Oct. 26, 2010

NCAA Release

This is the third in a four part weekly series on the upcoming cities that will host the NCAA Mens Frozen Four. This series will provide an insiders guide to fans attending the championship. We did a question and answer segment with a former student-athlete who reached the Mens Frozen Four and now plays for the NHL team in that city.

October 12 - 2014 - Matt Carle, University of Denver - Philadelphia Flyers
October 19 - 2013 - Brooks Orpik, Boston College - Pittsburgh Penguins
October 26 - 2012 - Martin St. Louis, University of Vermont - Tampa Bay Lightning
November 2 - 2011 - Robbie Earl, University of Wisconsin - Minnesota Wild


MARTIN ST. LOUIS

Martin played four seasons for Vermont, and three times was a Hobey Baker finalist. During his time with the Catamounts, he led them to the Frozen Four in 1996 as they were ousted in the semifinals by Colorado College in double overtime. Despite a college career that included 91 goals, 176 assists and 267 points, he went undrafted. He started his professional career with the Calgary Flames organization before signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2000-01. During his time in Tampa he has been named an NHL All-Star five times, and was named the league MVP in 2004 after leading the Lightning to the Stanley Cup title. Following the 2009-10 season, Martin was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL player judged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.


What are your memories of playing in the Mens Frozen Four?
Its the most important thing when you are playing college hockey - its your Stanley Cup. Its what you work for your entire time in college. The excitement at the Frozen Four is unbelievable and its obviously the highest level of competition and just a great event.

You were very involved in the bid process to bring the Mens Frozen Four to Tampa and remain involved to this day. Why was bringing the Mens Frozen Four to Tampa important for you?
I was a college hockey player and know what a great game it is. At the time Tampa put the bid in (2005), I didnt know if I would still be playing in Tampa or even playing in the NHL at all for that matter. Now its nice to know that I will still be playing here when the Frozen Four comes to town (he is signed with Tampa through 2015). I thought it was important to bring college hockey down South so people around here can see what college hockey is all about. I think its a great destination for college hockey fans as you can turn it into a vacation by going to the beach in-between games. For me, it was a no-brainer.

What are the differences between college hockey fans and NHL fans?

College hockey fans are a lot different from professional hockey fans. I am very interested to see how our fans react to the college game. College football is obviously big down here, and college hockey is almost a small version of that with the bands, the different teams fans and the atmosphere they bring. This is a great building to watch a game, and it can get very loud so I will be excited to see it next year.

What are some things for fans to do when they come to Tampa?
The beaches in Clearwater and St. Petersburg are a half hour away or you have the parks in Orlando that are only an hour away. In Tampa, we have a history museum right by the rink that is really good. Also, the aquarium is very nice and is a great place to visit. For the hockey fan who comes down, there is so much to do it would be well worth coming down a few days early to make a vacation out of it. The Channelside area by the rink is great with shops and restaurants. You can also use the trolleys to get around. I have been here for 10 years and I love Tampa.

What is your favorite restaurant?

Berns Steakhouse is very good and a place I really enjoy.

For those fans who come to Tampa who arent able to get tickets to the game, where would be the best place to watch?
Hattricks is a good sports bar, but to be honest, with three young boys, I dont go out to the bars. I have the occasional beer at home instead.