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Springfield will play host to a Division 1 men’s regional hockey final on March 28 and March 30, an event that comes with a degree of risk, but also presents a great opportunity to showcase the region and show that it can host more events like this.

Landing the D1 hockey regional has been a collaborative effort between UMass Amherst and American International College, two local schools with surging hockey programs (UMass won a national title in 2021) and the MassMutual Center, now managed by MGM Springfield. Individually and collectively, these entities saw an opportunity and essentially said, in unison, ‘why not Springfield?’

Why not, indeed? The city has hosted collegiate sporting events before — a D1 basketball regional back in the ’70s, when that tournament was on an exponentially smaller scale than it is now, and, more recently, D2 basketball. It has also staged the old Tip Off Classic for D1 basketball and its current-day counterpart, the Hall of Fame Classic.

Meanwhile, with the emergence of the UMass Amherst and AIC hockey squads, as well as the unqualified success of the Springfield Thunderbirds, the 413 has become a hockey hotbed of sorts — at least as much as, if not more than, Providence, Worcester, Bridgeport, and other cities in New England that have hosted D1 hockey regionals.

And for UMass Amherst, a regular in the tournament the past several years, the event represents a chance to play in its own backyard rather than traveling across this state or to another state in the Northeast, or even the Midwest to play in a regional. (AIC does not have that same opportunity because it plays its home games at the MassMutual Center.)

All of these contributing factors make it simple common sense to bring a regional to Springfield, and now that one is coming, we’ll have a chance to see whether the area will support such an event and what kind of impact it will make.

Expectations are certainly high, but there is risk, especially when it comes to which teams might land here for the games in late March. While the D1 standings are crowded with good teams from the Northeast, one recent projection for the Springfield regional has UMass, Boston University, Cornell, and Denver coming to Springfield. BU and UMass would be great draws. Cornell is a question mark, and Denver is a much bigger question mark.

But quality hockey is assured, close to 1,000 hotel rooms have been blocked off, and thousands of tickets have already been sold, so this has the makings of a great addition to the region’s hospitality landscape, one that brings people to Western Mass. at an otherwise very slow time on the calendar. And already, bids have been submitted for a number of other collegiate sporting events, from hockey and basketball to volleyball and wrestling.

It is our hope — and our expectation — that this will prove to be a risk well worth taking, and the first of many sporting events that will bring more people, more visibility, and more vibrancy to the region.

And as the saying goes — and it applies here — if some is good, more is better.