Ferris State Hockey "Frozen Four" Notebook

Ferris State Hockey "Frozen Four" Notebook

FSU Press Conference Quotes (PDF)
FSU Practice & Media Photo Gallery

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team has arrived in Tampa and the Bulldogs continued preparations with an open skate on Wednesday for their NCAA Frozen Four matchup versus Union at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Bulldogs will square off against the Dutchmen in the first national semifinal on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. (ET).  Boston College and Minnesota will meet in the second semifinal at 8 p.m. (ET) with the winners advancing to Saturday's national championship game.

Below are some notes from the Bulldogs' NCAA Frozen Four trip:

Tampa Arrival - The Bulldogs departed from FSU's Ewigleben Sports Complex on Tuesday morning and flew out of Grand Rapids' Gerald R. Ford Airport early afternoon on a charter plane.  FSU landed in Tampa and was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd including a reggae band and youth hockey players in a special "Red Carpet Arrival" put on by the Tampa Local Organizing Committee. 

Evening Notebook - After a stop to unload equipment and check out the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Bulldogs checked into their official hotel, the Hyatt Regency, in downtown Tampa shortly after 6 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday.  They had a team meal at a popular local Italian restaurant.

Team Practices - All four teams hit the ice for one hour each on Wednesday in an open stake.  The Bulldogs had the first practice session of the four teams and were on the ice for the full hour in preparation for Thursday's first-ever Frozen Four appearance.  The practice was open to the public and a good number of Bulldog fans were on hand.

Special Award - A special announcement was made on Wednesday morning via a press release as Ferris State hockey head coach Bob Daniels was tabbed as the Spencer Penrose Award recipient as national coach of the year for the second time.  He will officially receive the award later this month at the national convention in Naples, Fla.

Interview Day - Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels and several players spent time conducting interviews on Wednesday prior to and after practice.  Several media outlets, including ESPN, Westwood One Radio and NCAA.com recorded or taped pieces with Bulldog players.  Four others did on-camera interviews with Big Screen Networks with a large number of media outlets requesting one-on-one interviews.  Additionally, three seniors were featured along with Coach Daniels in the post-practice news conference, including Chad Billins, Jordie Johnston and goaltender Taylor Nelson.

Frozen Four Faceoff Show - Bulldog Hockey will be featured on the "Frozen Four Faceoff" talk show on Grand Rapids' WBBL radio on Wednesday evening from 6-7:30 p.m. (ET).  The Bulldog radio team of Dominic Hennig and Dan Kowalski along with Rob Bentley will host the show live from the "Howl At The Moon" restaurant in downtown Tampa.  Fans will have the opportunity to call-in and talk Bulldog Hockey.  It will also be streamed live at www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com. Wednesday's show will lead up to the Detroit Red Wings broadcast as part of "Hockey Night on WBBL" and is funded by the University Advancement and Marketing Department at Ferris State. 

Special Highlight - One of the day's highlights for several Bulldog fans and staff was seeing ESPN commentators Gary Thorne and Barry Melrose.  The duo will call the action for the television broadcast of the Frozen Four.  They sat down for a chat during Thursday's interview time slot with FSU head coach Bob Daniels along with a small group of players.  Melrose will be a special guest on the "Frozen Four Faceoff" show on Wednesday night on WBBL at approximately 7:20 p.m. (ET).

Greeted By Nelson - Upon arriving at the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the first time on Tuesday, the Bulldog team was greeted by a large photo of senior goaltender Taylor Nelson hanging on the outside of the facility.  Nelson received a nice round of applause from fellow players on the team bus.  Others noted the image was so large it would have to hang off the city water tower in Big Rapids.  One player from each team was featured on the outside display images.

Special Pregame Show - On Thursday, the "Voice of the Bulldogs" Sunny 97.3 FM will air a live 90-minute pregame show beginning at 3 p.m. (ET) leading up to the 4:30 p.m. puck drop.  Additionally, two network affiliates have been added to the Bulldog Sports Network for the Frozen Four as WJML Radio (1110 AM) in Petoskey and WJNL Radio (1210 AM) in Traverse City will carry all the pregame, play-by-play and postgame action from Tampa along with flagship station Sunny 97.3 in Big Rapids.

Thursday Schedule - The Bulldogs will be back on the ice for their typical pregame skate early Thursday morning before returning to the rink to begin warmups on Thursday afternoon.  The Thursday practice sessions are closed to the media and public.

Red Carpet Arrivals - The NCAA and the Tampa Bay local organizing committee will host "Red Carpet Arrivals" at the XO VIP Entrance of the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the four teams as they enter the facility.  Teams will be dropped off in the valet circle lcoated off of Channelside Drive.  "Red Carpet Arrivals" will take place for both semifinal games and the national championship game.  The Bulldogs are expected to arrive on Thursday for their "Red Carpet Arrival" around 2:15 p.m. (ET).  FSU's pep band is expected to participate and support the team during the event.

FSU Alumni Reception - The Ferris State University Alumni Association, in conjunction with the Bulldog hockey team's historic trip to play in the Frozen Four, will host a pre-game reception in Tampa on Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m. (ET). The event will be hosted at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel located at 700 South Florida Avenue in Tampa. The gathering is an opportunity for Ferris alumni, emeriti, faculty, staff, fans and families of the student-athletes to come together for fellowship in a celebration of the achievement of the hockey team as it prepares for competition at the Frozen Four for the first time in program history. The alumni event includes beverages, a cash bar, free food, door prizes and special greetings from Ferris officials. All event guests receive a free rally towel or fan sign for the games.

Frozen Fest - Frozen Fest, located on the Tampa Bay Times Forum's West Plaza, will take place on Thursday and Saturday leading up to the opening faceoff.  Fans of all ages can check out interactive games and activities, purchase official NCAA Men's Frozen Four merchandise and take home giveaways from NCAA Corporate Champions and partners like Allstate, Buick, Capital One and Coca-Cola.  This fun-filled event features Tampa talent, including local bands and food and drink from the area as well as appearances from beloved hockey personalities.  It runs Thursday from 1-4:30 p.m. (ET) and on Saturday from 1-7 p.m. (ET).

Live Radio Broadcast - Hennig and Kowalski will team up to call the live action of the Bulldogs' Frozen Four appearance Thursday on the Bulldog Sports Network and locally on Sunny 97.3 FM.  Pregame coverage starts at 3 p.m. (ET) with opening faceoff beginning at 4:30 p.m. (ET) in Tampa.  It can also be heard online at www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com
Big Rapids Watch - Bulldog fans not able to make the trip to Tampa are encouraged to visit either Buffalo Wild Wings or The Gate in Big Rapids for live watch parties.  Both establishments will carry the ESPNU live television broadcast with The Gate also providing the official Bulldog radio broadcast.

Watch The Game Live - Ferris State's Frozen Four game will be televised live throughout the ESPN Syndication networks beginning at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU and ESPN3.com.  Thorne and Melrose will team up to call the action with Clay Matvick serving as the rink reporter.

Three Fan Buses - Three Ferris State fan buses departed campus on Wednesday morning for the approximate 22-hour drive to Tampa and are expected to arrive on Thursday morning.  FSU is expected to have more than 500 fans on hand at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.