Tomorrow, Yale takes on Quinnipiac for the NCAA men's hockey championship. Plenty has been written about the cultural differences between these two programs—for an overview of the rise and fall of Greater New Haven hockey culture, you can read Jack Dickey's excellent piece; for a good look at what Yale's like, you can check out this episode of Gossip Girl. The real fun is that we've got ourselves a good old-fashioned "subway series", and people are excited.
These two cities are in the same metro area (not the same city, as Quinnipiac's main campus is in Hamden, not New Haven). They share the same abandoned gun factory. They share the same gigantic rock. They share the same horrible dance club. There is no home turf for this game. As Division I sports are dominated by larger universities, which typically have their own territory or college town, championships like this are pretty rare.
There have been 523 NCAA Division I title games in basketball, baseball, softball, football, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, and soccer.* Just five of these games, shown above, were or will be between two teams in the same metropolitan area. That's less than one percent.
*I left off volleyball and water polo, which also have title games, because these sports were completely dominated by California for such a long time. Out of 121 combined title games, 39 were between two L.A. teams, and eight were between two Bay Area teams.
Out of these four metro areas, one is very large (Los Angeles), one has an insane number of college and universities for its size (Boston), and one features two of the most successful collegiate athletic programs of all time (Durham). New Haven has none of these things. The metro area has about 860,000 people, to L.A.'s 13 million. Only Yale and Quinnipiac play in Division I. Neither is an athletic powerhouse.
Against all odds, Greater New Haven will emerge with an NCAA title on Sunday. Precautionary steps are already being taken to ward off championship fever: Quinnipiac will not be making their weekend trip to the horrible dance club.