Under a new proposal, a development in downtown Champaign could include a new hockey arena for the University of Illinois.
The newly-released project would combine developer Hans Grotelueschen’s previously proposed mixed-used development, which had once been slated for another downtown location, with a potential expansion of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District’s Illinois Terminal building on the south end of downtown. Among the features that could be incorporated in the project include a hotel, residences, offices, retail, and additional park.
The latest details behind that plan leave open the possibility that a hockey arena could be constructed. The 5,000-seat arena would host the University of Illinois’ hockey team and come with several other features, including multiple rinks and basketball courts.
At this point, the development is still under consideration, and a few factors will determine whether the concept goes forward. The University of Illinois will have to complete a study and determine whether it wants make hockey a varsity sport, as it currently offers hockey as a club sport. In addition, university officials would have to make their commitment to the project.
The university has already announced plans to study the possibility of making hockey a varsity sport, but Illinois officials note that the study has not begun. More from The News-Gazette:
Last month, UI Athletic Director Josh Whitman announced that Illinois would begin studying the feasibility of adding hockey as a varsity sport.
UI athletics spokesman Kent Brown said Tuesday that the study won’t begin until mid- to late-August.
“We don’t have anything to add at this point,” Brown said.
In June, the university revealed that it was partnering with the NHL and NHL Players Association to study the possibility of making hockey a varsity sport.