The @GoAugie Vikings formally announce they are adding Division 1 hockey to Augustana Athletics and building an on-campus arena. 🏒— 📣 Midco Sports (@MidcoSports) October 6, 2021
The 🆕 arena's name has a nice ring to it, @Midcontinent Arena. 😉
AD @JoshJMorton + former NHL star @KWesty19 talk details. ⬇️#MidcoSports pic.twitter.com/AoPkI7XKMg
Augustana formally announced that they're adding a division one hockey program, and broke ground on the new Midco arena. Vikings Athletic Director Josh Morton explains the timeline for the structure and the roster.
“This is 136 days in the making. So October of 2023, we will drop the plug on Augustana hockey. The goal will have a coach in place sometime late spring, early summer of next year, give them a full chance to recruit, they'll have a year to build their staff and the program. Then, and then we drop the puck in 2023,” said Morton.
Also in attendance was former NHL star and current Vice President of NHL Hockey Development Kevin Westgarth who spoke on the impact an addition like this will have to the school and community.
“You get the right coach you get the right group of kids and, you know, they definitely have the right leadership in place to be able to put a real competitive product out there and you know that's just checks that excellent box and will just become better that much better for the community,” Westgarth said.
The first thing that project leaders considered, was the location. The new rink will be located across from the Alerus Center on campus with the football field, soccer practice field, baseball, softball and the track within walking distance.
Morton said, “location is perfect and we wanted it to be highly visible we also wanted to be accessible. So, not only for our students but for the community to come here because I can't wait for the first Friday night when you see a sea of students walking across right to come to this, to come to Midco arena to watch Augustana hockey it's going to be terrific. We want it to be the toughest ticket in town we want it to be a great game night environment. We want it to be a home almost advantage and so we think 3000 seats with luxury suites as well so the fan experience will be second to none.”
Both Morton and Westgarth expressed excitement over the future of this program and facility.
You know what I love is, there's always an opportunity in D one hockey for kind of any school to compete at a national level, I can imagine that this could be you know a host for NCAA Regionals and kind of, the list goes on and on as to events that they'll be able to put on at the rink that they're planning so it's, it is an exciting time,” Westgarth explained.
Morton added, “that's part of what's been so affirming for us is the excitement for hockey league when you look at what the shield's IcePlex did when they, you know when they started, you know the participation by youth, youth hockey in our community doubled, you know, since 2014 Those are the kind of impacts that we want to have too.”
In just two years, fall of 2023, the program will be set, and stands will be filled.
Filed Under Midco Sports News