College hockey's showcase event will be staged in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Saturday in a week of firsts for the sport.

For starters, the Frozen Four has never been to Western Pennsylvania. And three of the four teams in this year's tournament at Consol Energy Center — Massachusetts Lowell, St. Cloud State and Quinnipiac — have never been to the national semifinals. To top it all off, Yale, the fourth member, is hardly a grizzled veteran. In fact, it's been 61 years since the Bulldogs have made it this far.

Indeed, power programs such as Boston College, Michigan and Minnesota aren't here, and a first-time champion will emerge. Just further proof of the growth of college hockey, where the so-called little guys can catch up with the heavyweights of the sport ... quickly.

The tournament will include three games in two sessions. Both sessions are sold out, and the final is on Saturday.