Monday, February 09, 2009

Hal Daub and UNO Hockey Enter the Stadium Sideshow

Just when you think that things can't get any weirder in the discussions over the new downtown stadium and the Chalco Boondoggle, today Hal Daub and UNO's hockey program entered the discussions. Of course, former Mayor Daub is no stranger to the stadium debate, leading the stonewalling on the stadium early on, and as a member of the MECA board until last summer, was part of the initial failed discussion to bring the Royals to the new downtown stadium.

Now, Daub announces today that he wants to negotiate with Royals, and will cut a deal if he becomes mayor and the Royals are still looking for a new home. Which is all very interesting fellow MECA boardmember David Sokol (he of the "no sweetheart deals" pledge) is one of Daub's biggest supporters.

So what does this all mean? Well, the chances that Sarpy County can close a deal by March 15th just got more dim, what with Hal Daub playing Monty Hall in a press conference. With all the questions a Sarpy bid faces, the Royals will likely wait to see what's behind "door #2".

Meanwhile, UNO chancellor John Christensen sent an interesting letter to UNO Hockey supporters today, asking for feedback on UNO's hockey facilities. The survey specifically aspects what aspects of a facility are most important to fans, and also asks fans to rank the following options: Civic Auditorium, a renovated Civic, the Qwest Center, Council Bluffs soon-to-be-vacant Mid-America Center, and new facilities on campus or "in the SW area of Omaha". Christensen doesn't define "SW Area" means, as it could mean 75th and Pacific. But we all know that REALLY means Chalco, which makes it likely that Sarpy County is putting out feelers for something else to anchor their "entertainment district".

But like with the Lancers experience at the Mid-America Center, moving away from the heart of the city and even further from campus is likely to be an even bigger mistake for UNO. It's difficult enough getting students from campus to UNO hockey games as it is.

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