St. Louis Blues captain and Minnesota State University alum David Backes has given a $100,000 donation to his alma mater to build a new strength and conditioning room at the Mavericks home arena, the Verizon Wireless Center. The new strength and conditioning room will be named after Backes.
In a press release from the school, Backes said:
"I had a fantastic college hockey experience at Minnesota State and thanks to my coaches and support staff, I learned the value of hard work, teamwork and life skills. These skills helped me tremendously as I prepared for my career in the NHL. As a thank you to everyone at Minnesota State who has assisted me on my collegiate journey, we wanted to donate something back that would make a difference and help ensure the long-term success of the program."
Backes' donation is part of a larger funding drive as Minnesota State aims to upgrade their home arena and program. The Verizon Wireless Center was scheduled to receive a massive renovation and become the full-time home of Minnesota State hockey through state bonding money, but budget cuts left the project a little under half a million dollars short of being completed.
Earlier this month, the city of Mankato and Minnesota State held an event in which they showed the progress they've made on the project--about 50% completed--while also announcing the eight-year contract extension for head coach Mike Hastings and calling for more funding help to complete the project, as well as addressing competitive needs for the program, such as funding full cost of attendance scholarships--the WCHA recently announced they would allow individual schools within the league to decide if they wanted to offer full cost scholarships--and summer school grant-in-aid support.
Since then, Minnesota State has received a $50,000 donation from David Christensen and Jill Evans, along with the $100,000 donation from Backes today.
Meanwhile, the Mankato City Council is meeting Monday evening to discuss potentially adding a new scoreboard to the Verizon Wireless Center this fall, rather than waiting until 2017 when a scoreboard replacement was scheduled.(Update: The council decided to postpone a decision on the scoreboard to gather more information.)
Here's a YouTube video of what the final renovations will look like: