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New UNO arena set for fall opening


Word proceeds apace on a new $81.6 million University of Nebraska-Omaha arena, set to open this fall as the home of the Mavericks.

A powerhouse in NCAA hockey and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, the Mavericks currently play at downtown’s CenturyLink Center. But the larger arena — where the Mavs are a solid draw — doesn’t really fill the needs of the Mavs program. Hence the new arena, to open this fall. From

Packing the arena for hockey is also key to the financial success of both the arena and the Maverick athletic department. The arena will need to generate annual profits to retire the university-issued bonds that are helping finance the project. UNO hockey last season averaged 6,331 fans a game at CenturyLink.

UNO officials have not yet started selling the new arena’s 17 suites or the 750 club seats, key components of the financial plan. But [associate athletic director and general manager of the arena Mike] Cera said he’s not expecting any lack of takers. “From all indications, there is a lot of interest and demand for those seats,’’ he said.

Cera also has no doubt that once fans experience the new arena, they will be hooked.

The right venue makes all the different in college hockey, both for fans and for athletic directors. It’s no secret that the top programs — University of Minnesota, University of North Dakota, University of Minnesota-Duluth — play in top-notch facilities designed mainly for hockey.

HDR is the lead architect alongside Lempka + Edson from Kansas City. Kiewit Building Group of Peter Kiewit and Sons, Inc. is the general contractor.

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