The Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls officially has its first main tenant. Today at a press conference, the Stampede hockey club along with the City and SMG announced the Herd will be making the move to the $117 million facility in the fall of 2014. That means this next September say goodbye to the old arena and hello to the events center.
"This is going to go away, there's a lot of memories in this building. Yeah we want to move out but I'm sitting here thinking, maybe we should stay. Nah, we won't do that," Stampede managing partner Gary Weckworth said.
From raising banners to training up elite hockey players, the arena has seen its fair share of excitement when it comes to hockey. The Stampede had its very first game back in 1999 and the club has been growing ever since. Now it's time to see what the future holds in the brand new PREMIER Center.
"Coming from this building, it's very compact and very on top of the action but I think when they walk in and they can see the fact that they can see the entire ice, and they're going to be able to spread out and still have that intimacy and that feel that they're right on top of the action, they're really going to see the difference. It's going to be great," Stampede President/CEO Tom Garrity said.
Great for the Herd and the City of Sioux Falls. The Stampede are considered the main anchor now of the new building, and that's something officials can build around.
"This is like the best moment in a general manager for a new building's life to be able to announce the very first contract. I'm not going to talk about any of the other ones yet because you're just going to have to wait," Terry Torkildson said.
With 12,000 seats and state-of-the-art amenities, hockey fans will be hard pressed to find another venue in the USHL that's better-equipped to provide a top-notch fan experience.
"I think we're at the very tippy top of the list. With all due respect to all the other venues in the USHL, I'm going to say it's going to be really hard to say for anybody that this is anything less than the best. I think we're the very best," Garrity said.
Workers are busy installing the ice floor. Once in place, the surface will be better quality than the arena ice. It's expected to be clearer and faster for skaters. This season the Stampede have averaged just more than 4,000 fans per game at home.