Facility Friday: ASU's Ice Rink, Suites Coming to NMSU's Pan American Center, San Jose Barracudas' Tech CU Arena

Tabatha Wethal Headshot

Arizona State University announced a multi-year naming rights partnership with Mountain America Credit Union to name its new on-campus ice rink the Mountain America Community Iceplex. Macu Logo

The Mountain American Community Iceplex will be the practice rink and training center for the Sun Devils men’s hockey team. The rink will also be used by ASU’s American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I women's hockey program and the three divisions for the men’s ACHA program, along with the competitive figure skating team at ASU.

The community ice rink will also hold figure skating competitions, youth hockey tournaments, public skating and learn-to-skate programs on a 200-foot by 85-foot ice surface, with a 300-person capacity.

When ASU hockey transitioned into the NCAA as a Division I program during the 2015-16 season, ASU Athletic Director Ray Anderson was given a timeline of six years for a Division I hockey facility to be built. The program had to deal with setbacks from COVID in the last few years, but the arena’s plan received all approvals in December 2020 and has been in progress since. 

The multipurpose arena is expected to be ready for the 2022-23 NCAA hockey season, along with the NHL season in the fall. The Arizona Coyotes are in talks to make the Ice Den in Scottsdale its permanent practice facility and will not use the practice rink. — Arizona Republic 

Barracuda Arena Aerial ViewBarracuda Arena Aerial ViewCourtesy of sjbarracuda.com

Sharks Ice at San Jose has signed on Tech CU as the name sponsor for the arena being built for the San Jose Barracuda hockey team, in a 10-year deal approved by the San Jose City Council.

The new 4,200-seat Tech CU Arena at Sharks Ice at San Jose — or Tech CU Arena — is expected to open in August, attached to the ever-growing ice-skating facility on the corner of 10th Street and Alma Avenue.

Besides Tech CU Arena, there’s also Excite Ballpark — the former Municipal Stadium that’s home to the San Jose Giants — and CEFCU Stadium, which many of us still think of as Spartan Stadium, across the street from Sharks Ice. Not do be outdone, Provident Credit Union snagged the naming rights for San Jose State’s Event Center on campus. Star One Credit Union has stayed out of the name game so far, but maybe there’s a possibility if that new cricket facility gets built at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.

The council approval took place a couple of weeks later than expected because it was noticed that while the longer, official name of the arena included “San Jose,” the exterior signage planned for the facility did not. The resolution includes wording that will require Sharks Ice to include the city’s name on exterior signage in any future naming-rights agreements for the city-owned facility. — The Mercury News 

NM State Athletics has announced a project to create six suites and a premium club seating area on the north end of the Pan American Center — the first suites built inside NMSU’s 53-year-old basketball arena.

The project will be funded by an anonymous $2.9 million gift to the NMSU Foundation, and construction will begin March 8. The project is scheduled to be completed in December and be ready by the start of the NMSU men’s and women’s basketball conference seasons. NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia said he believes the club seating area could generate north of $200,000 per year, which he said will “create a dedicated revenue stream for the entire athletic department in perpetuity.”

“I think when you add this premium area, along with the new scoreboard and everything else that we’re doing on the court, I think it just adds to a more festive game day,” Moccia said. “It certainly allows you to not just make revenue but offer an area to thank all of the donors for all the monies they have invested in the program. Obviously they’re going to be paying for the suites, but it’s nice that if they want that experience or want that experience for their company, or their friends or family, they can purchase that, and they’re still helping out the program from a financial standpoint.”

Between 550 and 580 seats in the arena’s lower bowl will be displaced amid construction. The athletics department will work with affected season-tickets holders on finding new seats.

Once construction is done, there will be three suites on either side of a 32-seat club section. Directly behind the club section will be an area for club tickets holders and groups to convene during basketball and volleyball games, as well as concerts and other big events. 

The athletic department considered constructing suites in the south end of the arena as well, but prices were higher than anticipated, Moccia said. 

“When the lower bowl is filled, it feels like it’s a sold-out arena. I don’t know about the days of consistently trying to get 12,600 people in a building with a community of 102,000,” Moccia said. “Certainly when we manufacture a sellout, we’ll put all the bodies in there, but what do we realistically think is our maximum, and then what do we do with that upper level? I think you could take one side and maybe put some seats there, but this is a great first step, I think, for sure.” — Las Cruces Sun News 

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