Hockey Fever Takes Over Springfield: NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament Kicks Off

Springfield local business owners share their thoughts on the NCAA tournament hockey in town

The 2024 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament got underway on Thursday in Springfield, with fans from all over the country flocking to Downtown Springfield. The influx of visitors has been a welcome boost for local businesses, with bars, restaurants, and shops experiencing increased patronage from fans heading to the arena before the start of the games.

As the tournament kicked off, UMass faced off against Denver Pioneers, while Cornell Big Red squared off against University of Maine Black Bears at the MassMutual Center. Before the games began, fans were famished and eager to satisfy their hunger. One UMass fan excitedly shared plans to meet up with friends at MGM before the game started. Bars and restaurants in downtown Springfield welcomed hockey enthusiasts warmly, with signs beckoning fans to come in and enjoy some delicious food and drinks.

One of the most popular spots for hockey fans was Theodore’s Blues, Booze, and Barbeque. Co-owner Keith Makarowski shared that they opened their doors early and were quickly filled with excited patrons looking to get in on the NCAA hockey action. Makarowski sported a University of Maine t-shirt on this particular night, but he explained that it was simply because he happened to have it on hand when their alumni club reached out about an upcoming surge in customers. Despite only being on day one of tournament hockey in Springfield, Makarowski expressed his excitement for continued support from fans as they look forward to welcoming more people throughout the weekend. With two more rounds scheduled for Saturday night, Springfield businesses are ready to provide an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.

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