Arizona Board of Regents to meet Thursday, will discuss new, on-campus arena for Arizona State

ASU goalie Joey Daccord catches the puck during the third period. Omaha and Arizona State tied 4-4 Saturday night at Baxter Arena. (Photo by Michelle Bishop) (Michelle Bishop)
ASU goalie Joey Daccord catches the puck during the third period during a game the Sun Devils tied Omaha 4-4 earlier this season at Baxter Arena (photo: Michelle Bishop).

According to a report on ArizonaSports.com, discussions have begun that will see Arizona State have a brand-new rink on campus, starting with the 2020-21 season.

The Arizona Board of Regents Business and Finance Committee will meet Thursday, the report states.

Per the executive summary, the 175,000 square-foot arena would seat 5,000 spectators for hockey, and would include 250 to 300 club, and 48 loge seats. The arena would be located just north of Wells Fargo Arena, which would also be renovated.

The estimated cost of the two projects is $160 million.

The new arena is expected to be completed in time for the 2020-2021 season, while Wells Fargo Arena’s renovations should be completed by the summer of 2021.

The Sun Devils currently play their home games at Oceanside Ice Arena, which seats just under 1,000 with standing-room-only seats. ASU will host Boston University on Jan. 26 at Gila River Arena, home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

The new arena may also coincide with the Sun Devils joining a conference, added the report.

35 COMMENTS

  1. Well IF they manage to get this approved, then all they need is a real D1 coach and maybe the NCHC will take them seriously. Otherwise they better get ready to pony up money for travel stipend for the WCHA.

    • I have a hard time believing that the NCHC is going to base any potential decision about the ASU hockey program on who their head coach is.

      The relevance of that is pretty much zero.

      As an aside, what’s wrong with Greg Powers? Who I have no particular feelings about one way or the other, I might add.

      You want to start comparing? Let’s look at his resume’ as opposed to that of new UNO Head Coach Mike Gabinet.

  2. ASU should join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (maybe at same time Air Force moves there). This would set up a good regional conference – maybe then they could create two divisions (Midwest and Mountain) within it.

    The coach seems to be doing OK for now – give him a chance.

        • If MNSU and Bemidji were to join then NCHC and WCHA might as well do a two team switcheroo, MNSU and Bemidji for WMU and Miami, and then the NCHC can rename itself the WCHA and the WCHA can rename itself the CCHA.

          • Well aware of that, I was making the point that if you had Minnesota State and Bemidji join the NCHC, then it would more or less be the old WCHA.

          • I think they would leave the NCHC if 1) The NCHC wanted to remain an 8 team conference (for rev-share reasons), and 2) the NCHC waives the fee to leave the conference.

            And with Miami being at or near the bottom of the conference the last couple of seasons, they could very well take that offer. WMU would probably steamroll over the WCHA & pay less travel fees, so that would be enticing too.

            All that being said, I can’t see it happening, at least not in the immediate future.

          • Even if some fee was waived…..the WCHA would need to basically throw up the same rankings as NCHC consistently.

    • Air Force won’t move, they will stay in the same conference as Army. Its more likely that Minnesota State would move or possibly they might try to get BGSU to move out of the WCHA. However even with a new Arena ASU hurts the NCHC more than helps it. If you look at the Pairwise ASU is ranked 52nd, compared with Colorado College Which is 26th and is the worst team in the NCHC. The NCHC will likely want more than just a building if they are going to take that big a hit to there competitiveness level, Even with a Minnesota State to help off set it. They will want assurances of ASU’s commitment to hockey, and a big part of that is getting a professional coaching staff in there, NCHC prides itself on being the Elite hockey conference, that’s why they are so selective. That’s why MNSU had to make so many changes to get to the point where the NCHC would look at them seriously, Renovations to the Verizon Wireless Center and building the facilities to make it the full time home of MNSU hockey, cost of living for student athletes, and replacing Troy Judding with Mike Hastings. In many ways ASU has more to prove because no one is sure if they will stick around or if the program will die once the gift money runs out. The longer they go without a real facility and a real coaching staff the less seriously the hockey world will take them, and the less serious potential recruits will take them.

      • .
        “Air Force won’t move, they will stay in the same conference as Army.”

        MTU and NMU were not on the same conference for a long, long, long time – and that did not do anything to the rivalry.

        i would love air force to join the nacho – they can run some kind of “governor’s cup” as they do in alaska; they can call it the “military coup” – kinda has a nice ring to it. it would encompass them having four non-conference games and trophy to go along.

        GO TECH GOLD!
        .

        • Penn State Also started off with a modern facility right away, and real coaching staff with actual college and developmental league experience, Penn’s Head Coach had 10 years prior head coaching experience at the D1 level before taking over, and another 5 in developmental leagues, the assistants have 5+ years in the D1 leagues and and more in developmental leagues.

          Now compare with ASU the head coach has few years experience as volunteer coach, and one assistant coach with a few years of developmental league coaching experience.

          Pretty big difference one will attract top bigger talent, the other will attract players who other choices are American International, UAH or UAA.

          • I get the facilities and coaching thing, but if the NCHC sees potential in ASU and the southwest United States, the current PWR is not going to stop it from bringing in ASU as a member. PAC-12 access is going to pay off for whichever league gets to the table first. Oh, and if you believe that ASU will be competing for Anchorage, Huntsville, and AI leftovers, I have to believe that you are mistaken.

          • Not competing for, competing with. If you are a talented kid looking for a place to play your college hockey, ASU right now doesn’t offer a hell of a lot. No league, An Arena that would be substandard for a D-3 school, and an Amature coaching staff. As for the PAC-12 access, if you are referring to the idea that the game will be televised Pac-12 network, if the Big10 network has been any indication, hockey games are rarely broadcast on these big conference-specific networks, which given how prevalent live streaming apps are becoming, Big10 and Pac-12 networks are going to dinosaurs soon anyways.

            Also, no one sees potential in the Southwest for hockey, the fact that the coyotes are still in AZ is a testament to Gary Bettman’s unwillingness to admit the failure of the southern expansion. People were excited when ASU added hockey because it was another school adding hockey, but we were also wondering why the hell a school in Arizona was adding hockey. Now if it was Northwestern or University of Washington it would make more sense.

            ASU had a small group of alumni with deep enough pockets to get the bare minimum to field a hockey program, now if the ASU actually follows through on this arena then there stock goes up bit, part of it will depend on if they are the primary tenants of the arena or if they are just using it for games, and still doing day to day training at Oceanside. The bigger indication for serious hockey conferences like NCHC will be IF they also go out and get a better coaching staff. The WCHA might be willing to overlook the amateur coaches but they are going to want ASU to foot the part of the bill for the smaller schools to travel to Arizona, and they are also going to be praying that they’re more successful programs, MNSU and BGSU don’t bail for NCHC, if both BGSU and MNSU applied I think they would get in, and the WCHA adding ASU might just push BGSU to try.

          • Don’t see the NCHC looking to add lower profile schools but rather bringing in those with a larger presence. Bowling Green and Mankato do nothing for the brand. Arizona State could. Hockey in Arizona has been a slow grind but a player like Auston Matthews is the beginning of the payoff, and he will not be the last. Expanding a sport like hockey, but especially a very niche sport like college hockey, is not easy and will take time.

          • The NCHC looks first and Foremost at commitment to being a top tier hockey program, ASU hasn’t shown a whole lot of interest in that. Also what extra exposure is ASU going to bring hockey? As far as I can tell the currently manage to fill up a 747 seat arena and maybe a 1/4 of the lower bowl at Gila, which is more than coyotes but that is a low bar. ASU dosen’t have the existing fan base for hockey to bring a lot to league, and if the Coyotes consistent appearances at the bottom of NHL attendance is any indication then the Phoenix area isn’t a burgeoning hockey market to begin with. Addtionally ASU would just add further travel expenses to the conference. Now Compare that to Minnesota State University (MNSU) and Bowling Green State University (BGSU), Both are proven hockey markets, both are in driving distance of at least two other member schools, both have made huge investments toward improving there programs.

            Sorry but ASU is just not all that attractive an add, everyone was excited early on but now that the excitement has worn off people are seeing the school’s hockey program for what it is, a low budget program that ranks about 3rd or 4th tier on the list of the athletic departments priories. And the response of the various conferences has been pretty clear.

            Hockey East – No
            Big Ten – No
            NCHC- No
            WCHA – No… Unless you are willing to cover travel expenses like the Alaska schools… oh, you’re not, well then sorry but no.

            I guess they can always ask Atlantic Hockey or the ECAC.

          • Bowling Green, for all it’s long hockey history, still has about 40% of the seats filled in a 5000 seat arena. It’s program is what it is and I don’t see why the NCHC would have any interest taking that on, given that the program has been putting a sub.500 team on the ice for a couple of decades. Mankato would be a good fit, competitively and geographically. You are judging ASU on a couple of years. I am looking longer term. The presumed new arena is a positive step, and the program has the potential to be a much more positive move for the NCHC than does adding on of the smaller WCHA programs, which would be a less than lateral move.

          • .
            how about michigan tech?!?

            older then any program in both the NACHO and the WCHA – almost 100 years old.

            arena is almost-always full.

            three championships…

            and one hell of a turn around in the past few years!!!

            GO TECH GOLD!!
            .

          • I love Tech’s hockey program. Loaded with history. A road trip to Houghton is a must for every college hockey fan. I wish that the pre-2013-14 WCHA still existed – that league had a run like no other. That said, I can’t see the NCHC taking on MTU. Seems like the league leaders are good where they are at and will only look at schools that could give them a bigger national presence. Given how MTU struggled during it’s last couple of decades in the old WCHA, I like it’s place in the new version. An easier path to the NCAA tournament which boosts recruiting. Kudos to those that stood behind the program during the lean years. It’s great to see the Huskies putting winning teams on the ice again!

          • .
            i am not opposed to tech remaining in the new-WCHA – truth be told, games now are a lot closer to our fan base. and really against teams that compare school- and town-wise.

            but i do have a problem, however cry-baby it is, on how both the NACHO and the WCHA were/are split – it is not in the best interest of college hockey.

            the pretentiousness in the creation of the NACHO left the “leftovers” hang out to dry. and who cares what the B1G did… two wrongs don’t make a right!!!

            its is obvious most NACHO schools have more money then most WCHA schools.. them taking the alaska teams (or even BSU and MNSU) would have been great. not only because they can afford it but because its closer, because they are in or near towns that have big enough airports; denver, grand forks, omaha, and the twin cities. as opposed to houghton, marquette, the soo, and big rapids.

            western? miami? really? it is because of the money – tradition obviously had no place in their decision… and no they will not change things based on my rant. ;)

            BUT i hope, as things will change at some point in the future (or near-future in the case of ASU), that there will be a better balance around these conferences.

            tech will outlast any conference split, my life time, and many programs. can the alaska teams hang in there because of budgetary reasons? will UAH last in the long run? how will, if at all, ASU develop? will miami ever recover inside the NACHO?

            i am from brasil… needless to say, ice hockey is HUGE (sarcasm) down there. how will the future play out in non-traditional hockey areas like alabama and arizona? hell, even ohio.

            and on a side note; the WCHA is considering splitting the teams up in two regions to reduce travel, save money, and create more non-conference opportunies. tech not in the NACHO? no problem if we got to play UMD, SCSU, and UND every year. :)

            regardless of who we face-off, our barn is most-always packed – buckle up, lots more to come in the future.

            GO TECH GOLD!
            .

          • The way that the conference split went down was not great but universities are businesses and things are not always pretty. That said, in the long run it has given the smaller programs in the WCHA a slightly easier path to the NCAA tournament which i endorse wholeheartedly. What is the future of college hockey and conference alignment? I have no idea. I do like the the expansion into Arizona and Alabama. Don’t know whether it works long term, but I believe that it can. All about the money and if they do it right it can succeed. Hope it does. In the meantime, it is great to see the NCHC, WCHA, and B10 teams playing each other and keeping old flames like the Great Lakes Invitational burning. Tradition as well as the new is good for the game. On a side note, you are the only hockey fan from Brasil that I have come across. Kinda cool.

          • .
            …and lucky enough to work at tech in houghton -birthplace of professinal hockey- and live 15 miles further north in calumet -home of the macnaughton cup and the longest operating ice arena in north america (world?).

            life is good.. :)

            GO TECH GOLD!
            .

          • Just a guess, but you may be the only Brasilian ex-pat to ever live in Calumet. I grew up with the old WCHA during the John MacInnes era when MTU was one of the gold standard college hockey programs. Was no fun to see the program struggle with the 4 and 5 win seasons a few years ago. It even seemed as if Division III was a possibility. Glad that never happened. Good to see Tech back in the mix. Enjoy the games!

          • At the Business and Finance Committee meeting of the ASU Board of Regents this afternoon, the minutes of that meeting delineate that the hockey team will be the primary tenant of this new facility and that it is a dual rink facility as well, something that is absolutely necessary to make this work, since you need a place to practice that you don’t have to schlepp to when the rink is in otherwise use.

            I see that the facility will be directly connected and an adjunct to Well’s Fargo Arena.

          • I think you need to go to ASU’s athletic department web site and take a look at the bio of their head coach as you don’t seem to know many specific (or accurate) details about his background.

  3. .
    >> THE NACHO, OLIVE DIVISION

    OMAHA
    ND
    BSU
    SCSU
    UAA

    >> THE NACHO, TOMATO DIVISION

    ASU
    AIR FORCE
    DENVER
    CC
    UAF

    >> THE FAJITA, CHICKEN DIVISION

    MTU
    LSSU
    MNSU
    NMU
    UMD

    >> THE FAJITA, STEAK DIVISION

    BGSU
    UAH
    FSU
    WMU
    MIAMI
    .

  4. I think Mankato was “rejected” because the NCHC would have needed to add another school with them and they were not going to take ASU until when or if an arena plan was in place. And, I think they want ASU.

    If the ASU Board of Regents approve the proposed arena plans there, I strongly suspect that ASU and Mankato will soon both be members of the Nacho.

    The only other school besides Mankato that even remotely makes sense for the NCHC is Bowling Green as, from a sheer resources perspective, they dwarf every other school in the WCHA and those of several of the NCHC school’s as well.

      • Their athletic department budget is larger than that of every NCHC and WCHA school expect North Dakota, Western Michigan, and Miami–all in the NCHC. Plus, they are D-1 across the board (as are only UNO and Denver in either conference) and they, WMU, and Miami also field D-1 football programs.

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