The Arizona hockey team is leaving the Tucson Convention Center for a new home, the Mosaic Quarter Iceplex.
Beginning in 2024, the Wildcats hockey team will be the main tenant in the new facility at the Kino Sports & Entertainment Complex, 2500 E. Ajo Way. There is also a goal to create a women’s hockey team, a Division II men’s hockey team and an adaptive athletics sled hockey team that would all use the rink, being built by Knott Development.
The Wildcats currently share ice time with the Tucson Roadrunners at the Tucson Convention Center Arena ice rink.
The complex will be the region’s second ice rink so it also will be available to use by the community, officials said.
Knott Development was approached by Pima County in 2018 about designing an ice rink. When he was awarded the contract, Knott President Frank Knott said his company approached the UA, which “was very receptive because they needed a new arena for not just men’s hockey, but also women’s and adaptive athletics,” Knott said in a phone interview.
The appeal behind this facility, while it starts with Arizona hockey, is that it creates a ripple effect throughout Southern Arizona, officials said.
The proposed 1-million-square-foot facility is a five anchor project, according to Knott Development ‘s press materials. The 90-acre project includes three other sports venues, seven restaurants and three hotels.
The project is a public-private partnership with Pima County, according to Knott Development. The county Board of Supervisors on July 6, 2021, approved a master developer partnership and development agreement with Knott Development that calls for the development team privately financing Mosaic Quarter, according to press materials.
University officials said the facility will allow them to expand and add even more ice sports for both club and intramural teams, said Campus Recreation Director Troy Vaughn.
“I’d say the one of the biggest factors was revenue, but there was also a major need for more ice facilities in Southern Arizona,” he said, ticking off the list of initiatives from creating a Division II team to starting a women’s hockey team. “We also want to be able to offer a variety of different intramural sports as well.”
Knott said he anticipates the iceplex will attract other businesses to the area.
“We are projecting to bring around $7 billion in business to the area with the construction of this project, while also bringing in 40,000 new jobs,” he said. “Community-wise we are putting a focus on helping under-privileged children in the county; $1.5 million [is] being used to help different children in the community play sports at the facility, and not just hockey. [An] example of this is the fact that we are doing a program called Skate with Us, where children will be able to skate with the players from the Arizona hockey team.”
The new Mosaic Quarter Iceplex is set to open in 2024. The facility will have three ice rinks to accommodate community adult and youth leagues, which could drive tourism with traveling leagues coming here to compete.
The University of Arizona's hockey program, started in 1979, is still relatively new, but having a dedicated ice rink will make a big difference for the program.
“There was a shift in how the hockey team wanted to operate seven years ago, and our current home, the Tucson Convention Center, was giving priority to the Tucson Roadrunners, so we were losing revenue overall,” Vaughn said in a Zoom interview. “Now, we can get our own revenue, marketing and a new building with all our own amenities.”
The Arizona hockey team finished each of the past three years with a winning record including sweeps of rival ASU to capture four consecutive Cactus Cups, the latest in January.
*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Mosaic Quarter Iceplex was owned by the University of Arizona. The UA is the top tenant for the facility but does not own it.
*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.
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