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Sports Illustrated Names Xcel Energy Center Top NHL Arena

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild



 The six-year old Xcel Energy Center has received its share of accolades in its relatively brief existence.
Sports Illustrated Magazine has named Xcel Energy Center its top choice of NHL arenas in its October 2, 2006, NHL Preview issue, calling it “a superb six-year old venue,” Xcel Energy Center today announced. The arena is home to the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, which has sold out all 230 games it has played in the building, including 205 regular season, 17 preseason and eight playoff contests.

To date, more than 900 sporting events, concerts, family shows and special events have been held in the building. A total of 415 professional, collegiate, high school and youth hockey games have been decided on Xcel Energy Center’s ice. Coincidentally, the arena celebrates its sixth anniversary on September 29, 2006.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our anniversary,” said Xcel Energy Center Vice President and General Manager Jack Larson. “It’s fitting that the ‘State of Hockey’ would be home to one of the NHL’s best arenas.”

Xcel Energy Center has also played host to several marquee hockey events in its brief history including the 2004 NHL All-Star Weekend, 2004 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Cup of Hockey, 2003 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and 2002 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four, which returns in 2011. Last fall, the arena hosted two games for the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team as part of its “Skate To Torino” tour. Each year the arena hosts the nation’s top collegiate hockey tournament, the WCHA Men’s Final Five; the celebrated Minnesota State High School League Boys’ Hockey Tournament; and the Schwan Cup, a high school holiday hockey tournament. This past spring, the Girls’ State High School Hockey Tournament was held in the building for the first time as well.

“There are a lot of beautiful buildings out there, but what really sets Xcel Energy Center apart is its dedicated staff,” said WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod. “Every person in the organization makes the WCHA Final Five a wonderful experience year after year.”

Regarded as America’s most intimate arena, Xcel Energy Center has been recognized as one of the best venues for sporting events, concerts and events worldwide. In 2003, ESPN The Magazine rated Xcel Energy Center No. 1 for “Best Stadium Experience.” In addition to hockey, Xcel Energy Center has been nominated four times (2001-2003, 2005) for “Arena of the Year” by leading concert-industry publication Pollstar Magazine. The venue consistently receives accolades for its superior sight lines, acoustics, and overall entertainment experience.

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