We Connecticut sports fans thought there would never be another year quite like 2004, when the UConn men, UConn women, Red Sox and Patriots all won titles. But 2013 might be a contender. On Tuesday the UConn women won their eighth NCAA basketball title in a blowout over Louisville.
Today brings the semifinal rounds of the NCAA "Frozen Four" men's hockey tournament in Pittsburgh — and two of the four teams in the tourney are from Connecticut. Indeed, the icemen from Yale and Quinnipiac universities are in different brackets, so if both win today, Saturday's championship will be the War of Whitney Avenue. Who would have thought?
Not for nothing are both schools from Greater New Haven. As The Courant's Dom Amore explains today, New Haven has a long and marvelous hockey tradition: It's the birthplace of modern youth hockey programs, a hotbed of high school hockey, and it was home to some colorful minor league teams over 75 years. When local college hockey got hot, the city embraced it.
And that bodes well for the rest of the state. UConn's hockey team will begin playing in the XL Center in Hartford in 2014, and though it will be in a different conference than Yale and Quinnipiac, the opportunities are there for intrastate rivalries and plenty of exciting games. College hockey is gaining popularity. For once, Connecticut may be the right place at the right time.
Best of luck to coach Keith Allain and his Yale Bulldogs, and coach Rand Pecknold and his Quinnipiac Bobcats. And a note to sportscasters: Quinnipiac is pronounced with the accent on the first syllable, not the third, as a basketball announcer did Tuesday night. After this weekend, that mistake is not likely to be made again.