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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Bonding plan would move all Maverick hockey downtown

Maverick hockey venues would improve if Civic Center bond is OK'd.

By Shane Frederick, Free Press Staff Writer [published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 1/18/2012]

If the city’s request for state bonding money passes, the Minnesota State Mankato hockey teams can say goodbye to the yellow tin shed.

The Mavericks men’s and women’s hockey teams would move downtown to the Verizon Wireless Center permanently as part of a $31 million improvement and expansion project shown to Senate Bonding Committee on Tuesday at the university.

“This would give both the men’s and women’s teams the Division I facility that they need,” Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges said.

The $5.8 million hockey portion of the project would be used to renovate locker rooms and coaches offices and add off-ice training areas underneath the stands on the west side of the arena for daily use.

When the project is finished, Mavericks teams would report to a facility closer to ones other teams in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association have.

Currently, the men’s team plays its games at the Verizon but practices at All Seasons Arena, where the women’s team also plays and practices. For each home series, the men pack up their gear and move downtown for three days.

“All Seasons Arena has been a great home to Maverick hockey for years,” MSU men’s coach Troy Jutting said. “But the reality is college hockey has passed it by a little bit, in terms of recruiting and in terms of having a place the kids can call home. Being at the civic center permanently would be a huge benefit.”

The plan also includes a new ice system and dasher boards, upgraded seating and concourse areas, and a new room for the hockey booster club.

The city is requesting $14.5 million in bonding funds for the entire Verizon Wireless Center project. An additional $14.5 million would come from the local option sales tax, which already has been authorized.

The teams’ move downtown also would free up much-needed ice time at All Seasons Arena for youth and high school hockey and figure skating.

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