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I am a HOCKEY fan! * Gardening and Quilting are fun hobbies for me.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New Arena "Just for ME" PART 11

The city of Cedar Park had tried to land a state-of-the-art multi-million dollar facility since the turn of the century.

 In May 2007, the Cedar Park 4A Board listened to proposals from three firms, including the Austin Ice Bats, but was unable to find a suitable deal. I attended city council meetings to hear groups speak including the Austin figure skating club supporting the arena. On one evening Brett Seguin and a couple of other Ice Bats players were at the meeting.

After two previously failed attempts to find a suitable partnership, the agreement between the Hicks Sports Group and the City of Cedar Park was finalized—and the Cedar Park Center came to be.

 The Cedar Park Event Center will cost approximately $55 million, of which $43 million will come from the city. The Cedar Park 4A Board proposed funding the project with 4A bonds, and voters passed the movement November 2006. Funding for the event center does not involve any property tax increases.
The remaining $12 million, roughly 22 percent, will be covered by Hicks.

Hicks will also pay rent of $2.5 million over the next 25 years, with the first five years being rent free. Capital repairs will be funded solely by Hicks for the first eight years. The next eight years will be co-funded by Cedar Park and Hicks, with repairs in the final years of the agreement being the responsibility of the city. (from Wikipedia)

Construction began in 2008 and the new arena was officially opened in September 2009.

An AHL hockey team playing in a brand new hockey arena
built less than 2 miles from my house?
How lucky can I be?

Of course, as soon as they were available we bought season tickets, (choosing seats in section 104, in the corner near the glass) in a location very similar to the seats we had in the Wichita and Topeka arenas.
In March of 2009, Ann and I attended a Phoenix Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators game in Glendale AZ. I got to see Wayne Gretzky as a coach.

The 2009 Stanley Cup Finals ended on June 12, 2009, with the Pittsburgh Penguins defeating the Detroit Red Wings four games to three to win the championship.

In August of 2009, Ann went to live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to attend the University of British Columbia.

I attended the Cedar Park Center grand opening event Sept. 25, 2009.

The inaugural season for the Texas STARS was very successful. After finishing second in the West Division, the Stars swept Rockford in the first round of the playoffs, then claimed their first division championship by defeating Chicago four games to three. The Stars then defeated Hamilton in another seven game series to become the Western Conference champions. The Stars eventually fell to Hershey in game six of the 2010 Calder Cup Finals.

During the season we have met and become friends with several hockey fans. I will save those memories and photos for another chapter, for another time.

Ann and I with the AHL Calder Cup
Ann was finished with classes at UBC for the semester and came back to Texas to enjoy the Calder Cup Finals with us. She was especially interested in seeing the Hershey goalie - Michal Neuvirth. (who would later go on to play for the Washington Capitals)

Here we are in our Playoff Beards
The 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs ended with the Chicago Blackhawks defeating the Philadelphia Flyers four games to two to win their fourth championship and their first since 1961.

During the summer, Ann and I enjoyed watching the Chicago Blackhawks parade and the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Ann returned to Vancouver for her final year at UBC.

Ann and I attended a Barons hockey game in Oklahoma City in December during Ann‘s Christmas break. At the game, I visited with a lady about their transition from a CHL to AHL team (Blazers to Barons). We discussed the booster club and how the AHL level is much more controlling of contact with the players than the CHL was.

The last incarnation of the Oklahoma City Blazers came into being in 1992 with the revival of the CHL. They were one of the most successful minor league hockey franchises of all time, routinely drawing 8,000 fans or more. 

Hockey history in Oklahoma City is richer than most people realize, dating back to a team that played a few seasons in the 1930's.

Ann shooting pucks at a dryer (Like Crosby)

 I enjoyed watching the 2010 Olympic Games from Vancouver BC, especially since Ann was there. Some of the hockey games were played in Thunderbird arena on Ann’s UBC Campus, the others in Roger’s arena - home of the Canucks. The hockey tournament was very good. The final GOLD medal game was USA vs CANADA. It could not have been written any better. A good quality, fast paced, evenly scored game. Late in the 3rd period, with the score Canada 3 - 2, the USA scored to tie the game. In overtime, Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal and Canada went wild!

Ann at the Thunderbird Arena at UBC in Vancouver

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