SJSU Hockey to Host 2011 National Tournament

At their annual banquet on April 30, the San Jose State Ice Hockey Club announced it would be hosting the 2011 American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament. Inside Sparta spoke with Club President Andy Dickerson and General Manager Kristin Appleton about the honor, which could include a final at HP Pavilion.

In the middle of the decade, the San Jose State Ice Hockey Club made three-straight visits to the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament. Now, the nation will be coming to San Jose as it was announced on April 30 that the Spartans will be hosting the 2011 National Tournament. "Hosting the tournament is a giant step forward for our program," Club General Manager Kristin Appleton told Inside Sparta. "It really puts SJSU hockey on the map and increases our team's visibility and credibility. We were thrilled to hear that it was a unanimous decision in our favor!"

It will be only the second time the tournament has visited the West Coast. In 2003 the Tournament was held in Anaheim, Calif., with Colorado taking home the National Title. If things work out well, the final could be held at HP Pavilion. That, however, will depend on the outcome if a huge fund raising drive by the club. "If we raise $50,000, we stand a good chance of having the Championship Game at HP Pavilion," Appleton said. "The tournament will be financed solely by sponsors, so we're really hoping that people and businesses will want to get involved. We will have some great packages available for those interested."

The process for winning the honor to host the tournament began in 2006, when SJSU was the host of the West Region Tournament. The job done by the club during the event was recognized at the Annual Meetings in Naples, Florida. "ACHA Division II Commissioner Mike Radakovich mentioned in his introduction of Andy (Dickerson) in Florida that SJSU had hosted the very successful 2006 Western Regionals," Appleton said. "After that tournament, we received a great amount of positive feedback from visiting teams and fans complimenting the high degree of organization and professionalism of this event."

The old saying, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' shown true again as the club basically revamped the same package presented to win the Regional Tournament. "We put together a fantastic presentation for the attendees of the ACHA Annual Meeting that included both video and PowerPoint presentations of what SJSU could offer the teams coming to the Tournament," Club President Andy Dickerson said. "We garnered support from and interviewed Jon Gustafson, the General Manager of Sharks Ice, San Jose, and Robert LeBarron, the Associate Director of the SJSU Event Center, to show their dedication to the Nationals project and their support of our team serving as tournament host."

The club also received the generous support of the SJSU Club Sports Department, which funded Dickerson's trip to Florida. The club learned a valuable lesson the last time it put in a bid for the tournament. In that effort they only sent video to the annual meeting. No representative made the trek to Florida. They didn't get the bid.

With the eyes of the nation focused on San Jose, the benefits to the team itself include an automatic bid to the tournament. Dickerson views that as an obvious positive in attracting top talent to the team. "Players want to be a part of a team driven to accomplish great things," he said. "In this instance, players who make the team have an automatic opportunity to compete in the National Tournament in the 2010-2011 season, which is something only a select few teams get to do."

It is definitely a collaborative effort not only of the club and school, but of local businesses and agencies, and the ACHA. "We will be working the the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau to set up official host hotels for the tournament," Appleton said. "We will be working with Royal Coach Tours, a sponsor which has been just incredible to us over the years, to arrange transportation for visiting teams. The ACHA will be paying for officials from multiple regions to attend the tournament."

The tournament dates aren't yet announced, but the event will take place sometime in March of 2011. If you'd like to help out you can contact Kristin Appleton via the official SJSU Ice Hockey Website at SJSUHockey.net



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