New pro team in Reno would mean progress for area youth hockey
Recently, a 10-year agreement to bring minor league hockey to the Reno Events Center was approved by the Reno City Council.
Management of the facility would then be turned over to the Reno Puck Club.
A hockey team, most likely in the ECHL, would then begin play in the fall 2018 and would potentially serve as an affiliate to the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.
Reno Puck Club partner Ken Lehner told www.ThisIsReno.com that the pro team would have a domino effect on the overall hockey landscape in town.
“This is not just about bringing professional hockey to Reno,” said Lehner. “This is about bringing ice to Reno and there’s a big difference because ice means youth hockey. Ice means youth tournaments. Ice means college hockey. Ice means curling. Ice means Disney. Ice means figure skating. Ice means more hotel room nights downtown.”
Originally built in 2004, the Reno Events Center isn’t hockey-ready as it is mostly used for concerts, athletic events, conventions, meetings and the NBA D-League’s Reno Bighorns.
That said, the building sits empty about 300 days per year.
The minor pro hockey team would add approximately 40 games a season, on top of potential youth games and tournaments.
Management-wise, the Puck Club would take over in July and pay for the renovations, which are estimated to be around $5.6 million. Almost $3 million would be spent on locker rooms, $2.4 million for the ice surface and about $100,000 for elevators, according to the website report.
Once completed, the events center would have a shade under 4,800 seats and 246 suite-level seats for hockey. During non-ice events, the amount of seating would revert to 6,500.
The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority will cease managing the events center this summer and will pay $500,000 per year to the Puck Club from 2017-21.
Councilman David Bobzien is excited for the partnership with the Puck Club.
“We have a facility that will be activated,” Bobzien said in the report. “We’ll have more activity downtown and we’ll generate more interest in our downtown.”
— Matt Mackinder