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Fargo to host NCAA Midwest Regional in 2021

American International players take the ice for practice for the NCAA Regionals at Scheels Arena on Thursday, March 28, 2019. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO -- Fargo has landed yet another NCAA hockey regional.

Fargo’s Scheels Arena will be the host of the NCAA Midwest Regional in 2021.

The NCAA announced the next two years of regional sites on Friday, April 19.

Next season, the four regional sites will be Albany, N.Y., Worcester, Mass., Allentown, Pa., and Loveland, Colo.

In 2020-21, the four regional sites will be Bridgeport, Ct., Manchester, N.H., Fargo and Loveland.

"We are again extremely excited and honored to be named a regional site in 2021," University of North Dakota athletic director Bill Chaves said. "Our relationship with Scheels Arena has been phenomenal and we believe that we will again provide a tremendous experience for the student-athletes, coaches and fans. It is always important that we try and allow our tremendous fan base the opportunity to see NCAA tournament hockey within a driving distance, if possible."

This will be the fourth time that UND has hosted a regional in Fargo. It hosted West Regionals there in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

UND hosted a regional at Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., in 2018, but it did not bid on Sioux Falls this cycle.

"We've got a fantastic relationship with the great folks at Scheels Arena and the Fargo CVB," said Erik Martinson, UND associate athletic director for operations and the tournament director. "We’re honored to partner with them again for the fourth time in 2021. We'll be in preparation-mode pretty quickly here already with it being 23 months out to put on another first-class show that teams and fans have come to expect. We're just as passionate as our fanbase and we aim to set the bar higher each time."

Allentown will host a third-straight Midwest Regional, a sign of the lack of bids in that area, and Loveland is entering the mix for the first time.

With a dwindling number of schools bidding to host NCAA regionals in the West and Midwest, some teams tried a new tactic this bidding cycle: They submitted bids to host regionals at their home venue.

Although the coaching body has overwhelmingly been against putting regionals at home sites, at least two schools submitted bids at their home venues in hopes that there wouldn’t be enough neutral-site bids and the NCAA would have no other options.

Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal reported Wednesday that the Badgers submitted a bid to host at the Kohl Center. One source told Forum News Service they believe that UND submitted a bid for Ralph Engelstad Arena for 2020.

Neither of them were awarded regionals, because there were enough neutral-site bids.

Since 2010, the NCAA regionals have been played at non-home venues with the exception of the 2015 Midwest Regional. That year, Notre Dame hosted it at its home of Compton Family Ice Arena, because there were no other bids in the Midwest (Notre Dame didn’t end up qualifying for that tournament, though).

Some schools, including UND under former athletic director Brian Faison, pushed to return regionals to campus sites. But there has been major pushback from the coaching body on that.

The NCAA accepted bids for 2020, 2021 and 2022 during the cycle, but only decided to award two years of regionals.

2020 regionals

East - Albany, N.Y.

Northeast - Worcester, Mass.

Midwest - Allentown, Pa.

West - Loveland, Colo.

2021 regionals

East - Bridgeport, Ct.

Northeast - Manchester, N.H.

Midwest - Fargo

West - Loveland, Colo.

UND-hosted regionals under current NCAA format (since 2003)

2006 - Ralph Engelstad Arena

2015 - Scheels Arena, Fargo

2017 - Scheels Arena, Fargo

2018 - Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls

2019 - Scheels Arena, Fargo

2021 - Scheels Arena, Fargo