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2014 NCAA Ice Hockey Tournament About To Get Underway in South Philly

(Union College practices on the ice of the Wells Fargo Center prior to taking part in the NCAA ice hockey finals.  Photo by Paul Kurtz)

(Union College practices on the ice of the Wells Fargo Center prior to taking part in the NCAA ice hockey finals. Photo by Paul Kurtz)

Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “March Madness” is giving way to the “Frozen Four.”

The Wells Fargo Center, in South Philadelphia, is hosting this week’s big NCAA championship showdown, which begins tomorrow and ends on Saturday (see related story).

The national media are rolling into town to shine a bright light on North Dakota, Minnesota, Boston College, and tiny Union College — the four teams still alive in this year’s tournament.

It’s quite a coup for Philadelphia to be awarded host city status, and it wasn’t an easy task to get it.  Ike Richman, spokesman for Comcast-Spectacor, says organizers had to show the NCAA committee that Philly was a hockey town, not simply Flyers Country.

“We brought Penn State and Vermont to two sold-out, neutral-site hockey games over the last two years here at the Wells Fargo Center,” Richman tells KYW Newsradio.  “Philadelphia has 60 Division I college athletes playing ice hockey right now.  Pennsylvania is the fifth-fastest-growing state producing Division I hockey players.”

Richman says they are expecting 15,000 out-of-towners in Philadelphia for the games, and an estimated economic impact of $10 million.

Two games are scheduled on Thursday.   The final round will be on Saturday. Richman says there are still tickets available, but not many.  He’s anticipating a sellout.