tournament averaged 14,126 fans. The best-attended year was 1999, when 17,836 fans came to the three-day event, which had the final-five format at the time. That year also drew the most for the final. A total of 8,469 fans saw Clarkson beat St. Lawrence, 3-2, in the championship game.
Times Union Center general manager Bob Belber said he had not heard from the league about the situation. In April, Belber held a press conference to announce that the TU Center was going to bid to bring the tournament back to Albany, and had a major sponsor in CDPHP.
“We’re still hopeful that, potentially, we’ll be picked,” Belber said. “If we’re not going to be picked, then it would, obviously, be disappointing.”
The 2003 tournament, the first one in Albany, attracted 15,232 for the four games, including 8,296 for Cornell’s 3-2 overtime victory over Harvard.
The best-attended year was 2005, when 16,217 fans showed up. The championship game, once again featuring Cornell and Harvard, drew 8,637, the most ever for the final during the tournament’s run in Albany.
But attendance started to decline after that. The low point was 2009, when the tournament had just 9,107 fans. The championship game between Yale and Cornell attracted 5,074 fans.
Thanks to Union’s appearance in the final ECACH tournament at the TU Center in 2010, attendance increased. The Dutchmen’s 3-0 loss to Cornell in the final had 6,505 fans in the building. The two-day total attendance was 12,208.
The ECACH’s final four has been in Atlantic City since 2011. Attendance has not been good in the first two years of the three-year deal.
This season’s attendance at Boardwalk Hall was announced at 7,593, including 4,131 for Union’s 3-1 win over Harvard in the champ-ionship game. Those numbers were down slightly from last year, when the Cornell-Yale championship game attendance was 4,126, and the two-day total was 7,677.
Also, there was no television coverage of the tournament. The only way fans who didn’t attend the game could watch was on the Internet.