Ten luxury suites overlooking the ice along the west end of the arena.
Ten luxury suites overlooking the ice along the west end of the arena.

Looking Up At the Ice Arena

by Ian Marks

Skyboxes and luxury suites on tap for 2009–10 hockey season

Over two million fans have cheered for the Hockey Huskies at nearly seven hundred games since the John J. MacInnes Student Ice Arena opened its doors in 1972. Now those fans have something more to shout about.

Last year, the arena got a new epoxy floor and comfortable, new black-and-gold seats replaced the wooden originals. An entire section at ice level was made handicapped-accessible. The improvements were supported by donations from alumni and friends and from student fees.

By the time the first puck is dropped in 2009, fans will also be able to enjoy games from ten luxury suites overlooking the ice along the west end of the arena. Each will have its own theme, and all are equipped with a wet bar, a drink refrigerator, and a flat-screen TV with both cable and an in-house feed of the game. Complete food service from Michigan Tech Catering Services will also be available. The suites were made possible through a $1 million donation by Tech benefactors Ruanne and John '61 Opie.

The two larger suites seat eight, with an additional standing capacity of four. Rent for an entire season is $5,500, which includes twelve season tickets. The eight smaller suites have seating for six, with standing capacity for four. Cost to rent a smaller suite for the season is $4,500, including ten season tickets. Three-season packages are available at a significant discount.

For those who just want to whoop it up at a game with a few dozen of their closest friends, the two existing skyboxes are being renovated. Each holds 65 to 130 people; prices start at $400 per game and include most of the amenities of the luxury suites.

The suites and skyboxes will not only give fans an exciting new way to enjoy hockey, they may also help recruit players, said head coach Jamie Russell.

"When we are out recruiting, facilities are the one tangible that we can show a prospective student-athlete," he said. "We can't show them a travel budget or a recruiting budget. Facilities are the one object that we can use to show a player the commitment that the school has toward our program."

Athletic Director Suzanne Sanregret agreed. "The WCHA is the most competitive hockey conference in America," she said. "We need to have a top-notch facility to stay competitive with the other teams in the league. These improvements will keep us on par with the other arenas in our league and around the nation."

For more information or to reserve a suite or a skybox for the 2009–10 hockey season, contact Jonathan Hamilton at 906-487-0914, jbhamilt@mtu.edu.