The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

June 7, 2014

MSU hopes arena upgrades will address 'needs'

MANKATO — When Mike Hastings took over as the Minnesota State men's hockey coach in April of 2012, he talked about the program's needs.

“There are certain things that you need to have,” he said during his introductory press conference and talked specifically about facilities and the proposal to get state funding for upgrades to the Verizon Wireless Center.

Two years later, with funding for Mankato's civic center expansion project finally getting through the state Legislature and the governor's desk , some of those needs finally can be addressed.

“I'm looking forward to the opportunity we have to move in a direction like others in our state as far as facilities go,” Hastings said earlier this week, referring to new arenas and upgrades that have gone up in Duluth, Bemidji and St. Cloud. “We, as a program, are planning on this helping us grow.”

Last summer, the civic center upgraded its rink system and replaced the old red and blue seats with purple ones. The next phase will take place below deck, making the building into a permanent home for the MSU men's and women's teams.

“It's exciting,” Hastings said. “We're moving in a positive direction.”

Drawings shown to visiting legislative committees last fall showed a major improvements to the guts of the arena.

Currently, all locker rooms and office space for hockey is confined to the northwest part of the building. The MSU men use that space for games, as well as for practices during the weeks leading up to home series. Otherwise, the Mavericks call All Seasons Arena home. All Seasons Arena is also the game and practice facility for the women's team.

Future plans give both Minnesota State teams the entire west side of the civic center while putting visiting-team and youth-hockey locker rooms and non-hockey dressing rooms on the east side.

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