Photo Courtesy of JLG Architects
A lot of work has been taking place in the heart of the city at Augustana University.
Less than a year ago, Augustana announced the addition of the Viking Men’s Hockey Program that would compete at the NCAA Division I level — officially breaking ground on its Midco Arena on campus. The move to become the first collegiate hockey program in South Dakota is a huge step forward in Augustana’s strategic plan Viking Bold: The Journey to 2030. The move is a differentiator for the university and bold in the 2-year timeline outlined for both the program and facility to take shape. Now, due to the dedication and hard work of all involved, the university is seeing results.
“The energy and excitement surrounding Viking Men’s Hockey have fueled the accelerated pace our team has maintained throughout the past 10 months. We continue to be inspired by the passion and generosity of our donors and strategic partners. The additional momentum created by the announcement of our head coach and conference membership has been terrific,” said Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Augustana president. “As Midco Arena moves into the next phase of development, we know there will be even more momentum and interest in the program. Every day brings continued affirmation that Augustana, Sioux Falls and hockey fans across the state and region were ready for this bold endeavour.”
Just six months following the announcement of the Viking Men’s Hockey Program, on April 19, the Vikings introduced its first-ever head coach. Garrett Raboin, former assistant coach for the University of Minnesota, was selected to be the inaugural coach of the program. A month later, Raboin named Andy Boschetto the assistant coach who spent the past two seasons at Colgate University.
The Viking Men’s Hockey Program found a conference home in mid-May — welcomed unanimously into the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) as its ninth member. At that time, Augustana became a full voting member of the CCHA and it was decided that the university would begin a transitional schedule, playing 16 games (one series against each member) in both the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons before playing a full league schedule in 2025-26.
The timing of the announcements provides clarity for recruits and gives the Vikings more than a year to build a roster.
“As construction of Midco Arena continues on 33rd and Grange, I can’t help but feel the energy of game day in South Dakota,” said Raboin. “The excitement and hunger for hockey right here in America’s heartland has never been greater.”
After finalizing the design, construction on Midco Arena is well underway with the leveling of the area and excavation work complete. Progress is now being made on the foundation.
Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate was selected last fall to manage the design and development of the facility. Clark Construction Group is working with Fiegen Construction Co., a Sioux Falls-area firm, on the construction of Midco Arena. Mammoth Sports is supporting Edgemoor’s development efforts by ensuring the quality of the project meets all parties’ standard of excellence and also engaged in experiential design and brand activation for the facility.
“It’s been so gratifying to watch the continued progress of Midco Arena, literally from the ground up,” said Josh Morton, Augustana athletics director. “The energy in our community for Augustana Hockey continues to be a great motivator for us as we work towards dropping the puck in 2023.”
Thanks to a lead gift from T. Denny Sanford and support from Midco, Sanford Health and several other major donors, Midco Arena will provide a first-class experience for both student-athletes and sports fans.
Just inside the main entrance of JLG Architects’ renderings of Midco Arena is the Sanford Health Lobby. A large set of stairs takes you up to the concourse, where you will find the Berdahl Heritage Plaza, as well as luxury suites and other premium seating options. These overlook the sheet of ice and a bowl of more than 3,000 seats, including what will be the Delman Family Student Section, Bell Paper Penalty Boxes and Nehring Family Nice Foundation Team Bench.
The main floor of the facility will have locker room suites for both Viking Men’s Hockey and Women’s Soccer, a GreatLIFE Strength & Conditioning Center and head coach’s office named in honor of Janet Eining by Amber (Olinger) ’05 and Rory Kelly, as well as the Bell Paper Box Office and merchandise store known as The SKOL Shop. Midco Arena will be home to two zambonis, sponsored by Peter and Marilyn Hegg and Craig and Pat Lloyd, and the Nyberg’s ACE Gjallarhorn — a loud-sounding horn that, according to Norse mythology, was used to announce the arrival of the gods.
“Augustana Hockey doesn’t become a reality without the energy, generosity and support of so many great people,” said Raboin. “I cannot say thanks enough to all of those who have helped turn a dream into reality!”
“We will be able to launch the program with excellence because of the financial support of so many, including new donors, legacy partners and dedicated alumni of Augustana,” said Morton.
The Augustana Men’s Hockey Program is accepting submissions for its Season Ticket Interest List. Fans are encouraged to submit their contact information and desired number of tickets in the form provided at goaugie.com/HockeyTickets.
For more information on how to contribute to the program, visit augielink.com/hockey.