Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Promo Potpourri: Arena Plan, Free Tickets and Alumni Game

This article in today's Northern Light school newspaper reveals some of the planning and thoughts with regard to a future home for the UAA Hockey team. Last year initial funding was approved and plans are moving forward for a new sports and recreation center on the piece of property located on Providence Drive and Elmore adjacent to Providence Hospital and the current UAA Student Dormitories. This facility will house all UAA Sports teams with the exception of Hockey. It includes a 3,500 seat multipurpose arena for basketball, volleyball and gymnastics as well as all the necesssary amenities/facilities for the other UAA sports programs. The latest proposal (Phase II) it seems includes plans for a renovation of the current Wells Fargo facility to turn it into the home for UAA Hockey.

The article includes information about the administrative and legislative hurdles this plan faces. It doesn't talk much about the construction hurdles that such a renovation to the existing Wells Fargo center would have. In my mind, in order to make this plan viable (i.e ... keep pace with other WCHA venues) then an absolute minimum of 6,000 seats will need to be in the plan. Whether that is or is not possible is an open question to me. If the plan includes that minimum number of seats then I'd whole-heartedly endorse it. Having the hockey team play it's home games on campus is a necessity in my mind. Not having to share the facility with a professional sports franchise is a huge benefit as well.

This Friday night is Green and Gold night at the Sullivan Arena. A paying adult wearing Green and Gold can get up to four children's tickets for no additional cost. Free hockey for the kids!! Bring the whole damn neighborhood!

This Saturday at 2:00pm at Sullivan Arena the UAA Alumni Hockey game will take place. There's boatloads of former players living in the Anchorage area. A commenter indicates that Dean Larson, Brian Kraft, Chris King, Regg Simon and Jim Mayes will be playing. I'd imagine other names we'll see are Rob Conn, Keith Morris, Jack Kowal, Todd Bethard, Tim Molle, Doug Spooner, Todd Christianson, David Vallieres, Paul Williams etc ... at least any guys that still live in Anchorage anyway. If you know any other names (perhaps Alumni that live out of state but are coming for the game) then please add them in the comments section.

43 comments:

wolfman said...

Donald, I mentioned this in your other post, but I believe the retrofit is to build the new arena and then update it (phase II) to increase seating capacity and shootout. End result: One arena for hockey and basketball after it is all complete. This sounds weird, so i am going to email cobb. But, I think that is what the article was saying. Interesting concept. Build the new building, and then hold off to add hockey (phase II) when funding comes available? So far, looking at the Campus facilities plan for 2013-2018 and 2028 and beyond, WFSC is only expanded at the entrace for new strenth training gym. So, very interesting...thoughts?

wolfman said...

oh...my bad...i see your thoughts...yeah, what ever it is, an on campus hockey arena is a good thing!!!!

Donald Dunlop said...

It wasn't clearly stated in the article. But the Wells Fargo renovation would mean that the Shootout would be the ONLY event there other than Hockey. So it would be a 95% Hockey and 5% basketball facility with all the regular season basketball at the brand new facility.

wolfman said...

i went back and read the article..and it is confusing...it says "pre-existing sports arena" which not sure means the WFSC or the arena they just built for phase I? Whatever the plan, i like it because it will mean UAA hockey is on campus. Actually, i like the idea of a 7,500 seat hockey venue at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex! I will dig into this and let you know what i come up with!!!

Donald Dunlop said...

I know renovating the WFSC had been talked about at one point. Renovating a just built facility to include hockey would be a bit crazy so I discounted that possibility when I read and reread the confusing article.

As I think about the process you'd have to basically GUT the WFSC and build. I'd also think you might have to move walls and for sure raise the roof. It's a good idea if they can pull off the construction. It would be attached to the existing student corridor as well which is a good thing. But again, to make it a "good" arena would be a huge project. But at least it would be cheaper than a brand new standalone facility.

seawolvesfan said...

the boys playing in the WFSC, sorry but i dont like that idea, and the ironic thing is im going to college to be an architect so... i could work on a brand new arena for the SEAWOLVES. Im not so sure gutting the WFSC, raising the roof[(the roof is on fire-just watched HEAD OF STATE)sorry for that] and building new walls is gonna be cheaper than building a new arena. I personally like the idea of a new arena because i think the future teams would have a better feeling playing-and sense of pride in a new arena for themselves(what about the ACES?)

Donald Dunlop said...

A renovation of the WFSC would make it just as good as a new place if they did it right. A from the ground up new fancy shmancy joint might have a little more "cachet" but if they renovate the WFSC properly then it will feel like a new place. Putting a brand new building on campus is difficult with the limited land available. So expanding and renovating an existing place (which is smack dab in the middle of the campus and has an excellent parking footprint) eliminates the other difficulties. Just because it's renovated doesn't mean you can't have all the bells and whistles.

What about the Aces? They can continue to play at the Sully and finally be the team with the scheduling priority. The Seawolves playing at the Sully is a bad thing for the Aces since UAA gets scheduling priority.

Quagmire said...

How about the city of Anchorage renovates that dump Sullivan Arena? I mean have they spent any money in that place in the last 20 years? At the very least they could put some new seats in it. I'm surprised the Aces haven't bitched about how inadequate that place has become.

Anonymous said...

The alumni game is at 2:00pm.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say I admire your enthusiasm for the UAA Seawolves and the game of hockey in general. I've been reading your blog since mid season last year and look for it almost every day. Keep up the good work! And GO SEAWOLVES!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Quagmire, it's a dump, and actually of any pro or college arena I've been in Sullivan is the worst in the US. I think the old vet in Philly was better, maybe still is. Poor sightlines, terrible acoustics, ugliest seat colors, just a very very UGLY building inside and out. You don't feel any history or nastalgia there either. UMD is getting a new arena, and the current DECC rocks compared to sully.

Kris said...

Article from UAA athletic dept. Three skaters: Baldwin, McLeod and Bailey have all signed letters of intent for next year. It is a good read with finally Dave's take on the guys and there current coaches' takes. Interesting that Bailey is coming next year and not 2010. Also has Bengston signed a letter previously because he is not mentioned?

Kris said...

Oh and Spencer apparently has not signed yet. Of course not signing early means nothing really as far as I know.

Donald Dunlop said...

This is just off the top of my head but yes, I'm certain that Bengtson has signed an LOI.

You are right about Bailey. I wondered if they might advance him a year if he did well in the USHL and quite honestly he is doing very nicely. He has the highest +/- of any of the scoring forwards on the team. I think he is definitely on the rise developmentally speaking. His freshman year might be a bit of a challenge at first but once he adapts I think we'll see him turn into a reliable scorer.

And as you say, Spencer not signing an LOI isn't necessarily indicative of anything.

I talked with Paul Crowder's dad and he knows Baldwin's play particularly well and was high on him. He also has seen McLeod play and thinks they'll both be great additions.

I've been planning a recruit update for Thanksgiving week and have been doing my homework so I'll do something on them all then.

Donald Dunlop said...

Regarding the Sullivan Arena:

Yes it isn't great. I wouldn't say it completely sucks but it is a typical multipurpose municipal arena built in the 80s.

What UAA is supposed to do about upgrading or fixing it or whatever I don't have a clue. They just rent the place. The only good solution for the school is to get their own rink and the school has been trying to get that down for more than a couple of years now.

That's what the first part of this whole post is referencing ya know? What happens in the future to the Sully has no bearing on the discussion really.

Kris said...

I personally would be thrilled with a dramatic renovation of the WFSC. I am an alumnus, graduated in May so recent. The WFSC is right in the middle of campus and is where the team practices. It is a great location to attract students. Virtually every traditional student will walk through there numerous times a week. It would also allow all programs on campus but still have a hockey arena that is used once a year for basketball. I actually would like to see a 5,000 seat arena with the ability and plan to expand. That would really help the problem of having an arena that seems empty. When it starts to fill up, which I think it would you can expand to a 7,500 seat arena or something similar. I don't know off the top of my head what the WCHA wants for seating so 5,000 might not work. I think that Duluth and Tech all have smaller arenas though; I am sure they were grandfathered in arenas though.

I seem to remember reading something on the UAA website about Bengston, which would imply an LOI, but searched and did not see anything. I was really excited when it was reported that he committed but he has sort of floundered. I would not be surprised if they hold off till he regains some prowess.

I am also really excited about Bailey. This guy has taken the USHL by storm (pardon the unintended pun). He was not taken by one team and is in the top five on his team in scoring as a seventeen year old. One of two players that is actually a positive on a pretty horrible team. Almost a point per game in the USHL is nothing to laugh at. I know the Anchorage boy Zuck has more points but seriously he is a -15 and significantly older (2.5 years I think). Bailey is going to be a significant player on this team. I hope we get more guys like him (which I think we will start seeing). The other two guys sound like the type of recruits we need as well. Very excited just wish it happened a few years ago before, since I might be away in grad school next fall.

Anonymous said...

Bengtson is horrible..He currently is fourth line on Topeka and is on the trade wire...He cant even play in the USHL and why add another guy for the fourth / fifth line that will play behind the guys we got..The problem with signing guys far out is some times you dont know how they are going to turn out and Gus is a medium low player who will struggle at the D 3 level so there is nothing Nobel about clinging to a mistake when sometimes its better for everyone to shake hands and move on for the best interests for all...

Donald Dunlop said...

Anon:
I disagree. It is just as likely that Bengtson is a stuck between a rock and a hard place.

1. At Cedar Rapids he was on probably the most talented team in the USHL.

2. His skills by all reports are excellent.

3. He was developing at Texas and starting to produce when they brought in a NHL "A" prospect (Korostin).

4. Topeka is probably the top team in the NAHL.

5. At both Cedar Rapids and Topeka he is/was down on the depth chart because they both had/have older players that the coaching staffs had experience with.

So I think there is a good possibility that the kid has been a victim of circumstances to some extent.

Both in the USHL and now with Topeka there are political considerations also ... i.e... the kids with parents nearby get more ice-time.

If you're a player with the sorts of skills suited to a being on a 1st line and you have to fill a role on a 3rd or 4th line then you're just not going to put numbers up.

I don't know how accurate that analysis is. But it certainly is just as much of a possibility as being a washout. So I'm not prepared to make that call.

I assume the UAA staff are much more familiar with his situation than you or I. If his skills are still apparent then whatever numbers he hasn't produced don't necessarily dictate that he can't cut it at UAA.

I guess I'm saying it's too early to tell. He is the youngest player UAA has recruited. So patience will be required. Maybe he can cut it maybe he can't.

ZZzzz said...

Sounds like what UAA has done with Ken Selby... Another guy with skills that doesn't seem to have gotten much of a chance to make any impact, playing on the fourth line or sitting in the stands????

Donald Dunlop said...

ZZzzz:
I would think that's a fair comparison.

seawolvesfan said...

okay but the renovation of the WFSC, how many seats would it have? also it cant obvilously be to little cuz we wont use all the land thats avalible, but cant have too many so there's no parking, so u tell me DOUBLE D

mnhockey said...

One impovement to the Sully, though it would be quite sendy, would be to put a brick veneer on the outside of the building, then maybe some brick or stone along with square timbers or logs as accents on the inside. Take all the seats out burn em in the parking lot, yay, marshmallows. Install green theatre seats throughout.

wolfman said...

Donald...just got a note from Dr. Cobb and he said the norhtern light article is not true and cobb is going to run a correction story on it...

jjack said...

I would rather see the team play at the WFSC than stay at a renovated Sully. The team can't afford to be miles off campus anymore. The WFSC has a great location. As someone said, almost ever on-campus student passes through several times daily. It's got ample parking already available and most of the short walk from the dorms is indoors.

The Muni can and should renovate the Sully, if it wants. The Aces and whatever else they have going on in there can have a nice place of their own.

The big hangup I see is that of space for increased seating, concessions, etc. However, if they build that new arena for hoops/gymnatics/etc. programs as well as the fitness center and pool, the whole building could be completely gutted and I think that would free up almost enough space.

Anonymous said...

Alls I was saying with Bengtson is this guy has 2 points with no Goals in 10 games..He has not played in the other 7 games..To be an impact player like some of the top recruits in the last year or so that are directly responsible for turning the program into a contender they need to be of the caliber of top players such as Bales,Grant, Lienwebber,Lafranchise,or Christianson you have to be a junior STANDOUT that can not only contribute but make a difference with in a short period of time...While yes there are others who have contributed those 5 have been Major Contributers within a year of there arrival that has translated into the results in the program finally moving forward on the Ice and possibly towards a top 5 team in the WCHA... Bengtson needs to show next year that he can be a dominate player in Juniors first before he attempts to move up 5 steps to the WCHA. We have plenty of 6ft 2 Role players and dont need a 5ft8 4th liner..

Anonymous said...

is their a band at the sullivan this weekend???

Anonymous said...

There won't be a band this weekend as the band did not feel they could be ready in such short notice. It does look like there will be a band for the next home series againdy Wisconsin after the break.

Anonymous said...

No band? Too bad. The fans will just have to cheer louder, that's all.

Anonymous said...

The best thing is the A.D. and the Athletic Dept are all for it and want to do it right so you cant blame them for that. Its all good stuff moving in the right direction though...

Anonymous said...

Watch the UAA Coach Shyiak Show on GCI Cable Channel 1, Wednesdays at 8pm. What? that doesn't work for you? How about you catch it online at
http://kasenna.uaa.alaska.edu/~kuaa/index.php?cat=KUAASports the latest, and greatest version will be on top every Thursday of the week we record one.

Glen

Donald Dunlop said...

Glen,
Thanks tons for that link. I've added it to my "scroller" up top as well as put it in my links section.

Anonymous said...

Just to let everybody know that Gustav Bengston will be playing 3 games in Wasilla on December 10,12, and 13 at 7:00 PM. I think that will give us a good indication of his talent and I'm sure that the coaching staff will be there since we don't have any games that weekend. Hopefully we can get some fans out there to show him some UAA love. Plus, I'm sure Wasilla would love us to spend some some money in that pathetic joke of a town.

Anonymous said...

They should rename it to Palinville.

Anonymous said...

Bengston will also be playing in Kenai on the 5th, 6th and 9th of December for anyone down on the peninsula that is interested in seeing a future Seawolf.

matthew said...

Have you said anything about Sam Mellor? Heisenberg has him listed as committed to UAA... He's a 16 yr old from the KIJHL JR B Kimberly Dynamiters.

seawolvesfan said...

well now i did

Anonymous said...

Sam Mellor also won the 1902 Boston Marathon. This seems like an interesting recruit being he is only 16 years old. Hopefully, he will continue to develop into a player that will compete for time at UAA.

Donald Dunlop said...

Mellor turned 16 today. A verbal from a 16 year old? That's definitely something new.

A bit of digging finds him called a "dynamo".

"Mellor, meanwhile, played five games as a 15-year-old associate player with the Nitros last season, getting a pair of assists in that time. The forward also skated for the Kootenay ICE Major Midget team based in Castlegar last season.
“He AP’ed for us on a couple of occasions and I think he certainly proved to a lot of guys that he was more than capable of playing in this league. We’re excited to have Sam, and I know he’s excited to be a part of it,” said Keiver.

He said both Hubscher and Mellor have strong offensive skills.“Both of them are more than willing and able to put the team above themselves,” said Keiver. “As I’ve stated before, we’re looking for character players and I know we’ve added three big characters to the team.”

That's all I found in the limited time I have at the moment. Thanks matthew for the links. Sounds like a highly skilled kid. I'm not surprised they're talking with 15 year olds and watching their development ... I am however a bit surprised (not in a bad way ... just in a surprised way) that they're soliciting a commitment from one.

Good luck to Sam over the next couple of years. I wouldn't expect him before 2011-2012

Suze said...

16 year olds can't even sign a LOI at that age can they?

Hey UAA fans, I know some of you are business owners, (or have connections), do UAA a favor and promote their Green and Gold family promotions. You can print out the flyer here:

http://www.goseawolves.com//pdf1/149138.pdf?KEY=&DB_OEM_ID=13400&DB_LANG=&IN_SUBSCRIBER_CONTENT=

Get them up and promote the team!

Donald Dunlop said...

Suze;
It's a verbal commitment. There are more than a few other teams that have verbals from similarly aged kids.

You have to think that soliciting a verbal from a kid his age means that he is a excellent prospect. He is a 15 year old (turning 16 today) playing with lots of 19 and 20 year olds. He'll make the jump to junior A next year and we should get a better idea about him then and the year after.

Meanwhile, I've shot off emails to the newspaper guy that covers that team as well as the coaching staff so hopefully they come through with some good info which of course I'll post in my recruit update next week.

Suze said...

Per NCAA rules, the school can't talk about any recruits until they have signed, so I doubt you'll hear much from them.

Donald Dunlop said...

I sent emails to his current team's coaches ... not to UAA's as I'm aware that they're not allowed to comment on verbals.

Suze said...

Oh, okay. You can do that since you aren't a booster! ;)

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