Friday marks a milestone for the Wisconsin Herd, as it is the day that the club will play its first game at Oshkosh’s Menominee Nation Arena.
The Milwaukee-Bucks owned Herd is playing its first season in the NBA Gatorade League. In the search for a host city for the G League franchise, the Bucks considered multiple communities in Wisconsin–including Racine and Sheboygan–before settling on Oshkosh, where the new Menominee Nation Arena was constructed to accommodate the team.
While the 2017-18 G League season got underway in early November, the Herd’s Oshkosh debut was pushed back in order to accommodate Menominee Nation Arena’s construction schedule. As a result, the team’s first three home games–including its previously-scheduled November 17 home opener–were shifted to Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Now that Menominee Nation Arena is on the verge of its first game, Herd executives and Oshkosh officials are eager for its opening. Herd president Steve Brandes anticipates that the venue will rate highly among G League facilities, while Oshkosh mayor Steve Cummings believes the arena will provide a community benefit. More from The Racine Journal Times:
“It’s probably one of the best, if not the best arena, in our league,’’ Brandes said of the 26-team G League. “The back of the arena overlooks Lake Winnebago and you have this beautiful view. It’s just a great place.’’
Cummings couldn’t agree more. He’s convinced the Menominee Nation Arena will be a boon for what already is a robust local economy that has a meager 2.8 percent unemployment rate. Racine’s is 4.3.
“I think this (the new arena) is going to have a tremendous impact on our community,’’ Cummings said. “The arena is south of the Fox River and that’s been a pretty old, tired and rundown area and this is going to spur a ton of redevelopment there. But it’s not only going to change that part of town but benefit the whole community.
“This wouldn’t have happened without collaboration. The whole community got behind us. We have tremendous collaboration on everything we do here. We have very good collaboration with the schools; we have good collaboration with the technical college; we’re very close with the university (UW-Oshkosh). It’s the tremendous collaboration we have that’s changed this community for the better.’’
The Herd’s Oshkosh opener will feature a matchup with the Iowa Wolves, beginning at 7:00 p.m. central. The team is arriving in Oshkosh with a 6-3 record on the G League season.