by Amy Moritz
My Google search was getting me nowhere so I did what we do in this social media age; I posed my my question on Twitter.
Where could I find the Women's Frozen Four on television?
The answer: It won't be on TV but it will be live streaming on NCAA.com.
Wait, you're not doing cartwheels over this news? Funny. Neither am I.
Fellow media types in Minnesota pointed me to the scenario last year when the Big Ten Network wanted to broadcast the national championship but couldn't reach an agreement with the NCAA.
Here is my understanding: Turner (which owns, among other outlets, CBS) has the broadcast rights to all NCAA championships unless they are specifically purchased by another media company. (See, for example, the men's hockey, women's basketball, softball and baseball tournaments on ESPN.) So if someone wanted to come in and broadcast the Women's Frozen Four, they would have to buy the rights for that tournament from Turner which, according to an article last year in the Star-Tribune, would be "tens of thousands of dollars."
I don't know the nuances of the Turner contract with the NCAA, but on its face I can see the value in having all of your championships, including today's Division III women's hockey semifinals, available via web streaming.
However, also on face value, it seems like a no-brainer to want your Division I women's hockey showcase event on national television during an Olympic year. It was just last month when we watched another epic battle between Canada and the United States. It was just a month ago when future student-athletes watched that matchup and were inspired to take their game to the next level. It was just a month ago when the sport of women's hockey won over new fans. It was just a month ago when discussions about growing the game, both in North American and abroad, were exciting and full of potential.
In the wake of all that, not having the Women's Frozen Four on television is deflating. And after ESPN announced yesterday unprecedented coverage of all rounds of the men's hockey tournament, it's a bit demeaning. It's a missed opportunity.
It's a missed chance for Western New Yorkers to catch local talent with Mercyhurst making its second straight trip to the Women's Frozen Four.
East Aurora native and sophomore forward Emily Janiga has 15 goals on the season while Kaleigh Chippy, a former player at Niagara before the school dropped the program, has 17 goals.
The Lakers, coached by Buffalo native and Canisius graduate Michael Sisti, are 24-8-4 and meet Clarkson in the semifinal at 8 p.m. at TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn. Minnesota and Wisconsin meet in the 5 p.m. semifinal with the national championship game at 3 p.m. on Sunday.