Indoor Arenas / Facilities

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New Milwaukee Arena to Have NHL Rink to Allow Bids on NCAA Hockey

4 May, 2016

By: Tracey Schelmetic

Late this spring, the ground will be broken for a new arena in downtown Milwaukee that will be home to the Milwaukee Bucks. But the planned $500 million multi-use indoor arena may see more than NBA basketball action. It’s to be used for concerts and home games for the Marquette Golden Eagles men's basketball program, but planners now say that the venue will include a hockey ice rink that meets NHL standards. Currently, the Milwaukee Admirals are leasing the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, but there is no evidence the team is seeking another venue. The choice to include an NHL-worthy arena, however, is an interesting one.

“There are no plans for the NHL,” Bucks spokesman Jake Suski told the Milwaukee Business Journal, indicating that the team has not invited the Admirals to consider using the arena.

Admirals owner Harris Turer told the newspaper he is not surprised the Bucks owners want a hockey rink at the new arena.

“They talked about ice for the Frozen Four,” Turer said.

The “Frozen Four,” or the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship, may be the arena’s ultimate goal.

The Admirals will soon need a new home, as their current rink, the BMO Harris Bradley Center, is slated for demolition in 2019. In March, the Admirals announced they have contributed $2 million (and the Wisconsin Center District $4.3 million) to upgrade the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, which will add the hockey team as a tenant starting with the 2016-2017 season.

“I’d be surprised if they (Bucks owners) pursued an NHL team,” Turer told the Milwaukee Business Journal. “It’s expensive to run an NHL franchise.”

Bucks spokesman Jake Suski indicated that the Bucks’ owners support the Admirals in their relocation to the Panther Arena.

“We respect the Admirals decision and believe they’re a great fit with the Panther Arena,” Suski said. “We all benefit from their decision to remain nearby as we collectively look to make downtown Milwaukee a world-class sports destination.”

Earlier this month, the Bucks signed a 30-year lease to play in the new arena, and the groundbreaking is set for June 18. Owners of the Bucks plan to transform 30-acres of mostly vacant land into a vibrant neighborhood activated by sports, entertainment, residential and office uses. The 714,000 square foot arena will feature an intimate “bowl” optimized for basketball viewing with the majority of the seats in the lower level closer to the action, while still providing the flexibility to host hockey games, end stage and center stage concerts, family shows, circuses and ice events, as well as open-floor exhibitions.

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