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NCHC Hockey: Target Center or Xcel Energy Center?

Trevor Olson scores during the Frozen Faceoff (Photo Credit: Russell Hons)

Today on his blog, Brad Elliot Schlossman pens that the during their spring meetings, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference could discuss where the league will hold the Frozen Faceoff after the 2017-18 season.

As most of you know, the Xcel Energy Center is once again open after the WCHA and Big Ten Hockey Conference decided to hold their conference playoffs on campus. Last season, the WCHA experienced great success by holding their league playoffs on campus. The NCHC isn’t at that point yet.

I am only speculating here, but, if and when UND doesn’t make the Frozen Faceoff, whatever building is hosting the event is going to be empty. Again, this year, when UND wasn’t playing, the Target Center was empty.

I’ve had many discussions with fans on where they want the Frozen Faceoff to be held. A staggering number of fans aren’t happy with the Target Center and hope that the Frozen Faceoff moves to the Xcel Energy Center. Feel free to chime in where you want the Frozen Faceoff to be held. You can record your vote at the bottom of the post.

One thing fans should consider, if the Frozen Faceoff moves to the Xcel Energy Center, it’s never going to be like it was before.

Xcel Energy Center

Here’s what I had to say back in March. Obviously, there’s no comparison between the Xcel Energy Center and the current makeup of the Target Center, but I am willing to see what improvements are made during the offseason.

Also, maybe our expectations are unreasonable? With the league’s current setup, I don’t ever see the Frozen Faceoff replicating the old Final Five. It’s not possible minus Big Ten schools Wisconsin and Minnesota. You’re never going to have 18,000 screaming fans for a Frozen Faceoff at the Xcel Energy Center. It’s just not possible.

While I am not overly sentimental, I enjoyed my experience with the Final Five. I loved having a three-day event in Minnesota’s capital city. One look will tell you that St. Paul is a lot cleaner than Minneapolis. But after four years of going to the Target Center, I am willing to make more memories there. IMHO, there are way more dining and drinking establishments in the area surrounding the Target Center than the Xcel Energy Center.

Target Center Cons

Looking back, there have been four Frozen Faceoffs at the Target Center, for the most part, the ice conditions have questionable, at best. This year, it appeared that the ice conditions had improved, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

I am not going to mince words, in its current form, the Target Center is a grungy, gross, worn out building that’s stuck in the 1990’s. Also, UND fans are used to first class facilities and the Target Center fails on many different levels.

This summer, the Target Center will be closed for all events and they’re going to finish the renovations to the building. When it’s all said and done, the Target Center “should” be a shiny, improved building. Those concerns should be addressed. I am actually willing to give the new upgraded Target Center a chance.

Target Center Pros

While I personally prefer the city of St. Paul to Minneapolis, the Target Center is in a better location than the Xcel Energy Center. There’s a bigger selection of hotels, restaurants, and bars to choose from.

I also like the skywalk system, you can walk from the Target Center to your hotel and never walk outside. That’s a big deal when the weather is cold outside.

Back in March, I wrote this. Now for the more important items. I’ve found some fabulous places to dine that I would like to recommend, you won’t be disappointed, they were really good. Rock Bottom Brewery and Ike’s Food and Cocktails.

When you’re on vacation and maybe you left the kids at home, why not have an adult beverage to start your morning? When in Rome, do as the Romans do, especially the day after St. Patricks Day. Check out my beverage selection that I had for breakfast. Yes, it was fabulous. Here’s a link to the breakfast menu. May I suggest their made to order omelet. You won’t be disappointed.

Rock Bottom Brewery brews their own beer and they have a great selection. They also have very good dining selection. Their steaks are fabulous. Yesterday, I had a shrimp and lobster taco and they were fabulous as well. My buddy Donn had their appetizer sampler that could probably feed two or three people. I had a bite or two from that and it was fabulous. Here’s a link to their menu. I suppose you’re thirsty and hungry.

2 thoughts on “NCHC Hockey: Target Center or Xcel Energy Center?

  1. I can’t say I agree with your sentiment on the establishments in St Paul being worse than Minneapolis. As a regular Wild game attendee and frequent Viking Game attendee, I find the servers to be much more personable and friendly in St Paul. It’s a hockey city, Minneapolis doesn’t seem to care all that much about the sport. There are a couple of great microbreweries in St Paul that I frequent, Tin Whiskers and Bad Weather. Flat Earth isn’t bad either, but it’s more of an Uber worthy trip. Pretty cool set up they have with it being an old mill. Tom Reid’s is always a good place to stop! There’s a pick of restaurants that are decent on 7th in addition. For bar hoppers it’s a matter of walking next door to the next place and not trying to figure out what place doesn’t suck on your cell phone while trying to navigate the streets of Minneapolis. There are a ton of hotels in the area and it is much more walkable than Minneapolis is.

    It feels like more of a community to me. Maybe you just prefer the highly urban atmosphere of hipsters and yuppies in Minneapolis I guess. I just have found servers to be incredibly rude there from my wandering. St Paul, not so much. It’s more laid back which is why I think it is infinitely better.

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  2. Point taken, I guess I am more concerned about proximity to the arena and walking distance. During the Final Five, I stayed at the Holiday Inn and walked across the street.

    Trust me, I like the Xcel Energy Center, but it’s not going to be anything like the old days.

    If you read what I wrote, I think the Target Center has a lot of work to go to improve. The improvements they made were so far are pretty good. The rest of the upgrades will be finished this summer.

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