Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by lexeoe, Aug 7, 2011.
Does anyone know why Boston or St. Paul wouldn't be able to host the whole event at the same site? I'm pretty sure all the events were at the Xcel in 2008. Although, I'd rather see St. Paul host a Skate America since the weather is nicer in the fall and hopefully more fans would come then.
While all of the events in St Paul were held at the Xcell in 2008, the practice rink was about 45-60 minutes via a convoluted bus route. Boston split it between the Northeastern University rink for the novice and most of the junior events and then the TD center (then Fleet) for the remainder. It might be far too expensive to hold the entire thing at the Fleet Center.
The St. Paul Nationals occurred the winter after the bridge collapse. The route to the practice rink that was used may be less convoluted now. (I don't live there, so I really don't know how quick a trip it is.)
If St. Paul hosts again in 2014 and decides to do practices off-site, they would probably be at Pleasant Arena again, which is the home rink for the St. Paul FSC. It is only 1.8 miles (or 5 minutes) from the Xcel Energy Center.
I was thinking it was at Pleasant Arena. The 35W bridge collapse was in Minneapolis, not St. Paul, and I'm not sure why it would have affected the route to the practice rink?
I think at one point they had considered having practices on one of the rinks at the University of Minnesota campus, and a lot of bridge traffic was routed through there (also they were building a football stadium at the time, which didn't help the traffic situation). Anyway, by the time Nationals was actually scheduled, they'd decided on Pleasant Arena as the practices.
And while the bridge is now fixed, the U of MN campus is still a mess as far as roads and traffic goes, because they're constructing the St. Paul to Minneapolis LRT system (although that's supposed to open in 2014).
I don't believe either location has 2 rinks in the same facility that meet the requirements (ie. 10,000 seats for main arena & 1,500 seats for secondary arena). Nor do they have a main arena with the additional space to add tank ice and seating as Greensboro did.
If I remember correctly, the practices at Pleasant Arena in St. Paul were closed to any public viewing, but weren't they one of the first to hold all the competition events for novice and junior in the main arena?
Yes and yes.
I didn't care about the money - I was more interested in having the right to see all the practices with my all-event ticket. IIRC, the all-event ticket would have gotten me into the original practice rink that was scheduled to be on the University of Minnesota campus, but the policy changed when the venue changed to the Pleasant Arena due to its limited seating. I remember having a polite dialogue with someone behind the scenes, but it was to no avail. If you meant practices in the main arena in St. Paul were "really late at night," it was most likely because of the packed competition schedule. That was also the first time that an event was split and held at different times on the same day (Senior Ladies FS).
Yes, I know. I work on the U of M campus. I can barely get to my building.
Do most major arenas have more than one ice sheet?? I'm not sure if I'm reading this correctly.
What is tank ice? And why would they need to add more seating? They don't sell out as is.
No, most major arena's with that much seating have only 1 surface, which is why a secondary location for practices has been very common at Nationals. That's what made Greensboro unique, that you didn't have to leave the venue for anything.
Sort of like a temporary rink. Greensboro "created" a second ice surface for practices in their attached conference space by constructing a temporary rink. They brought in bleacher seats and those were not sold, they were open to the public. I remember there being lots of school groups that came in. It was a pretty convenient setup, with the main arena upstairs and both the fanfest and practice ice downstairs. San Jose was able to add an outside skating rink next to the Fairmont hotel, so it looks like you can put them pretty much anywhere. It was fun watching the kids skate in shorts
Now with the start of 2013 Nationals, juveniles and intermediates will be competing, so I imagine that the secondary arena will be used for their events (in addition to some practices) and those seats would be sold.
No, most major arenas have 1 large surface for ice, basketball court, concert stage, etc. Tank ice refers to a sheet of ice that is put down temporarily, w/o pipes or other infrastructure to support it. The practice rink in Greensboro was tank ice - a sheet of ice and temporary bleachers set up in what was normally an exhibit hall.
It seems silly with the limited seating thing, since practices are rarely full. I still can't get over splitting events, especially the pairs over two days like this year (It was two days right, or did it just seem like two different days because of the time in between?) Teams like Z/B and even V/B got kinda screwed because they were better than a couple of teams ahead of them, but the time apart must be very hard for the judges to be objective when they get to the "A" team portion of the event. Not to mention the unfairness to the skaters in general, who get half the crowd turnout.
The best secondary rink arrangements I remember in the past 8 years were in Portland, Spokane, and Greensboro. In Portland at the Rose Quarter, the Novice events and practices were held across a plaza at the convention center where tank ice was set up. It was a 1 minute walk between the convention center and the arena. In Spokane in 2007, the secondary rink was set up in a convention center adjacent to the host hotel and connected by a hotel walkway. That rink was only a one mile walk from the big arena, and the shuttle busses were city busses that ran every 10 minutes, so they were super convenient. My favorite host city was Portland because of the convenient two rink arrangement and the superb transportation options (there were USFS shuttle busses plus free light rail that you could pick up one block from the hotel and ride about 10 minutes to the Rose Quarter).
Honestly, the convenience for fans to watch practices takes a back seat to the considerations for the athletes and their coaches. When practices are separated by great distances, it creates a scheduling nightmare for coaches who have multiple skaters in multiple disciplines and levels. Most skaters have to bring two coaches to Nationals now in order to handle the scheduling conflicts.
Actually I have never been that sure that USFS is that worried about the "consideration for the athletes and thier coaches" Otherwise why would they have done some of the things they have done or allowed some of the changes (Atlanta's "opps we moved practice out of the city" comes to mind...)
"If" Indianapolis could get their act together and bid on Nationals and "If" World Arena ice stil exists, then it would be an easy 3 block walk between arena and 2 more sheets of ice.
Hey, I can still hope, can't I?
I will hope with you! I'm still wuzrobbing Kansas City for losing bids two years in a row.
Where are the rinks you are talking about? The Pan Am Plaza rinks are OK for practices. The Bankers Life Fieldhouse (where the Pacers play) is where the Indiana Ice minor league hockey team is supposed to play next year. It would be awesome!
Another great facility would be Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena. Second sheet of ice for practice under the same roof!
The ifs are the issue. But it's great that Indianapolis is a desired city to bid/host it!
The Pan Am Plaza rinks (actually called the Indiana/World Skating Academy... not the World Arena), is still the home to Indy Challenge. The logistics are fabulous in Indianapolis for such sporting events. The I/WSA 2-rink facility (not the nicest, but hey, it gets the job done for Indy Challenge and ice is FAR FAR FAR better in January) is only two blocks from The Bankers Life Fieldhouse. There are plenty of hotels within a 5 block walk of both facilities. The mall is directly between the two, there are dozens of places to eat within 5 blocks, plenty of parking, and those flying in don't even need to rent a car due to the $7 round-trip express shuttle to/from the nice new airport.
Unfortunately, a Nationals in Indianapolis just isn't on the radar anytime soon. The amount of skaters in our metro area is perhaps 1/3 of what it was just 20 years ago. The sizes of the clubs now makes it difficult to pull off their own local competitions easily, and as a result no one seems to have the energy to do pursue something so large at this time. Our non-skating city volunteers are great about getting behind huge events like the Super Bowl, NCAA, and various motor sports... but our skating community would have to be 100% behind it, and I'm certain we'll all stretched too thin at the moment for something so big.
Check back in another decade or so. And of course, by then, the I/WSA rink may have found a new home in a far less convenient location. The owners of the building the rink is in (I/WSA simply rents, and does not own) have been trying unsuccessfully to sell the place for many years (7-10+ years, I think)... but the parking garage attached to the building is in such disrepair, that the structure can't really support a mega- or even modest hotel/commercial/residential building... so no one is really interested in the high-priced downtown property in this economy, and I'll be shocked at this rate if it ever sells.
USFS just announced that SC of Boston will host 2014 Nationals.
closing this thread as there is a new one for the official location