Wednesday, March 23, 2011

UAA Hockey Arena: My Penultimate Words


Let's talk about arenas shall we?  I don't really want to but there's a hubbub.  It's not something I'm fond of doing as my blogging style lends itself more to the rant & rave milieux. Getting a dumb parking ticket at the University while trying to delve into the whole issue doesn't exactly get my juices flowing so expect this to be my personal next to last words on the subject. My last words with regard to arenas will be an announcement of an on campus standalone arena for UAA Hockey.  I will now endeavor to simplify the process here for everyone's mutual benefit and edification.

Here's the relevant links to catch everyone up as to the points of discussion.  Click them, read and listen before proceeding.  Eric Tuott wrote a Compass piece in the ADN which I highlighted here.  As a follow-up he appeared on KENI's Mike Porcaro radio show last Friday to discuss the issues.  Dr. Cobb appeared on the same show yesterday also discussing the issues.  And there's also been a bit of commentary here on the blog.

And that's where we are.  Allow me to start here by stating the primary goal; an on campus standalone arena for UAA hockey.  It has been my preference for years and years now and I think everyone else's as well.  So ... Can we stipulate that?  I sure hope so.  I can't imagine a supporter of the UAA Hockey program that wants something less than that.  With that in mind the other concepts floating around are simply less than satisfactory.  Right?  Refurbishing and upgrading the Sullivan Arena clearly doesn't meet the goal.  And redesigning the existing proposed SCFEBH (Sports Center For Everything But Hockey) doesn't either.  Right?

Ok, now that we're all agreed (and of course, if you don't agree with that basic premise ... say so in the comments section), how exactly do we get what we want?  Should we all email the UAA Administration?  No.  They want the same thing.  Nobody at UAA wants anything less.  Repeat.  Nobody at UAA wants anything less than an on campus standalone quality facility for UAA Hockey to play their home games.  Nobody.  Not the players, not the coaching staff, not Athletic Director Dr. Steve Cobb, not his boss Director of Administration Bill Spindle nor his bosses Chancellor Case or even his boss President Pat Gamble ...  they ALL want and are working for exactly that ... an on campus standalone hockey arena.  Repeating for emphasis ... nobody at UAA wants anything less.  If you think they do ... you are wrong.  Sorry.

So who makes shit happen at the University?  Two bodies ... the University Of Alaska Board of Regents and the State of Alaska Legislature.  I'm not going to bother today to provide you all with email addresses to your state legislators.  As involved citizens you should already know those or at least know how to find them.  But I am going to give you the names, email addresses and phone numbers of each and every Regent below.  If you want to make something happen (um ... like a standalone on campus hockey rink for UAA) then this is the place to start.
Timothy Brady
tbrady@kenbrady.com
(907)243-4604

Ashton Compton
amcompton@alaska.edu
(907)723-2213

Fuller Cowell
fcowell@gci.net
(907)345-7079

Kenneth Fisher
oldfarmers@msn.com
(907)523-0800

Jyotsna Heckman
jlheckman2@alaska.edu
(907)458-4222

Mary K. Hughes
mkhughes@acsalaska.net
(907)274-6290

Patricia Jacobson
patjacobson1@mac.com
(907)486-3954

Carl Marrs
marco077@gmail.com
(907)339-7214

Robert Martin
rngmartin@gci.net
(907)789-7157

Michael Powers
mpowers7@alaska.edu
(907)458-5316

Kirk Wickersham
kirkwickersham@gmail.com
(907)561-3726
There it is folks.  Above are the people you need to contact, lobby, pressure, harass, cajole, push and/or light fire under to move forward toward getting a standalone on campus hockey arena for UAA.  These are the movers and shakers that determine what priorities are addressed with regard to capital projects within the University system.

Now that said, I'm sure lots of you are skeptical about the Board of Regents.  Like you, I've seen them time and again favor the the Fairbanks campus with projects while ignoring the larger Anchorage campus' needs.  Well guess what?  They respond to public pressure.  Even if they are (and I'm not proposing this is the case) biased with regard to UAF ... they cannot ignore a continuous stream of contact from a large group of people demanding that a long standing problem be rectified appropriately.

So if you really want a standalone on campus hockey arena for UAA ... then you know what to do.  Talking about it below, emailing folks at UAA and/or commenting on Compass pieces at the ADN ain't gonna do shit.  The UAA Hockey program deserves nothing less than a quality standalone on campus hockey arena.

32 comments:

Suze said...

Is that link right for the Cobb interview? I didn't hear any talk of the sports complex???

Donald Dunlop said...

Suze,
I have corrected and verified it. Should be pointed to the right file now. My apologies.

Eric Tuott said...

I feel obligated to comment on this, because I have found myself right in the middle of this issue. I apologize beforehand if this is somewhat hard to follow or for typos because I'm in a bit of a rush now...

I wrote the Compass Piece that appeared in the ADN back in January because I saw something that I felt was wrong with the new sports center. I sat on it for over a month while agonizing over whether I should have it published or not. My intent has never been to "kill" the new sports center, or to downplay that we need a stand alone arena (we do). However, I just thought it was short sighted to do a $110 million project and not include your #1 revenue producer in it, at least in a manner that would allow that entity to play sporadic games here and there. I believe that people on the committee did not do their due diligence to even consider the idea of having rink capacity in the rink, even if it meant the 'Wolves played there as a last priority. Even at a couple games a year, UAA wouldn't be paying the Sully, we'd be bringing money to UAA, and we'd be doing an expirement to see if an on-campus arena would be worth it without having to plunk down $35 million for a new building. By the way, several rink designers/builders have said that we should be able to include everything needed for a rink for less then $5million. But in restrospect, there was no one representing hockey boosters or alumni on the committee to even make that suggestion. Perhaps that alone would have been enough to head all of this off.

When I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Cobb, talk to the main players in Prop B, and peruse the report to the Board of Regents, I was left with one main feeling. Lots of lip service. And that's why I felt like I was left with no choice but to publish the Compass Piece and go on local talk shows. The idea that we will get a stand alone arena in the near future is pretty tough for me to believe, given the economic gloom and doom in Juneau. We don't just summon an arena fairy and get what we want.

Donald, you're absolutely right on who we need to convince...BOR and Legislators. We need a stand alone rink. But if we're not going to be honest about when that will happen, or at least present an actual game plane, we should at least explore a realistic and economically efficient short term solution.

BBEF said...

You got a parking ticket on your bike? BUI to boot??? I'm curious now.

Donald Dunlop said...

Eric,
I absolutely hoped you would comment. Your compass piece and passion to see something get done has brought the issue to light for discussion and in that vain it's a good thing. Nobody I've talked to has felt in anyway that you are attempting to usurp or intervene on anyone else's behalf.

As is the case with my opinion ... you are welcome to express your views. And as I mentioned in a comment here within the last week, your view about enhancing the exisiting facility certainly seems pragmatic.

The primary issue with regard to getting a rink is the politics between the University, it's Board of Regents and whatever involved forces there are in the legislature with regard to another project. I am convinced there are reputable forces in the state legislature that will move forward with a proposal for a standalone rink. However, that won't be before some of these existing questions are answered/put aside.

Unfortunately, in these things not everybody is fully able to show their hand whether that be the school, BOR, legislature or private interests. There are agendas and politics at work. The University's agenda is to get a standalone on campus arena for UAA Hockey and that's really what I wanted to make clear with this post.

It will likely be some time before the next hurdle or step is taken but that would have been the case with or without your compass piece so in that sense there's no harm and no foul. You expressed yourself and brought added your voice to the many who feel a strong need to get an arena. Nothing wrong with that.

Donald Dunlop said...

BBEF,
The more amazing thing is that I got out of my car at 11:01. Note the time on the parking ticket ... 11:03.

BTW ... they won't get $35 from me before April 6th. And they won't get $60 from me after April 6th.

BBEF said...

The even more amazing thing...

You closed your eyes and in a nanosecond cured the parking ticket...with your brain...

matt said...

penultimate is a great word

akmillers said...

FYI: There's a UA Regent meeting tomorrow Friday-3/25 at 10am--1815 Bragaw-2nd floor.

AKfan said...

I just sent emails to each of the Board of Regents, I hope everyone else will do the same.

AKfan said...

Here are the email contacts for the State of AK Legislature. It took me about ten minutes to draft and letter and send to everyone of these representatives in a single email. Please send yours today!

Representative_Alan_Austerman@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Mike_Doogan@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Les_Gara@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Mike_Hawker@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Reggie_Joule@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Bob_Miller@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Pete_Petersen@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Bill_Thomas@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Mike_Chenault@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Bryce_Edgmon@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Berta_Gardner@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Bob_Herron@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Scott_Kawasaki@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Charisse_Millett@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Lance_Pruitt@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Steve_Thompson@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Sharon_Cissna@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Anna_Fairclough@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Carl_Gatto@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Lindsey_Holmes@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Wes_Keller@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Cathy_Munoz@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Dan_Saddler@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Chris_Tuck@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Mia_Costello@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Eric_Feige@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Max_Gruenberg@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Kyle_Johansen@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Beth_Kerttula@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Mark_Neuman@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Paul_Seaton@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Peggy_Wilson@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Alan_Dick@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Neal_Foster@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_David_Guttenberg@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Craig_Johnson@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Bob_Lynn@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Kurt_Olson@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Bill_Stoltze@legis.state.ak.us

Representative_Tammie_Wilson@legis.state.ak.us

arcticfox said...

Thank you for putting those interviews on here Donald!

I'm a little bit confused about a couple things Dr. Cobb said, so maybe someone can enlighten me. :(

I get that they lost out on the first location they wanted and that they settled for the current location at the corner of Elmore.

I also understand that he doesn't feel that the parcel of land that was selected is big enough for a sports facility, recreation center, and ice arena. (He mentions those 3 venues)

Dr. Cobb states that the Board of Regents didn't want a new sports facility at all, but that they finally caved at the last meeting voting unanimously for it.

Ok. so..

He said that in regards to a new or upgraded hockey facility, one problem is that the community didn't realize how severe the problem was.

Besides letters like the one Eric wrote, has he mentioned what he thought the best solution would've been for educating the public on the need?

He seems to like the idea of a total renovation of the Sullivan Arena. I realize it wasn't his first choice, but it sure sounds like that's the option he see's happening.

I've been looking for any info on what the renovations will entail, but so far I've only located one article. (I'll find the link & add it) It says that plans are to "upgrade the security system and paint the outside of the building".

That's it? :/

I wish he would have gone into specifics on what types of renovations he feels would bring it up to what he called "WCHA Standards".

In the interview, he said "they're talking about moving Kosenski (sp?) fields".

Who are "they" and where are "Kosenski" (sp) fields? Are they at Mulcahy Stadium? If they're looking at removing them, would it be to expand parking? I'm stumped! :p

Finally, I wish he would have responded to Eric's idea of at least laying the pipes. I realize that the guy doing the interview didn't ask him to address that, but still..

He also mentions (regarding the new UAA facility) "we did look at a practice facility and locker rooms".

Why another "practice" facility? :/ --?

As the interview ends, he says that if they don't get a total renovation on the Sullivan Arena, they'll "move right along with getting an arena on campus".

I guess that made me wondering - If a major renovation of the Sully isn't going to happen, will the Board of Regents be so pissed that they'll vote in the ice for UAA? (Somehow I don't think so, but what do I know)

Ok, kick me. But Dr. Cobb's interview left me with more questions than answers.

Sowwy. :(

Donald Dunlop said...

fox,
Look at my first comment in this string and the 4th paragraph. Now ... know what the University wants you can put Cobb's comments into perspective.

Think about what WCHA "standards" means these days. Corporate boxes etc ... do you envision any manner in which the Sullivan could be "renovated" which doesn't include basically tearing the joint apart?

I don't really want to say it like this but certain sensibilities must be placated before the University gets what it really wants. It's a game of politics. Politics is sleight of hand, massaging, manipulating others in order to get what you want.

If you assume (and why would anyone think otherwise???) that the University WANTS an on campus standalone arena for hockey then the only thing to do is to lobby (make your voice heard) the powers that be and that isn't the people at the University. It's the people to which they are beholden to for funding.

All the rest is white noise.

Anonymous said...

Hey Donald

Just meet your buddy Men Landau...

BBEF

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the add'tl info Donald! ~ :)

AKMillers, I wonder what they discussed at that UA Regents meeting this morning??

Here's an article from the Alaska Journal of Commerce that they posted a week ago today:

- - -

"Seawolf Arena

With $60 million from the bond proposal authorized by voters last year and $15 million in prior appropriations, UAA's new Seawolf Sports Arena is still somewhat short of the funding it needs to begin construction.

If the board decides to go forward with a 5,600-seat design, $35 million more will need to be secured, said Kit Duke, the university's chief facilities officer. For a 3,600-seat arena, the total cost would be nearly $80 million, she said.

"Of course, one option is always to get (additional funding) from the Legislature. It's not in the board's budget for the (fiscal year) 2012 request that's in front of the legislature right now," Duke said.

"I think they're inclined to support the 5,600 seats, they just want to see sort of the additional information they asked for at the board meeting," Duke said.

According to Wendy Redman, an executive vice president at the University of Alaska system, if the board of regents decides in April which of the two designs to go with, construction might begin the following spring, though the initial work may take the form of site-clearing as opposed to vertical construction.

Among concerns the board has is how the arena – which Duke said is estimated to take up 130,000 square feet of space – would facilitate parking needs. The building will be located in an area surrounded by medical facilities on the Providence Alaska Medical Center campus, as well as other university buildings.

Duke said a parking garage, as well as some surface parking, might be utilized to facilitate that need.

"We have talked with Providence Alaska hospital.... about sharing their parking garages," she said.

She said an arrangement with them might prevent overbuilding, allowing the university to more responsibly utilize funding. The two entities often talk with one another to ensure that their construction projects don't hinder the other, Duke said.

"You can probably never build too much parking capacity, but what I don't want to do is spend more money on parking than is required," she said.

While Duke concedes that the building isn't expected to generate a lot of revenue for the school, both Redman and Duke believe it will boost the campus in other ways.

"It will really move their athletic programs front and center, and they'll be able to market those athletic programs, which are doing very well right now, but will certainly be able to pull in additional kinds of tournaments," Redman said.

This impacts people's sense of the university's identity, Redman said, and may serve to enhance enrollment.

And aside from athletics, the arena building will also facilitate an auxiliary gym, locker rooms and weight-lifting facilities, among other uses for the students. And with a new arena built, officials hope to better accommodate both college sports teams and student recreation, in addition to physical education.

Sean Manget can be reached at

sean.manget@alaskajournal.com."

Link is @ http://alaskajournal.com/stories/031811/loc_ubonfa.shtml

- - -

Anonymous said...

My laptop is fritzing out so apologies if this posts twice. Even after I type in the "word verification" and my post shows that it went through, it still goes into the ozone. I'm going to try again w/out logging on with my google account.

Take 2 from Arcticfox, aka anonymous for this try. :D

Thanks Donald for the additional info! And to akmillers, I wonder what that Regents meeting was like this morning? :P

This isn't anything new, but is on the Alaska Journal of Commerce website and was written last week. http:www/alaskajournal.com

---
Seawolf Arena

With $60 million from the bond proposal authorized by voters last year and $15 million in prior appropriations, UAA's new Seawolf Sports Arena is still somewhat short of the funding it needs to begin construction.

If the board decides to go forward with a 5,600-seat design, $35 million more will need to be secured, said Kit Duke, the university's chief facilities officer. For a 3,600-seat arena, the total cost would be nearly $80 million, she said.

"Of course, one option is always to get (additional funding) from the Legislature. It's not in the board's budget for the (fiscal year) 2012 request that's in front of the legislature right now," Duke said.

"I think they're inclined to support the 5,600 seats, they just want to see sort of the additional information they asked for at the board meeting," Duke said.

According to Wendy Redman, an executive vice president at the University of Alaska system, if the board of regents decides in April which of the two designs to go with, construction might begin the following spring, though the initial work may take the form of site-clearing as opposed to vertical construction.

Among concerns the board has is how the arena – which Duke said is estimated to take up 130,000 square feet of space – would facilitate parking needs. The building will be located in an area surrounded by medical facilities on the Providence Alaska Medical Center campus, as well as other university buildings.

Duke said a parking garage, as well as some surface parking, might be utilized to facilitate that need.

"We have talked with Providence Alaska hospital.... about sharing their parking garages," she said.

She said an arrangement with them might prevent overbuilding, allowing the university to more responsibly utilize funding. The two entities often talk with one another to ensure that their construction projects don't hinder the other, Duke said.

"You can probably never build too much parking capacity, but what I don't want to do is spend more money on parking than is required," she said.

While Duke concedes that the building isn't expected to generate a lot of revenue for the school, both Redman and Duke believe it will boost the campus in other ways.

"It will really move their athletic programs front and center, and they'll be able to market those athletic programs, which are doing very well right now, but will certainly be able to pull in additional kinds of tournaments," Redman said.

This impacts people's sense of the university's identity, Redman said, and may serve to enhance enrollment.

And aside from athletics, the arena building will also facilitate an auxiliary gym, locker rooms and weight-lifting facilities, among other uses for the students. And with a new arena built, officials hope to better accommodate both college sports teams and student recreation, in addition to physical education.

Sean Manget can be reached at

sean.manget@alaskajournal.com.

---

arcticfox said...

Test. Test. I can't get anything to post. This is 3rd try. *insert embarrassed smiley guy here*

If for some miracle this post goes through, wow BBEF you must be having a blast! 3-1 CC with about 12 minutes left in the 1st.

Has to be FUN!

A Seawolves Fanatic said...

BBEF must bee really happy, all thanks to us

Anonymous said...

Tommy Grant signed with New York Rangers and will be reporting at 6 am tomorrow morning for there affiliate AHL team in Connecticut..Do not know the terms. Good luck Tommy

Anonymous said...

Thanks fanatic! I'm a very happy boy!

BBEF

Anonymous said...

read this from the Connecticut Whalers of the AHL website:

"Whale Sign Forward Tommy Grant to ATO
March 26, 2011

Leading Scorer from University of Alaska-Anchorage

Whale general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the team has signed forward Tommy Grant to an Amateur Tryout (ATO) agreement.

Grant, a 6-2, 195-pound native of North Vancouver, B.C., comes to the Whale after four seasons at the University of Alaska-Anchorage (WCHA). Grant, 24, led the Seawolves in points and goals this year, with 16-16-32 in 37 games, and his 57 penalty minutes were the second-most on the team. Five of Grant’s 16 goals were game-winners, which was good for a tie for fourth in the WCHA in that category.

In 134 career games with Alaska-Anchorage, Grant struck for 45 goals and 45 assists for 90 points and served 179 minutes in penalties."

Good for Tommy
9lives

A Seawolves Fanatic said...

Man is it just me or is it the ugly jersey year for the NCAA Hockey Tourney?? Ohh and BBEF, sewry the pretty helmets knocked you out..

Anonymous said...

Hey fans I am watching all the NCAA tourney in HD thanks to GCI and ESPNU. Dayum...

arcticfox said...

@ 1143 (from yesterday)

Thanks for that reminder! Just saw that the games will be on Ch #134 starting at 1:30pm Alaska time today (Sunday).

Question for anyone- I remember seeing this addressed before, but don't recall what the answer was. When seniors immediately sign contracts or ATO's & start playing as soon as their college team is eliminated from the playoffs, how does that work as far as graduating?

If you look @ the AHL and ECHL daily transactions, lotta guys are already playing w/various teams across the nation.

A couple closer to home are Jay Barriball with the Alaska Aces affiliate, Peoria and Bryant Molle is here in Anchorage playing w/the Aces.

The Sullivan Arena was standing room only last night & was so (((earth shattering LOUD))) that the ref's couldn't hear a damn thing. Pretty funny actually. Kane really looks good out there!

A matter of time and the Seawolves will be back to crowds like that again too! :)

UAAalumni09 said...

Grant in his AHL debut with 2 helpers, for a +2 rating in a 4-2 loss. He also got two SOG

A Seawolves Fanatic said...

Thats good for Tommy, good luck your gonna need it. The New York Rangers are known for not proprely developing their prospects, look at Paul Crowder as an example that hits home. Signed a contract with them right away after his junior year and now he is playing in the ECHL with his brother if I'm not mistaken. Now of course their was a bunch of guys that came from over the Atlantic to play back in the NHL/AHL so that had a trickle effect, but watch out Tommy. The good news is the Rangers now have the Connecticut Whale as their AHL affaliate (not the Hartford Wolf Pack), so maybe their trying to start fresh with there AHL team. Soo Tommy work hard, rep us when you can and good luck, your a Whaler now!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connecticut_Whale

Anonymous said...

The Whale are the Hartford Wolfpack. They changed half way through this season. They are trying to use the old Hartford Whalers memories to drum up local support in Hartford and the surrounding areas.

Suze said...

I just realized that this Big 10 Hockey Conference is actually good for UAA, from a financial perspective.

Since UNO and Bimidji joined the league after UAA, we are not responsible for their travel costs to Anchorage. Ditto for Mankato. Minny and Wisconsin leaving the WCHA should actually save us a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

The Whale is the Woflpack with a changed name at the new year. Crowder had a good opportunity, it wasn't the Rangers organization's fault that he didn't make the NHL. The Whale has also had Lee Baldwin on their roster a bit this year, but he was recently sent down I believe. Someone in the Rangers organization obviously likes the WCHA, and the Wolves. They also have Stepan from Wisconsin.

Donald Dunlop said...

Suze,
There's upside and downside. The downside is that the playoffs and Final Five generate a big pot from which each league member gets an equal cut. Typically, that's a nice six figure number for UAA.

And technically, I think UAA is paying about the same amount as they always have through whatever accounting trickery (fungible money as they say) that is used to spread around the subsidy that UAA pays. Will it decrease with Minnesota and Wisconsin gone? Perhaps slightly ... hard to say.

Anonymous said...

when do players start working out this summer? will they stay in alaska and skate all summer? do they have a conditioning program?

Donald Dunlop said...

4 Captains for next season have been announced ...

Gorham, Portwood, Crowell and Warner ...

I'll have a post up shortly

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