Arizona State University has confirmed that it will continue to pursue a new venue for its hockey program, and could open the facility in 2019.
ASU has been searching for a new venue to replace the Oceanside Ice Arena, which hosts the bulk of its home games. For some time, the school’s arena effort was tied to that of the Arizona Coyotes, as the two sides discussed partnering on a new home. However, earlier this month, ASU said it would no longer participate in a proposal that called for an arena to be constructed in Tempe and include rinks for both ASU Sun Devils hockey and the Coyotes.
Though that means that the two entities will not be partnering in the proposal, it does not change ASU’s arena situation. The university wants to obtain a facility that better meets Division I hockey standards than Oceanside Ice Arena, which opened in 1974 and has hosted ASU since 1985. Its age means that it has been surpassed by newer Division I venues, while it offers a smaller seating capacity lends than many of its contemporaries.
ASU athletic director Ray Anderson confirmed that the school will proceed with its arena search, and that it would like to have a new venue in place by the 2019-2020 NCAA hockey season. More from ABC 15:
“We want to be 19-20 at the latest in our own facility, or a facility that we can call ours, home, for the long term,” he said. “It may have changed in somebody else’s mind but it didn’t change in my mind.”
ASU’s hockey team joined the NCAA Division I ranks last season but still play their home games in an arena far smaller than the average NCAA D-I venue, as Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe has a seating capacity of less than 800. The proposed joint arena venue with the Coyotes would have given the Sun Devils a 4,000-seat arena.
Anderson also discussed the renovation of Wells Fargo Arena, where the Sun Devil men’s and women’s basketball teams play. He said such a renovation could be done in conjunction with an adjacent hockey arena on ASU campus.
“Yes, there’s a chance that you could jointly try to do basketball and hockey at the same time,” he said. “For instance, if you’re thinking about Wells Fargo, where it is, and hockey is a facility that maybe gets built right next to it, then there may be some efficiencies by essentially doing the construction simultaneously, or in pretty close proximity, time-wise.
“I think we’re pressed more on the hockey multi-purpose arena, if you will, than Wells Fargo. It may be done in conjunction with that or it may be done as a subsequent separate project.”
ASU is playing its first full NCAA Division I schedule during the 2016-17 hockey season.
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