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?