UPDATED July 21, 2017 — A proposed Maryland Heights ice center could save the university money and shorten student-athletes’ commute to practice and games, according to a university official.
Lindenwood has been discussing leasing a proposed ice center with the project’s developers, a group that includes the St. Louis Blues, said Brad Wachler, vice president of intercollegiate athletics.
Lindenwood women’s hockey, men’s hockey, hockey cheerleading and synchronized skating teams have been training at the Lindenwood Ice Arena, located 19 miles from Lindenwood in Wentzville, Mo. The current facility holds two NHL-sized ice arenas, each with 750 seats.
Lindenwood’s synchronized skating team was recently discontinued.
Current plans for the 3,500-seat ice arena place it in the northeast corner of Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park. Before construction can begin, project managers need to get a waiver from the National Park Service, and they need to overcome public opposition to building in the park, according to a July St. Louis Post-Dispatch article.
Wachler said the new ice center would probably end Lindenwood’s role at the Lindenwood Ice Arena.
“We certainly would not maintain two ice arenas,” Wachler said. “It wouldn’t be fiscally responsible for use to do so.”
He said the future of the Wentzville location won’t be his decision to make, but an ice center in Maryland Heights would mean a shorter, safer commute for students.
Leasing space would also be cheaper than maintaining the Lindenwood Ice Arena, Wachler said.
“We’re not the ones that would be responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and management of the facility so our ongoing cost will be fixed,” he said. “You have to lease space, but you don’t have any of that additional unknown cost to maintain a facility.”
The $44 million proposed ice center would mainly serve as a training facility for the Blues, according to a June St. Louis Post-Dispatch article.
Wachler said there’s been excitement over the possibility of sharing space with the Blues.
“Being in the same facility with an NHL team and sharing space with that team, I think certainly, most people would welcome the opportunity to do that,” Wachler said.