SBJ/January 29 - February 4, 2007/This Weeks News

NHL, SCI make rinks easy for municipalities

When the Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993, the organization came into a market with one, 200-foot-by-85-foot ice sheet. Almost no one played hockey, and there were no facilities where people could learn.

The team has developed more than 25 ice sheets over the last 13 years, though. As a result, the number of USA Hockey members in the Dallas area has grown from 150 to 4,000, and more than 85 high school teams have been created.

“It was something born out of necessity that grew into an unbelievable marketing tool,” said Dallas Stars President Jim Lites. “Thousands of kids are playing, and they’re buying our shirts.”

Following last week’s NHL All-Star Game in Dallas, the NHL has finalized a partnership to do the same across the country.

The league will work with Stadium Consultants International to provide municipalities with a complete design for two-sheet ice facilities for $6.5 million, $3 million less than the average price they would face otherwise, according to Steve Hatze Petros, NHL vice president of scheduling, research and operations.

“Every municipality’s been sticking a toe in the water but not jumping in,” Hatze Petros said. “With SCI, we’ve turned up the temperature of the water so that it’s not that cold when they jump in.”

SCI has spent the last year designing a booklet complete with the design and materials necessary for a new ice facility. The municipalities simply have to provide the land and find a local contractor.

Though the cost of land and construction can vary, the design incorporates NHL suppliers, which helps keep the rest of the cost low. It also cuts costs by taking a traditionally 70,000-square-foot facility and making it 50,000 square feet while still preserving changing rooms, space for food service and other amenities, Hatze Petros said.

SCI charges municipalities $20,000 to determine their initial interest, compared with a typical architectural feasibility study of $100,000, SCI’s Gary Green said. The $400,000 that SCI makes if a town goes through with the project is figured into the $6.5 million cost.

“We’ve designed it so it’s from A to Z, a complete package,” Green said.

The ultimate goal of the partnership is to extend the success of Dallas to other towns.

“Dallas has proved where there’s a will there’s a way,” Hatze Petros said. “The more moms and dads going to games and learning the rules, the better chance we have of translating them into fans as a result.”


NHL Ticket Sales (at the all-star break*)

DatesHome team
Dates
Total
Avg.
% cap.
Previous
Change
(2005-06)
Anaheim Ducks 25 394,688 15,788 91.9% 14,149 11.6% 25
Atlanta Thrashers 22 348,581 15,845 85.4% 15,208 4.2% 25
Boston Bruins 25 359,563 14,383 81.9% 16,615 -13.4% 22
Buffalo Sabres 25 467,250 18,690 100.0% 16,012 16.7% 24
Calgary Flames 24 462,936 19,289 100.0% 19,289 0.0% 24
Carolina Hurricanes 24 413,741 17,239 92.0% 14,850 16.1% 26
Chicago Blackhawks 25 324,384 12,975 63.3% 13,954 -7.0% 24
Colorado Avalanche 25 442,233 17,689 98.2% 18,007 -1.8% 25
Columbus Blue Jackets 23 381,618 16,592 91.5% 16,726 -0.8% 23
Dallas Stars 23 411,048 17,872 96.4% 17,659 1.2% 25
Detroit Red Wings 23 461,518 20,066 100.0% 20,066 0.0% 25
Edmonton Oilers 25 420,975 16,839 100.0% 16,827 0.1% 22
Florida Panthers 24 359,602 14,983 77.8% 15,642 -4.2% 17
Los Angeles Kings 29 481,691 16,610 91.7% 17,760 -6.5% 24
Minnesota Wild 25 463,192 18,528 102.6% 18,581 -0.3% 25
Montreal Canadiens 25 531,825 21,273 100.0% 21,273 0.0% 22
Nashville Predators 24 348,391 14,516 84.8% 14,249 1.9% 25
New Jersey Devils 25 341,132 13,645 71.7% 13,768 -0.9% 25
New York Islanders 23 276,405 12,018 74.0% 12,785 -6.0% 22
New York Rangers 23 418,600 18,200 100.0% 18,102 0.5% 24
Ottawa Senators 25 478,006 19,120 99.8% 19,516 -2.0% 23
Philadelphia Flyers 21 404,316 19,253 98.6% 19,604 -1.8% 24
Phoenix Coyotes 23 326,611 14,200 79.8% 15,242 -6.8% 24
Pittsburgh Penguins 24 384,884 16,037 94.7% 16,187 -0.9% 25
San Jose Sharks 26 451,876 17,380 99.3% 16,938 2.6% 21
St. Louis Blues 23 267,040 11,610 61.0% 13,966 -16.9% 22
Tampa Bay Lightning 24 474,262 19,761 100.0% 20,662 -4.4% 22
Toronto Maple Leafs 25 485,818 19,433 103.3% 19,393 0.2% 24
Vancouver Canucks 23 428,490 18,630 100.0% 18,630 0.0% 24
Washington Capitals 25 328,565 13,143 71.9% 13,270 -1.0% 26
TOTALS 726 12,139,241 16,721 90.4% 16,815 -0.6% 709
* Totals for games played through Jan. 22 both this season and last.
Source: Timothy Brandt for SportsBusiness Journal
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