It has been a back and forth process for several years, but officials in Thunder Bay, ON are still considering a new arena.
Thunder Bay has previously engaged in talks to construct a new arena and events center, which could attract a minor league hockey franchise. The Winnipeg Jets have expressed an interest in Thunder Bay, going as far as to discuss proposals to place their AHL affiliate in the venue if it is built.
For inspiration and ideas, Thunder Bay officials are scheduled to visit Duluth and the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC). The DECC, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, includes the AMSOIL Arena, a venue that opened in 2010.
Thunder Bay sees the AMSOIL Arena and the DECC complex as a potential model, and officials from Duluth–Thunder Bay’s sister city–are more than willing to tout the benefits of their venue. More from CBC News:
“I would say you would never regret it,” said Anna Tanski, the CEO of Visit Duluth. “And, it is a tremendous challenge to keep a building and facilty occupied. However, the benefits really outweigh any challenges tenfold.”
Tanski said the DECC is a major component to tourism in Duluth. She said it attracts leisure tourists, such as those attending hockey games or concerts, but also draws in thousands of people every year who have conventions at the DECC.
She said that meetings and conventions make up about 15 percent of the tourism market, worth millions of dollars per year.
The Jets’ current AHL affilaite–the Manitoba Moose–shares the MTS Centre with their parent club. Both are owned by True North Sports & Entertainment.
RELATED STORIES: AHL’s Manitoba Moose returns to Winnipeg