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Update: Despite ticket prices, strong contingent expected for hockey regionals

Ken Fowler | Thursday, March 22, 2007

The tickets may be a bit expensive, but No. 1 Notre Dame will have its fair share of a partisan crowd in the first round of the NCAA hockey tournament Friday night in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Notre Dame ticket office has sold approximately 265 three-game passes at $65 apiece for this weekend’s NCAA Regionals, coordinator of athletic promotions Matt McCormack said Thursday.

The promotions office will send three buses to Friday night’s action and, if the Irish win in the first round, Saturday’s game. Seats and meals for students on the bus are free, while the cost for the general public is $25 per person per day, McCormack said.

In 2004 – the last and only time Notre Dame reached the NCAA tournament – three-day passes for the Regionals were $60, and the University offered limited a combined package of a bus seat, a box lunch and a single-game ticket for $65 dollars. The 2004 Regionals were also held in Grand Rapids.

This time, McCormack said the promotions office has filled one bus with 56 fans from the general public, while 50 students have reserved seats for Friday and 70 for Saturday.

Although students can call the promotions office until 4:30 p.m. Thursday to reserve a seat, McCormack said, he believes the flocks of Notre Dame fans expected to make the trip is already greater than it was in 2004.

While most of the contingent of Irish fans heading up to Grand Rapids on the busses has bought the three-day passes, McCormack said fans could also buy single-game tickets through the Van Andel Arena ticket office.

McCormack said the arena and the NCAA set the ticket prices, which Notre Dame couldn’t change. So in an effort to get as much of a home-ice advantage as possible, Notre Dame made the bus fare free for students. McCormack said the cost of each bus would be approximately $1,000 per trip, plus gratuities.

“We won’t even come close to breaking even since there are two busses going up without anybody paying – which is great,” McCormack said. “The main thing is to just get a god contingent … of students, who have been great supporting the team all year.”

The buses will leave from Gate 4 of the Joyce Center at 2 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday, providing the top-seeded Irish win their first contest. McCormack said the busses likely would return after the second game Friday, so fans could watch Notre Dame’s opponent for Saturday’s second round game. But if there is enough demand to return immediately, McCormack said, one bus may return after Notre Dame’s game.

McCormack said Notre Dame initially received 200 tickets from the arena to sell to students and the public, but the promotions office quickly asked for additional passes because of the demand.

For more on this story, read Friday’s Observer.