New Maysa unveiled

Minotauros host first game at Pepsi Rink at 7 p.m. tonight

Garrick Hodge/MDN An overview of the arena's seating is pictured.

After a little more than a year of construction, the new Maysa Arena will be revealed to Minot.

Hockey fans in the area will have an opportunity to see the venue for the first time when the Minot Minotauros and rival Bismarck clash at 7 p.m. tonight.

“This is a project we started talking about months ago and it’s been a long time coming,” said Director of Operations for the Minot Park District Jarrod Olson. “From doing the groundbreaking last September, to be playing a game in it 13 to 14 months later is quite amazing to me.”

The venue, called the Pepsi Rink, cost about $10.9 million and was completed about two months prior to the original target date of mid January, 2017. Olson said because of a mild 2015 winter and the efficiency of Rolac Contracting, the Pepsi Rink construction was able to stay ahead of schedule.

Maysa Arena’s new crown jewel will be home to the Minotauros, Minot State and the Minot High girls and boys hockey teams in addition to hosting various youth tournaments all year long.

The Pepsi Rink also features 1,800 stadium seats plus another 250 barstool seats that extend around the rink, four indoor ticket windows, a merchandise store, LED lighting and improved handicapped seating from the other two rinks at Maysa Arena.

But it’s not a completely finished product yet. Minor tweaks still need to be made on the upper level and each team — excluding the Minotauros — still needs to finish their respective locker rooms.

“There’s two things people will notice when they walk in today,” said Maysa Arena Manager Bob Gillen. For now, the concessions will just be limited concessions because there’s some things they’re waiting on that’s out of everyone’s control in Minot. And our community room will not be totally complete because we’re still working on a few things there. Other than that, everything else should be near completion.”

Fans aren’t the only ones excited about a new hockey facility. Minotauros players took the ice Wednesday for the team’s first practice in the Pepsi Rink and coach Marty Murray noticed a different aura with his players.

“Our guys were like a bunch of big kids out there on Christmas morning,” Murray said. “We’ve talked about a new rink for a few years. Just having it up and running and having it up for games gets people very excited.”

The Tauros will also host the Minnesota Wilderness at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Minot State makes its Pepsi Rink debut at 7:35 p.m. Saturday against Jamestown.

Beavers coach Wade Regier said the new addition will be a helpful recruiting tool for prospective players.

“In previous recruiting visits, I would be very hesitant to show the arena and wouldn’t talk too much about our practice arrangement,” Regier said. “We’d be practicing at the All Seasons one week and then the Eck Rink another depending on the schedule. But this is going to be the focal point of our facility.”

Regier added the city has its eyes set on bringing the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I national tournament to Minot in 2019. The tournament is hosted in Columbus, Ohio, for the next two seasons.

“The biggest thing for us is now that it’s done, we’re going to be actively bidding for the national tournament,” he said. “The facility is at the top of the requirements that they use from that perspective. The last time it was in Minot was 2000 at the All Seasons Arena, and I think it’s something we’re looking forward to bringing it back.”

Garrick Hodge covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Garrick_Hodge.