What Is The Frozen Four In Hockey?

Ice Hockey Frozen Four

The Frozen Four is the annual semifinals and finals of the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament. This part of the tournament is played at a neutral site that is selected before the season starts. Read on to learn more about the Frozen Four in hockey.

  • Founded: 1999 (Frozen Four), 1948 (NCAA Tournament)
  • Number of Teams: 4
  • Most Appearances: Michigan (26)
  • Most Championships: University of Denver (9) and University of North Dakota (9)

Frozen Four History

The NCAA coined the term “Frozen Four” in 1999. However, the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey National Tournament was first held in 1948, nine years after NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball began the Final Four. The first-ever National Championship was won by Michigan in an 8-4 victory over Dartmouth. The tournament originally featured four teams, with a semifinal and final game. However, the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament expanded as time went on.

Here is a timeline describing how many teams were featured in the tournament:

  • 1948-1976: 4 teams
  • 1977-1980: 5-6 teams
  • 1981-1987: 8 teams
  • 1988-2002: 12 teams
  • 2003-Present: 16 teams

Frozen Four Format

The Frozen Four is composed of four teams that won their regional finals games in the NCAA Men’s Division I Ice Hockey Tournament. Two regional winners from each side of the bracket play a single game to determine who will play in the Championship. The winner of the championship game wins the title of National Champion.

Frozen Four Teams

To get to the Frozen Four, teams first need to qualify for the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey National Tournament. Sixteen teams are selected for the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey National Tournament. The champions of each of the six conferences automatically qualify for the tournament, while there are 10 at-large bids given out to the best teams that did not win their conference tournament.


What is the Frozen Four?

The Frozen Four is the nickname given to the semifinal and final rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament. These are the third and fourth rounds of the tournament, featuring the winners of each of the four regions. The winner of the Frozen Four is declared the National Champion.

What team has won the most Frozen Fours?

The Michigan Wolverines and Denver Pioneers are tied for the most NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey National Championships, with nine championships. Behind these two schools, North Dakota is next, with eight championships. Along with having the most Frozen Four wins, Michigan also won the first-ever NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship in 1948.