St. Cloud State is hoping to get the go-ahead soon on the first phase of its $28.8-million renovation of the National Hockey Center, according to a story Saturday in the St. Cloud Daily Times. The school has the money to cover that work.

 GIno Gasparini, SCSU's special adviser on athletics, said h envisions a hockey experience like that of Xcel Energy Center, which is a destination rather than just a hockey arena.

“We used to build arenas," Gasparini said. "Now we build event centers where they play hockey. For every person fixed on the event, there are five others who are there socializing.”

Gino is right. The Sanford Center is a good example of the new-age hockey arena. It sells beers from all over. Has a nice dining area on one end of the arena. Looks beautiful.

It's a place you want to go to. Very fan friendly. Seats are close to the rink.