The University of Maine has put a bid in to host a NCAA men's ice hockey regional for three years at the Cross Insurance Arena.  The bid is to host one of the East or Northeast Regional in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

The Black Bears submitted the bid for the four team regional to be hosted in the southern part of the state in Portland, where the team had played in  and hosted the Icebreaker Tournament this past October.

“We just think that this is a great opportunity for the University of Maine and our athletic department to bring statewide value to Portland and the whole region by submitting a bid like this,” said Seth Woodcock, the Associate Athletic Director for Development.  “We feel like that’s a big part of our responsibility to drive the economic engine of the state and do our part through athletics to bring great events to Maine.”

UMaine will be playing three home games in Portland this season, which has drawn some criticism from Central Maine fans.  Woodcock insisted that this bid was not a shift of interest to Southern Maine, but more of an opportunity that Portland allowed them in this situation.

“First of all, we’ve always believed that we’re all of Maine’s team.  We’re the only Division I institution in Maine.  If there was an arena that could hold 6,000 fans up in Aroostook County then we’d play hockey games up there too,” said Woodcock.

In 2017, Manchester, NH and Providence, RI will be hosting a region in the NCAA tournament in New England, while Cincinnati, OH and Fargo, ND will also host the other side.

The state has not hosted a NCAA playoff game since the format made the switch to regional hosts in 1992.  The Cross Insurance Arena will be the home for the America East women's basketball tournament for the next two seasons.

The news was first reported by WCSH-TV out of Portland.