Jason Gonzalez has covered an array of sports at all levels over the last nine years. He learned ice hockey, however, long before — during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah (his hometown). He got a close up look of legendary Gophers alum Herb Brooks and other Minnesota hockey greats. Jason has been with the Star Tribune since 2012.
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The 2014 Frozen Four saw a significant spike in viewership. ESPN announced on Wednesday that it averaged 471,000 viewers for the two semifinals and national championship played last weekend in Philadelphia.
The average is 56 percent increase over the 2013 Frozen Four (301,000 viewers).
The championship game, which featured Union's 7-4 victory over the Gophers, averaged 717,000 viewers, for a 33 percent increase over last year's championship game (Yale defeated Quinnipiac).
The online stream of the Frozen Four also attracted a lot of attention. The WatchESPN simulcast received 2.24 million minutes watched, an 85 percent increase over 2013 (1.21 million minutes).
The Twin Cities generated a 10.6 viewing rating for Saturday's finale, the highest-rating for hockey in the market (October 2013-Present), according to ESPN's release. Denver (1.3 rating) was second followed by Las Vegas (0.8), Columbus (0.8), and Providence (0.7).
This year's Frozen Four field included three traditional power programs in Boston College, North Dakota and the Gophers. Union was playing in its second Frozen Four in three seasons.