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Arena Talk

Minnesota's government, yes, the one that was once led by a pro wrestler, has been working on a state construction spending bill that could have ramifications in college hockey.

The bill includes $10 million to renovate the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.

It also includes roughly $30 million for a new hockey arena in Duluth, which UMD would play at.

The bill will still have to pass through Governor Tim Pawlenty and his line-item veto, but I don't think Pawlenty would be able to get away with hosing Duluth again. Hopefully this time it's the real deal and the Bulldogs will get their shiny new arena.

(Most of the following story comes from Daniel S. Mason's "The Origins and Development of the International Hockey League)

Incidentally, this isn't the first time that the city of Duluth has been hampered by a lack of funding for an arena. In the early years of the 20th century, a group of five Duluth businessman looked into fielding a Duluth team in the 5-team International Hockey League, which was the world's first professional hockey league. An exhibition game between Houghton's Portage Lakes and Calumet was scheduled at the Duluth Curling Club. While the Curling Club had enough seating for a team, club rules dictated that all club members and their families must be let into the club for free. With the loss of income from those free seats, it was determined that a hockey team could not be profitable at the DCC. A new arena would be needed for the pro team, and they were unable to get funding for it. Duluth never got a team, and the IHL folded shortly after.