The State Building Commission Wednesday voted 4-2 in favor of building the 27.9 million dollar hockey facility that will serve as a game facility for the women, and a practice facility for the men. The facility will be named the "La Bahn Arena" in honor of Charles and Mary Ann La Bahn who were the lead donors on the project.
The facility is long over due. Currently the men have to ride scooters out to the Bob Johnson hockey facility at the Alliant Energy Center. The new facility which will be connected to the Kohl Center provides the men's team a home to practice every day right on campus where they can use the same locker room that they use for games.
The new facility should be a big time recruiting chip for Mike Eaves. In an interview with Andy Baggot, Eaves noted, "It's the final jewel in the crown that we have as a hockey program."
The facility is well deserved for the women's program as well. The women currently practice at the Shell and play their home games at the much too large Kohl Center. The 2,400 seat facility will be something they can call their own.
Currently the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is the only program in the country to have a hockey only game facility for their women's program. Now head coach Mark Johnson's Badger women's program will be second to none facility wise.
Construction will begin in the spring and the facility is set to open for the 2012 hockey season.