Plans have been announced for December’s inaugural Holiday Face-Off at Fiserv Forum, bringing a men’s college hockey tournament to the home of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.
Details were announced Tuesday for the first Holiday Face-Off. Produced by New Jersey-based sports marketing firm Gazelle Group, the tournament will run from December 28-29. Along with the University of Wisconsin, the programs participating in the inaugural event include Clarkson, Arizona State University, and UConn, with first-round matchups to be revealed at a later date.
The inaugural Holiday Face-Off will mark the first hockey event at Fiserv Forum, the downtown Milwaukee venue that opened for the Bucks in 2018 and is designed to support an ice sheet. In serving as the first hockey event at the venue, the Holiday Face-Off could ultimately prove to be an important precursor to Fiserv Forum bidding on an NCAA men’s Division I Frozen Four in the future. More from the Wisconsin State Journal:
The inaugural event, scheduled for Dec. 28-29, was formally unveiled at Fiserv Forum on Tuesday, with arena and Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin calling it the beginning of the road map of bidding on a Frozen Four.
The Badgers will be joined by Arizona State, Clarkson and UConn in the first year of a tournament that has a three-year contract with UW. That contract calls for the Badgers to get paid $20,000 per year….
It’s not exactly the Badger Hockey Showdown, which was for a while a major box-office success in a 14-year run at the Bradley Center that ended in 2002. But organizers are hoping to get back to that era with the tournament.
“We’ve been trying to put this together for a while,” Feigin said. “And, of course, having the Badgers involved is just another real boost for us to create something that has real substance.”
Fiserv Forum reportedly did not submit a bid this year to host a Frozen Four during the period between 2023 and 2026, though Milwaukee could add to its history of hosting the event if the venue lands a game in the future. Three previous Frozen Fours were held in Milwaukee, including 1993, 1997 and 2006–all played at the since demolished Bradley Center.
Top image courtesy Milwaukee Bucks.