Will The New Bucks Arena Include Hockey?

With all the hype and excitement regarding a proposed new arena and entertainment district downtown centering around keeping the Milwaukee Bucks are we forgetting that the Milwaukee Admirals might not be invited?

Late this afternoon Milwaukee Admirals Governor & CEO Harris Turer went on the Mark Belling Show on News/Talk 1130 WISN and the conversation centered around a simple question. Will the proposed new Milwaukee Bucks arena include hockey? As of right now that appears to be a question that hasn’t been answered.

Turer said on his radio appearance that he has had two meetings with the Bucks. One of those was with new Bucks owner Marc Lasry and another one with President Peter Feigin.

“While the meetings were very cordial, and were an opportunity to get to know one another, at no time was I told we’re definitely in or they want us in,” said Turer. “It’s sort of a wait and see attitude.”

“I think for us here at the Admirals there was the recent press conference where the unveiling of the drawings of what the arena would look like as well as the ancillary development around the new arena came out,” continued Turer. “And at the end of the press conference someone asked if the Admirals would be part of the new arena and, at that point, I don’t want to say the question was blown off but it wasn’t answered.”

This all paints a very interesting picture and one that makes me realize something. Have we taken this new arena for granted? Did we assume that if there is a new arena that not only were the Bucks the main tenants but the Admirals were joining along in the fun?

“When I’ve spoken to people they’re like, “Oh, you’re just going to be a part of the new arena,” no not necessarily,” said Turer.

If the new arena goes through it would mean an end for the BMO Harris Bradley Center is very likely. Should a new arena go through with hockey not in the plans what does that then mean for the Admirals as far as their playing facility is concerned?

“We have to look at our options,” said Turer. “The most obvious option would be coming down and playing at the UW-M Panther Arena. That’s something we have to look at and we have to protect ourselves and look at our future.”

The Admirals possible new playing destination could would be a trip down memory lane at an old playing destination. The UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, formerly the MECCA and US Cellular Arena, was the site of Admirals hockey up until 1987 during the franchise’s International Hockey League (IHL) era.

“There are many rinks in our league that are far smaller than that,” said Turer in regards to the Admirals legitimately playing at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. “There would be improvements done to the arena but we definitely think it would be more than large enough.”

This also acts as an answer to another question. What happens if the new arena does not go through and the Bucks leave Milwaukee entirely? The Admirals wouldn’t be financially viable of being the main operating tenants of the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Alternative? UW-Milwaukee Panthers Arena.

The news in regards to this new arena having Admirals hockey involved is just about as murky as the actual logistics of the new arena actually coming to fruition. What I really love to hear is how committed Turer is to keeping the Admirals in Milwaukee as well as his excitement of new arena for the Bucks and what it could mean for the community.

“I’m in support, personally, of a new arena whether it includes the Admirals or not,” stated Turer. “I think not only the arena but the development around it would be a great thing for our city. If we’re not a part of it there is nothing I can do. I’m not going to be putting $150 million into the arena much like the new Bucks owners have or Herb Kohl’s put $100 [million]. I’m not going to be doing those things. Would we like to at least have a discussion to be part of a new facility? Sure. We’d certainly entertain that, look at what the economics mean of being a part of the arena and being a tenant there, but we’re not going to be putting in huge dollars. At the same time I have said publicly would I at least have a discussion of putting something into the pot, sure. I would definitely talk to them about it.”

Lots of questions. Not too many answers. This is a story that I’ve been following the moment the Bucks ownership change happened a year ago and it has been continental drift slow. I don’t entirely expect that to change too much in the foreground but the background chatter of getting things in-place is happening. Whether any of that chatter includes ice in the new arena doesn’t quite seem to be the case though.

What are your opinions on the new Bucks arena? Should hockey be part of this new arena’s plans or is it entirely on the Bucks and the sport of basketball seeing as it is their project? Would a move across the street to the UW-Milwaukee Panthers Arena be something you would be alright with? 

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18 thoughts on “Will The New Bucks Arena Include Hockey?”

  1. I’ve said before that the “U” (lets call it that) is a suitable arena for us and would offer a more intimate setting. Goal horn loud and even small crowds would feel big. I see that being where we end up honestly. Thr bucks aren’t thrilled sharing an arena with a hockey team and if it was in the plans wouldn’t they just say that?

  2. I personally don’t want to go to the new arena. The “U” as Jon puts it offers some advantages for us, such as better schedule opportunities, being closer to the action & the biggest perk… not having to pad the pockets of people who don’t seem to want us. The “U” offers the chance to maintain or lower ticket prices, while the new arena almost guarantees a BIG price jump.
    I trust Harris to do what is best for the fans & the team.

  3. I am assuming Marquette would play at a new arena. i also assume there would be concerts. i don’t know why they Bucks wouldn’t want to have 40 more dates at a new arena. As far as pricing if they had to move across the street, I doubt if they would lower them.

  4. Are the Bucks owners and President Peter Feigin trying to make enemies? First, they got people in the state legislature angry with their 10 day window for a vote. Now they want to alienate the Admirals fans? The only people who are their natural allies for a new arena?
    I would boycott the Bucks, except that I have been to two Bucks games in the BC since it opened.

    I think the Bucks are leaving town, as the new ownership has tin ears, has offended segments of the population, i.e. owning a bank with numerous foreclosed and vacant homes in Milwaukee, the people who want more money going to parks and playgrounds, the State Legislators in Madison and who knows what other people. One of the three Bucks owners has already stated that he will not put up additional money towards a new arena, but is willing to spend additional money as part of the development deal (a neighboring restaurant or tavern to be built in the future).

    While I would like to see a new arena housing both teams, I am not so sure that a Bucks only venue is a good deal for Milwaukee. Is Marquette U also going to be evicted? Would that change your opinion on the new arena?

  5. BTW, I went to my first Admirals game at the “U” in 1981. It was called the MECCA Arena back then. The Admirals started playing in the IHL in 1977. I suspect that the team began playing there in 1977, or before. Don’t get your info from Wikipedia; some of it is wrong!

  6. Sad thing is with the AHL rearanging affiliates, Milwaukee might be on the outside looking in. I am a fan, a ticket holder but a realist. No one has broached the thought of Milwaukee losing a franchise. Milwaukee might lose the franchise and be like Green Bay. Host a USHL Team.

  7. ^ Turer said in an interview (can’t remember where) that he has no intention of selling the franchise or moving the team. It’s not like Nashville can just force the Admirals to move since the team is independently owned.

  8. Yes steve c i have also heard that from Turer and it mad me relieved. The AHL probably wouldn’t want to lose MKE with our proximity to Chicago, Rockford, and Grand Rapids it makes scheduling of road trips easier and keeps our division intact. It’s a shame our beloved home the BC is going to be gone after a few years regardless of what the Bucks decide. It’s still a great venue. If we move to the “U” can we bring the jumbotron and dasher boards as welcoming gifts?

  9. Asfan, I don’t think I can agree with the statement “Now they want to alienate the Admirals fans? The only people who are their natural allies for a new arena?” I am a big Ads fan and I couldn’t care less about a new arena. The BC is fine. As for a new arena, sure, if they want to build it with no taxpayer involvement, then fine, but don’t take my money and then also say, oh, and this arena is for basketball only.

    As a fan, I’d be fine going back to the UWM Arena. I don’t know if the team or the players would like it (at least the ones who have had the amenities of the BC), but it’s probably reality.

    The part that disgusts me the most of the entire new arena thing is just how smug the new Bucks owners are about the entire deal and how they don’t even seem to be considering that there are 4 other teams that play between the BC and the UWM Arena that need a home and have to have schedules worked out with each other. The sense I get is that they really want it to be the BUCKS arena. And by that I mean BUCKS ONLY.

  10. Fan in the Falls: The one thing I will say is if course the Bucks want this to be the Bucks arena. It is their arena and their money prominently going into it because they’re the ones under the threat of moving out of Milwaukee. All the other tenants of the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Bucks or no Bucks, will still be here regardless. It’s the Bucks and their owners who need to get this arena pushed through or the franchise will likely move and the sale of the Bucks to the new owners will be nullified by the NBA in 2017 per Adam Silver’s agreement of the ownership change. They’re thinking for themselves because they literally have to think for themselves. Once any sort of actual greenlight or foundation is set that this arena will go through that’s when I think actual discussions will get laid out for the other BMOHBC tenants to join the new arena. For the time being though the Bucks and their ownership must focus on their long term future and that long term future is getting a new arena built or at least in construction by 2017.

  11. Is there a possibility of the tenants of “The U” moving to the BC when the Bucks leave it? The BC is the more modern arena of the 2, and is purpose built for hockey. It would be a shame to tear it down. No the Ads can’t run the BC themselves, but maybe with UWM, Marquette, the Wave and other attractions it could be feasible. Heck, bring back arena football. It just doesn’t make sense to move into a 40+ Year old building, when there is a better facility alternative across the street. My 2 cents.

  12. Corax: The Admirals don’t make near enough to be the main operating tenants of the BC. I’m not sure how many years the Ads have turned a profit since Harris Turer bought the team but I would guarantee you that the Ads stepping into the BC would bleed the team dry and force him out. Ditto with the likes of Marquette. I’m just not sure that they would financially survive holding down the BC as its fort either. It’s destined for demolition I feel regardless of a Bucks new arena.

  13. I agree with Daniel here. Even with Marquette already playing there, the other teams would not make up for the Bucks either leaving or going into a new arena. I do wonder what the cons are for the Bucks not wanting the Admirals as a tenant.

    I have not been in the old arena in years. I saw some Bucks games there and it was a great place to watch because you were close to the action. The building is over 60 years old. I did not start going to hockey games until 94 so I don’t know what hockey is like at the old arena.

  14. The Admirals began playing at the Arena in their final season in the USHL in 75-76 and between higher rent and importing players from Canada almost folded before they won the championship. The Pettits stepped in and saved the team from folding and upgraded to the IHL, I had season tickets during that time and I disagree with people who say you would be closer to the action. I had good seats but nothing compared to the great seats at the BC. I broached the subject in the fall with Jon Greenberg and he reminded me that the BC was built for hockey and who knew how the new arena, if built, would look for hockey, so maybe the Arena would be a step back and maybe it wouldn’t. Daniel, has anyone asked what Nashville’s take is on the subject? I’ve become quite fond of the Preds and would hate to start over with a new team. That said wherever they play I will remain loyal to the Admirals.

  15. Glenn: Nashville’s affiliation agreement with the Admirals lasts until 2016-17. With how well the relationship has been, and for as long as it has lasted, I don’t expect that to change and a venue change shouldn’t impact that business partnership.

  16. I think Daniel’s right when he says “It’s destined for demolition I feel regardless of a Bucks new arena.” I can’t pinpoint exactly why, but it feels like by tearing down the BC, basically every arena-based sports team in Milwaukee sans the Bucks is getting the shaft.

    To be honest, though, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Wave aren’t around too much longer. They have been around since 1984, but that team has changed leagues and/or owners so many times over the past 10 years and their attendance is painfully low. To me, when Tozer “left,” it was the beginning of the end. Has anyone looked at how expensive tickets are to a Wave game? It’s ridiculous!

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