U of M to shrink ice surface at Mariucci Arena
MINNEAPOLIS, MN. (Northern News Now) - A staple of Minnesota Gopher hockey is coming to an end after 30 years.
The Olympic-sized sheet of ice at Mariucci Arena will be downsized after the end of the 2022-23 season.
The 200-foot long by 100-foot wide arena is 15 feet wider than the traditional, NHL-sized ice rink.
Big rinks like the U’s came into fashion after the 1980 Miracle on Ice game took place on a larger sheet. The U of M installed their big rink in 1993.
The Gophers built their lineups around the larger rink, recruiting players whose speed and skill would allow them to take advantage of the extra real estate.
Some hockey fans are critical of the larger rink size, saying it leads to less scoring and player contact.
Nevertheless, in June of 2022, the U of M Board of Regents approved renovation plans at Mariucci and Ridder Arenas. These included installing a conventional, NHL-sized rink in Mariucci.
With the reduction in ice size, the program can add between 200 and 300 seats at Mariucci.
Removal of the old rink and installation of the new boards and glass will begin shortly after the current hockey season wraps up.
Crews will also upgrade the ice-making infrastructure at both Mariucci and Ridder.
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