Arizona hockey gets renovations right in time for regular season
As hockey season begins and fans begin to pack the Tucson Convention Center Arena once again, some people may not recognize the newly renovated arena.
In March, the TCC started its renovation process on the 40-year-old arena in order to improve the experience of people attending shows and events. As well, this project will help the city reach its goal of creating more culture downtown, according to a city of Tucson press release.
“Every time I visited the TCC, I was excited to go to an event there but never thrilled about the actual venue,” said Jordan Trejo, a marketing junior. “But after seeing pictures of the upgrades and hearing about what it will look like it’s going to be a fun place to go regardless of the game or show there.”
This $7.8 million project has built many enhanced fan amenities that include new concession stands, restrooms, seating, lighting, sound video boards and scoreboards.
Steve Kozachik, a Tucson City Councilman, is praised for his support and involvement in advocating passing the TCC project funding. Kozachik is also the associate director of facilities for the UA’s athletics department and has experience with renovation projects on Arizona Stadium and McKale Center.
Since the 1980-1981 season, the TCC has served as the arena for Arizona hockey. Although the hockey team is associated with the university, the team and TCC receive no direct funding from the UA.
The new upgrades funded by the city should help the venue draw a larger crowd to the games.
“I think the new arena will have quite an impact,” said Jake Campbell, a rookie UA hockey player. “With more people attending the games, it should create an amazing atmosphere for our hockey team to play in front of even larger crowds than we do now. A newly remodeled arena and a new hockey team. It’s a perfect match.”
Due to construction, the Wildcats have had no practice time on the TCC ice. The UA hockey season officially begins this weekend on Sept. 27, when the Wildcats take on NAU in Flagstaff.
In a scheduling decision likely influenced by the renovations, Arizona hockey will have eight consecutive road games before hosting its 2014-15 home opener on Oct. 24, when Arizona takes on Liberty University at the TCC.
From that point, the Wildcats will have 18 home games over their next 21 games, including two separate streaks of nine consecutive home games.
Follow Zoe Wolkowitz on Twitter @zowolko