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Arena Talk

The Good

Miami's new ice rink is coming along nicely and will be ready for next season. You can check out the progress here. The arena looks great, if not a little on the small side. I believe it's going to hold about 3500 people. If Miami continues being so successful in hockey, they could probably use a few more seats, but if they fill that building every night, it could be a very difficult place for other teams to play.

The Possibly Good

I can't find an online link, but there have been articles in the South Bend Tribune and Notre Dame Observer about Notre Dame looking into building themselves a new ice rink. Notre Dame is probably the one team out west that is most desperate for a new ice arena. They currently play in the Joyce Center, which was not built for hockey. A new arena, along with more of a commitment to the program from the school, could turn Notre Dame into a hockey power. Athletic Director Kevin White said he wanted a "boutique, high end" arena. Fill in your own blanks about what that means. I imagine French clothing.

The Not Good at All

The state of Minnesota passed their $1 billion bonding bill this past weekend, and money for a new events center in Duluth was not included.

The city of Duluth convincingly passed a referendum earlier this year which allowed for a local tax increase on restaurant bills to pay for their share of the new events center. The state of Minnesota didn't come through with their part of the money though.

A big reason they didn't get the money was because the legislature gave the money for a new Gopher football stadium. The Gophers needed a new football stadium, though it may not be a popular opinion among many who read here, a new Gopher football stadium is going to help Minnesota's economy more than the new arena in Duluth.

I think the state legislature made the wrong decision here. I've already made my feelings clear about why the Gopher's stadium plan is a poor one. There's also a bit of a double standard here. Governor Tim Pawlenty hid behind the law and forced Duluth to jump through the hoop of passing a referendum for a tax raise. Yet the Gophers didn't have to follow the same law and pass a referendum, mainly because most people knew it had no hope of passing.

It's also disappointing that Bemidji and Marshall got the money for new events centers while Duluth did not. I realize Duluth needed a lot more money than the other projects, but it also helps the state a lot more. An events center in Duluth brings in money-spending hockey fans from Wisconsin, and Colorado, and Alaska. An events center in Marshall brings in a bunch of Blue Bunny employees to watch D-list music acts.

All in all, the state of Minnesota really let the people of Duluth down. Bruce Ciskie plays the blame game and puts the majority of the blame on the DFL Party and Governor Tim Pawlenty. That sounds about right. The city of Duluth has loyally voted for the DFL for some time now, and they failed to secure a project the city really needed. Pawlenty tried to do everything he could so that Duluth didn't get their arena and Minnesota get their stadium, and when that didn't work, he made it happen anyway. It's a disappointing day for all hockey fans.