It’s that time of year again…Hockey! I’ve been eagerly awaiting the start of the season as the Sabres look great with a solid core and a few new guys to help shore up the defense (Thank you Terry!). Really not too many arena changes this year (in fact only 2 new buildings), but there are an unusual amount of league and team changes. The first one in my opinion is awesome, the return of Winnipeg! So happy for that city and their fans. Anyway, that means the MTS Centre now becomes an NHL facility. The move also leads to the AHL’s Moose being relocated to St. John’s, where the Mile One Center is back hosting professional hockey.
Out west, the highly successful, Colorado Eagles move up a league to the ECHL. They fill the place of Victoria, where the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre (ugh that name) now hosts junior hockey in the WHL. They replace Chilliwack, where interest waned thanks to the nearby Abbottsford AHL franchise and the city now places in the lower BCHL. Other league moves include Mississippi and Odessa leaving the CHL to the SPHL and NAHL, respectively. OK, too many abbreviations.
Some sad news with the temporary exiting of some arenas on The List. First the saddest and that is the departure of the 12,440 seat CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, LA. The Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs folded after winning the CHL Championship. No more sports teams play in what looks like a terrific facility and I can’t even find any championship games held there. In other news, the short-lived AAHL folded and that knocks the small Hobart Arena in Troy, OH off The List. Up in the Northeast part of North America, the Q featured a folding: Lewiston, ME (Androscoggin Bank Centre) and a relocation: Montreal, QU to Boisbriand, QU. The former leaves the old Verdun Auditorium empty.
OK, now the good stuff and the two new arenas. Both of these teams played in facilities that were too small to be included on The List, so it’s good to see these new facilities added, though I’m sure there is some sadness for those fans that will be leaving their old homes. All the way up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, the Warriors are moving into the 4,000 seat Mosaic Place. Meanwhile, in South Bend, IN, Notre Dame hockey moves across a parking lot to the Compton Family Ice Arena. I’m ashamed in myself as I drove right by the new arena just a month and a half before its opening and had no idea that A) Notre Dame was getting a new hockey arena and B) that the building I drove by was even a hockey arena. There were no visible signs promoting it when I was on and driving around campus. Also, every one of those buildings at Notre Dame has the same exterior look with similar brick work. Anyway, they christen the new building this weekend against RPI, good luck Irish!
Just visited last night Sean…Next trip to Notre Dame you’ll have to see a hockey game. It’s a great place…