Frozen Four brings needed attention to Duluth businesses

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:24 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. -- The NCAA Frozen Four kicked off Friday, bringing in the best in Division 1 Women’s Hockey to Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

Those at Amsoil are not the only ones expecting a busy weekend.

Three years ago, Hoops Brewing had to shut its doors.

“We locked the doors at five o’clock due to state mandate and we stay closed for, I don’t know, pretty close to eight months,” said Dave Hoops, the owner of Hoops Brewing.

The COVID-19 pandemic left Hoops Brewing and other businesses financially struggling.

This year’s unstable weather caused even more obstacles as they try to find financial stability.

“Weekends are kind of what drives us during this time of the year, in spite of the fact that we have to be closed on some weekends, like for last weekend when it just snowed,” said Hoops.

Now, local businesses in Canal Park see a light at the end of the tunnel as attention turns back to them.

“The influx of people is very noticeable,” said Tony Bronson, director of business development at Grandma’s Restaurant Company.

COVID-19 and snowstorms have had a massive negative economic impact on local businesses, but a weekend of Canal Park events is expected to turn that around.

The NCAA Women’s Frozen Four tournament is bringing thousands of people to the area.

Nearby stores are ready to welcome everyone, local and national, to the area for the fourth time ever.

The last time Duluth hosted a Frozen Four was back in 2012.

“We hear a lot of Boston accents in town all of a sudden, cheese folk from Wisconsin are here, folks from Ohio, and then people come back from the cities,” said Bronson.

St. Patrick’s Day and a variety of other DECC events happening that same weekend are bringing an even larger increase to tourism.

“We’re going to have 10,000 people in and out of town here just for those events, in addition to just the locals who are going to be out,” said Bronson.

It’s an impact expected to bring these local shops and restaurants some financial normalcy.

“It’s a big weekend,” said Hoops. “It’s a big day with the holiday, and we are certainly prepared to host 300 to 400 people at a time if we can.”

Tickets are still on sale for the Frozen Four.

As of Friday afternoon, prices were as low as $20.

We reached out to the UMD Athletic Department, the hosts of this year’s Frozen Four, to learn if they were expecting tickets to still be available at this time and get details on how many tickets they sold so far.

We have yet to hear back.