Nebraska-Omaha hopes to break ground on new arena in 2011, Blais says

Minnesota-Duluth and new member Bemidji State are among the WCHA teams already planning on debuting new arenas in 2010-11.

Nebraska-Omaha may have arena news of its own soon.

Mavericks coach Dean Blais said on Tuesday’s WCHA preseason teleconference with media members that the school is hoping to break ground in the spring on a 7,500-to-8,000-seat arena that it would call home once its lease with the Qwest Center Omaha is done.

Blais said the lease runs another three seasons, meaning the Mavericks could play in their new home in the 2013-14 season.

Bemidji State is set to play in the Bemidji Regional Events Center this season, while Minnesota-Duluth will move to Amsoil Arena on Dec. 30.

“A new building like Duluth and Bemidji is hopefully going to be announced here,” Blais said. “We’ve got three more years left at the Qwest and then we want to break ground in the spring. It’ll take about two years to build and they’re thinking 7,500, around 8,000 [seats]. Details should be out hopefully within a month or two.”

Nebraska-Omaha’s desire for an on-campus arena isn’t new; athletic director Trev Alberts talked about it at last season’s WCHA Final Five.

Contributing: Theresa Spisak