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Xcel Energy Center celebrates anniversary

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

-- It has been a decade since the groundbreaking for Xcel Energy Center and the grand opening of Saint Paul RiverCentre in downtown Saint Paul, it was announced today by Minnesota Sports & Entertainment, the parent company that oversees management of the two facilities.

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Arena Fun Facts
• The facilities have hosted visits by U.S. Presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and William J. Clinton.
• Shania Twain holds the attendance record at Xcel Energy Center with a concert by 20,554 fans.
• The first event held in Xcel Energy Center was a preseason NHL contest on Sept. 29, 2000.
• Xcel Energy Center celebrated its 10 millionth fan through the turnstiles at The Police concert on July 3, 2007.
June 23, 1998
Sports Headlines
• Left exposed for Predators expansion draft: Mike Richter, Doug Gilmour, Brett Hull, Rob Ray, Kevin Dineen, Uwe Krupp, Guy Carbonneau, Kevin Lowe, Kirk Muller, John Vanbiesbrouck, Ray Ferraro, Pat Falloon, Paul Coffey, Mike Gartner, Tony Hrkac, Bernie Nicholls, Al Iafrate, Wendel Clark, Esa Tikkanen
• Phil Jackson's tenure with Bulls ends


• NHL MONTREAL CANADIENS -- Announced the retirement of G Andy Moog
• NHL VANCOUVER CANUCKS -- Named Brian Burke president and general manager
• ST. PAUL SAINTS -- Signed C Matt Nokes
On June 23, 1998, National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Bettman broke ground with Minnesota leaders to begin construction on a new arena in Saint Paul that would become home to a new expansion franchise, the Minnesota Wild. Next door, Saint Paul RiverCentre had just opened for business and was hosting events for many of the clients it still services today.

Three-hundred-and-twenty-one Wild sellouts, nearly 4,000 events and 19 million patrons later, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman reflected on how both facilities have helped to revitalize Saint Paul.
“The impact Xcel Energy Center and the RiverCentre has had on the City of Saint Paul is immeasurable. This complex is the heart and soul of our City’s entertainment district. “The energy generated by so many of the rallies, games, and concerts at the facilities can be felt throughout the city. Xcel Energy Center and the RiverCentre are a huge part of what makes Saint Paul the most livable city in America.”
The close proximity of the venues has given Saint Paul the opportunity to host some incredible events in a short span of time: 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, National Pheasant Fest 2008, 2006 U.S. National Gymnastics Championships, 2004 NHL All-Star Weekend, 2004 International Ice Hockey Federation World Cup of Hockey, and the 2002 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four, which will return in 2011. And of course, nothing demonstrates this advantageous combination more than having been selected as the site of the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Both Xcel Energy Center and Saint Paul RiverCentre have received recognition as two of the finest public facilities in the industry. ESPN The Magazine has twice ranked the six-year-old venue No. 1 for “Best Stadium Experience” (2003, 2007). Xcel Energy Center was named “Best NHL Arena” by SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily in its 2006 Reader Survey and recognized for the “Best Fan Experience” by Forbes magazine in its 2006 “Business of Hockey” report. Sports Illustrated named the arena its “top choice” among NHL buildings in its 2006 NHL Preview issue. In addition to hockey, Xcel Energy Center has been nominated six times (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007) for “arena of the year” by leading concert-industry publication Pollstar magazine.

In 2005, Minnesota Meetings and Events Magazine named Saint Paul RiverCentre “Best Convention Center.” They also named the facility “Best Conference Center” (2003, 2004), “Best Exhibition Space” (2003) and “Best On-Site Caterer” (2003) for Wildside Caterers.

Saint Paul RiverCentre is marking its 10th anniversary with a series of special celebrations and commemorative signage throughout the complex. 

About Minnesota Sports & Entertainment

Minnesota Sports and Entertainment (MSE) is a premier sports and entertainment provider of unique sporting, entertainment and business experiences with several avenues of business operations. The limited partnership owns the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, along with the AHL’s Houston Aeros, and Saint Paul Arena Company, which operates Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul RiverCentre and The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Along with the Wild and Saint Paul Arena Company, MSE has extended its business interests into the hospitality realm through its majority stake in Wildside Caterers. MSE also owns and operates 317 on Rice Park, the former historic Minnesota Club, which is an intimate venue for receptions, business meetings and weddings. Building winning relationships with guests, communities and partners is the foundation of MSE's success.

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