INAUGURAL HOLIDAY FACE-OFF
COLLEGE HOCKEY TOURNAMENT
TO BE HELD AT FISERV FORUM IN DECEMBER
TOURNAMENT TO FEATURE
WISCONSIN, CLARKSON, ARIZONA STATE, AND UCONN
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - The Gazelle Group is pleased to announce that the inaugural Holiday Face-Off college hockey tournament will be held at Fiserv Forum, home of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.
The field for the event, which will be played from December 28-29, 2020, consists of Wisconsin, No. 7/8 Clarkson, No. 13/13 Arizona State, and UConn. Semifinal play will take place on Monday, December 28 with the Championship game and third-place game on Tuesday, December 29. Matchups will be announced at a later date.
General public tickets for the Holiday Face-Off will go on sale at 11:00am (CT) on March 5 with single-day and tournament packages available. For additional information, follow the Holiday Face-Off on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@holidayfaceoff).
"We are excited to begin what we believe will be the top national men’s college ice hockey tournament in the country," says Rick Giles, president of the Gazelle Group. "For us to be able to attract four of the most distinguished programs in the nation shows that these programs want to compete against the very best and we plan on continuing to bring together the best teams in college hockey to play at one of the finest venues in the country, Fiserv Forum."
"We are proud to bring major college hockey to Fiserv Forum as we continue to offer a diverse list of events at the arena," said Fiserv Forum and Bucks President Peter Feigin. "Milwaukee has a rich history of college hockey tournaments, and we look forward to continuing the tradition by hosting the Holiday Face-Off at Fiserv Forum."
College hockey in Milwaukee has a rich history. The city has hosted the NCAA men’s Frozen Four on three occasions - 1993, 1997, and 2006. In 2006, Wisconsin won its most recent National Championship on the Bradley Center ice.
In addition, from 1989-2003, Wisconsin hosted the Badger Hockey Showdown at the Bradley Center, averaging over 26,000 fans a year during that span.
Wisconsin (Head Coach: Tony Granato, Big Ten Conference)
2017 Big Ten Coach of the Year and 2018 U.S. Olympic Team coach Tony Granato is in his fourth season as head coach of his alma mater...the Badgers have won six national championships and feature the top-rated freshman class in the country, highlighted by Alex Turcotte (drafted 5th by Los Angeles), leading freshman goal scorer in the country Cole Caufield (15th by Montreal), Ryder Donovan (110th by Vegas), Owen Lindmark (137th by Florida), and Dylan Holloway (Canadian Junior Hockey League Player of the Year)...in addition, Wisconsin's defense boasts five NHL draftees, led by first round Rangers' pick K'Andre Miller...the Badgers are the second youngest team in the country and play the fourth most difficult schedule in the country...the Badgers have drawn over 10 million fans to their home games since 1963.
Clarkson (Head Coach: Casey Jones, ECAC Hockey)
Casey Jones has been the head coach at Clarkson for nine seasons and has guided the Golden Knights to nearly 170 wins in that time period...this season, he has Clarkson ranked No. 7/No. 8 (USCHO/USA Today, USA Hockey Magazine) in the polls with 23 wins and in second place in the ECAC...the 23 wins mark the third straight season Clarkson has reached the 20-win plateau...the Knights sport the nation's fourth-best special teams units (57.5%), including the second-best penalty kill (90.3%)...eight of Clarkson's top 10 scorers are underclassmen, led by Josh Dunne, Zach Tsekos, Connor McCarthy, Jack Jacome, Brian Hurley, Mathieu Gosselin, Anthony Romano, and Adam Tisdale.
Arizona State (Head Coach: Greg Powers, Independent)
In just its fifth season as a Division I program, Arizona State has emerged as a national contender under the guidance of head coach Greg Powers, a finalist for National Coach of the Year honors a year ago when ASU became the fastest start-up program to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament...the Sun Devils won their school-record 22nd game of the season on February 15 and are ranked No. 13/No. 13 (USCHO/USA Today, USA Hockey Magazine) in the national polls...three of the top four ASU scorers are expected back next season - James Sanchez, Johnny Walker, and Josh Maniscalco - as well as starting keeper Evan DeBrouwer...a year ago the Sun Devils posted 21 wins.
UConn (Head Coach: Mike Cavanaugh, Hockey East)
Mike Cavanaugh has been the head coach at UConn for seven seasons, guiding the Huskies through their transition to Hockey East...UConn finished the regular season with 26 points in the Hockey East standings, its highest point total since joining the league...featuring one of the youngest rosters in the country, of UConn’s top 13 scorers, nine are either freshmen or sophomores, led by freshman Vladislav Firstov, who ranks among the top rookies nationally in scoring and the top 10 nationally in freshman goal scoring...classmate Yan Kuznetsov joins his fellow Russian countryman among that group, as do sophomores Ruslan Ishakov, Jachym Kondelik, Carter Turnbull, Jonny Evans, Kale Howarth, and Marc Gatcomb...in the Huskies' net is sophomore Tomas Vomacka.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato:
"Wisconsin hockey has great history in Milwaukee from the Badger Hockey Showdown and the NCAA championships at the Bradley Center. It's been 15 years since we played in the city, so we are extremely excited to return.
"When we were approached to play in the tournament, it was an easy decision. Fiserv Forum is a beautiful building and Milwaukee is a great hockey town so we feel lucky. We’re really looking forward to a great experience for our student-athletes and fans."
Clarkson head coach Casey Jones:
"We are really excited about going into that facility. We've heard nothing but great things about Fiserv Forum. The field that will be there is outstanding. It is an opportunity to play some tremendous non-conference games against Wisconsin, Arizona State, and Connecticut. Our guys love having the chance to compete for tournament championships during the regular season and it gives us the opportunity to get an assimilated postseason setup. There are a lot of things we can look forward to at the Holiday Face-Off. We are ecstatic to be heading out to Milwaukee next December."
Arizona State head coach Greg Powers:
"We are very excited to get back to the great State of Wisconsin and play in this event at Fiserv Forum. The field of teams is fantastic and we are honored to be a part of it."
UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh:
"We're certainly excited to be participating in the inaugural Holiday Face-Off at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. With that field - Clarkson, Arizona State, Wisconsin - it's as competitive a field as I've seen in a Christmas tournament. We"re really excited and looking forward to the Holiday Face-Off next December."
About the Gazelle Group
The Holiday Face-Off is produced by the Gazelle Group of Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. In addition to the Holiday Face-Off, Gazelle produces numerous nationally-recognized college basketball events, such as the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, the Legends Classic, the Gotham Classic, the Sunshine Slam, and the College Basketball Invitational. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit www.gazellegroup.com.
About Fiserv Forum
Fiserv Forum is a preeminent sports and entertainment arena in downtown Milwaukee that opened on Aug. 26, 2018. Designed by Populous, Eppstein Uhen Architects and HNTB, the venue offers incomparable sightlines, customer service, technology and amenities. Fiserv Forum includes 17,385 seats for basketball, 15,178 for hockey, and up to 18,000 for concerts, with 34 luxury suites and three clubs. The new venue hosts a diverse variety of events, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette University men's basketball, major concerts, family shows and other sports and entertainment events, and has been selected to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. More upcoming events in 2020 include the American Cup, Michael Buble, Blake Shelton and Tame Impala. In addition to Fiserv, Founding Partners for Fiserv Forum include BMO Harris Bank, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Johnson Controls and Miller Brewing Company.
For more information on Fiserv Forum, please visit: fiservforum.com.
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