Where's Dick Vitale When You Need Him?

Off-Kilter

Great game last night at Bright, huh?

Who does this guy Karmanos think he is with this hat trick stuff--Maine freshman Paul Kariya?

That kind of play was the kind of story that the national media ought to eat up, don't you think?

Fine. But I don't want to talk about Jason Karmanos--I want to talk about Dick Vitale.

Dick Vitale??? In a hockey article? Doesn't this bozo get enough AT without you making him a PTP'er?

Yeah, as even he is prone to telling you, he's blind, bald, and dumb, and lately he's becoming increasingly arrogant.

But take it from a guy who spent all of yesterday afternoon in a sports bar: Dick Vitale represents a commodity that college hockey--and the ECAC, specifically--lacks in a big way.

There I was in the Crimson Sports Grille, surrounded by televisions on all sides. We had the ACC college basketball tournament on ESPN, the Big East tournament on TV-38, and the Big Eight tourney on NESN.

Programming schedule for the evening: more of the same, with one small gap on NESN for the first round series between Maine and Northeastern in the Hockey East playoffs.

The BCAC? MIA.

In fact, if you want to watch the championship game live from Lake Placid next Saturday, you'd better be there. The only television coverage is on the New York-based Empire Sports Network.

College basketball has no such problems; the Vitales and the Billy Packers of the country have taken a sporting event and turned it into a cultural phenomenon called March Madness.

ESPN's "Tournament Week" coverage has seen colleges like Wright State, North-east Louisiana, and Santa Clara gain two hours of national media exposure from obscure gyms around the country.

Harvard, a school that made it as high as second in the national college hockey poll, had two--count'em, two--television appearances all year.

And outside of the Beanpot, a Boston tradition worthy of network attention, it got no air time (AT) whatsoever apart from the occasional highlight reel.