OT: WMU probably building new hockey arena

Submitted by gwkrlghl on August 2nd, 2013 at 9:22 PM

Western will not confirm, but everything points to them replacing Lawson with a new fancy-pants arena to go along with their quasi-step up into the NCHC. Per the article, Western supposedly already has about $50 million pledged of the $60 million needed to build the arena but needs to close that gap probably before anyone says anything officially

This is going along with the $100 million donation Western has gotten to build a new med school. Looks like it's a good time to be in Kalamazoo. I'm hoping we'll see Western suceed in the NCHC but it's going to be tough sledding

Story: Link. Other Link

Comments

Michigan Arrogance

August 2nd, 2013 at 9:39 PM ^

interesting to see the smaller schools make big commitments to hockey. Miami, Western, etc. It's not just M, Wisc, Minn, BU, BC that have the top flight facilities anymore. I wonder if the ECAC will eventually follow suit, and if any on the new WCHA will as well.

WMUgoblue

August 2nd, 2013 at 9:47 PM ^

Lawson was in fine shape when I graduated in 2010, so it's a bit odd to build a new stadium. Maybe I missed it but did they say a location, because there isn't much room on campus aside from the IM soccer fields and Tennis Court area near the Rec.

gwkrlghl

August 2nd, 2013 at 10:57 PM ^

From a blog called "broncohockeyhotstove" (which just merged into WCHBlog)

 

The new building will connect to Lawson Arena and be constructed along its southeast side in what is currently a parking lot the school’s marching band uses for practice. Lawson Arena will remain in use for community hockey and skating events.

samsoccer7

August 2nd, 2013 at 9:54 PM ^

Grew up in kzoo (portage schools) and it's a great place to raise a family. The area is on an upswing and the new med school is going to be good for future potential doctors in Michigan. I have nothing to add regarding the hockey arena though. Good for WMU.

blue_in_kazoo

August 3rd, 2013 at 12:44 PM ^

that as a UM alum and Portage (next to Kazoo) resident, I love the atmosphere at Yost and at Lawson, and I've never considered the atmosphere/students to be much different between two.  Yost is a much nicer building, but the low metal roof and smaller size of Lawson makes it as loud (or louder) than Yost.  I think the Lunatics are great.  I was at the UM-WMU playoff games last season, and when the Lunatics were all over the UM fans it was deserved, since the UM fans right in front of me were being antagonistic, which I've never approved of when you're on the road.

One point about recruiting: At WMU, hockey is quickly becoming the #1 sport, so I think some players may be attracted to the thought of being BMOC at WMU, vs. being an athlete in the #3 sport at UM or MSU.  Just a thought.

 

First game Navy 1981

August 3rd, 2013 at 11:20 PM ^

Murray didn't build it, but rather inherited a reinvigorated program from Jeff Blashill, who left WMU to be an assistant with the Red Wings. He now sits in Grand Rapids with a recent Calder Cup on his coaching resume, and would be my favorite to replace Mike Babcock.

Sac Fly

August 3rd, 2013 at 1:02 AM ^

This is relevant to Michigan hockey. Western has started to recruit the state of Michigan very well; while at the moment this is a bigger issue for Michigan State, Western has started to gain interest from some of the states more elite prospects.

I don't think Western will ever challenge Michigan in recruiting like MSU could, but we have had free rein over the state since the end of the Comley era. That could start to come to an end.

angelfire710

August 3rd, 2013 at 1:18 AM ^

This is the next logial step in keeping quality talent and quality coaches in kalamazoo. They need to make the job more of a destination rather than a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

wildbackdunesman

August 3rd, 2013 at 12:17 PM ^

Western Michigan will lose a little something with the demise of the CCHA.

WMU could count on guaranteed sell outs and high demand for MSU and UofM, and perhaps even a few other teams.  I don't think they'll have that on a consistent basis even with powerhouses like North Dakota.

WMU had 8 CCHA colleges within a 5 hour drive from Kalamazoo.  In the NCHC, they have 1 college within a 5 hour drive (4.5 hours) Miami (NTM).  The next closest college is Nebraska Omaha at 9 hours.  WMU students could easily drive up 131 and attend a game at Ferris State and spend the night or make a return trip home that very night...that won't happen at any noticeable level in the NCHC.

Since WMU fans won't be able to easily travel to away games and opposing teams won't be able to as easily travel to Kalamazoo - you would expect ticket sales to have a negative impact.  WMU's hockey team will also pay more for travel.

In some sense, UofM lost that too, but I don't think it will hurt us as much as a school like WMU.