Well when it rains it pours, right?
This afternoon (11/5/20), not only was it announced that the arena that will house ASU’s hockey team had cleared its next to last hurdle (really its last, but more on that in a bit), but the Big 10 also announced the first half of its hockey schedule.
First the schedule. As revealed a few weeks ago, ASU will be playing a road only “Big 10” schedule. The only surprise when the schedule came out was the opening night. A couple of weeks ago, on College Hockey Southwest Weekly, Coach Powers told us that he expected to start the season on the 20th. Not that it is a big deal, I am sure the schedule changed several times between then and its release. The point is in two weeks, we will have hockey back.
The past two seasons ASU has won twenty games or more, if they do that this year…at least with the preseason expectations, holy smokes.
The Big 10 is expected to be loaded. They have five teams ranked in the preseason top 20 poll, a sixth team just outside the top 20, with only one team not receiving any votes at all. As I have said on the podcast, the NCHC may have what is considered the best conference in college hockey, but they are not usually top to bottom, like the Big 10 is expected to be this year.
ASU will open on Saturday the 14th, with a two-game series at Michigan. With a two game set at Michigan State the following Friday & Saturday. Times have not yet been revealed, my assumption is that they will do what they can to maximize the Big 10 Network television time. Especially these first few weeks, since they have not yet started playing any Big 10 basketball.
If ASU somehow manages to win 20 games this year, it would be a validation of what we all expected this team to be coming into this season. That validation could still be a reality, if they win 18 games. If the Big 10 is what everyone expects it to be, then 18 should get them into the NCAA tournament (virus permitting).
The other news that “broke” was that the finance committee of Arizona Board of Regents approved the proposed plan for the multi-purpose arena that will be the home for ASU hockey commencing with the 2021-2022 season. The vote of the full board is expected to take place on November 18th. It is expected to be approved. It will also be home for their volleyball & wrestling teams. It will, if you don’t know, have two sheets of ice and seat approximately 5,000 people for hockey. I am not aware of what the arena will seat for the other two sports. It is expected that the second sheet of ice will bring in revenue to offset the cost of the building. It will be next to where Packard Stadium used to be.
The one piece that did come out as news, is that ASU has also sold the naming rights to the building, but they are not making that public at this time. I am sure that there will be a donors’ name on there somewhere. Those rights were apparently sold for $16 million dollars.
The “groundbreaking”/construction is expected to start in January. With ASU playing its first season in the building being the 2021-22 season. Should ASU continue to win and make strides as a national power, they will not have any problems putting fannies in the seats. Not that they expected to have that problem to begin with.
Now that this seemingly is done, the final big question surrounding ASU hockey will be that much closer to being answered. Is this a fling with the Big 10 or is it a “one night” stand? We will not have very much longer to find out.
Bring on Michigan