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High school hoops stands in way of WCHA tournament in Green Bay
March 27, 2012 - Matt Wellens
Michigan Tech athletic director Suzanne Sanregret said Friday the Resch Center in Green Bay is on the WCHA’s radar as a future site for the league championship tournament, however, a major road block could prevent the league from moving to Titletown for the 2013-14 season.
The Resch Center and the company that manages the venue, PMI Entertainment Group, have put in a bid for the Wisconsin state high school boys and girls basketball championships, which would take place during the heart of the college hockey postseason on the second and third weekends of March.
The state basketball tournaments would also take the Resch Center out of play for future NCAA regionals.
“I think its fairly centrally located,” Sanregret said about the Resch Center. “I think we have a few different options on the table we are exploring through subcommittees at the WCHA level. We’ll hopefully have some answers over the summer what direction we are going to go with that. This site is definitely on the radar screen, but again, it’s going to come down to what happens with the WIAA.”
The WIAA — Wisconsin’t high school sports governing body — has already approved the move from Madison to Green Bay if the University of Wisconsin is unable to guarantee the Kohl Center.
While the Badgers athletic department was able to successfully lobby the Big Ten against hosting its hockey tournament entirely on campus sites, the Badgers may need the Kohl Center next year for a first-round WCHA playoff series. Wisconsin is also planning to bid on the 2014 Women’s Frozen Four.
Meanwhile, the Resch Center has also been approached by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay about hosing NCAA women’s basketball tournament games, according to PMI President and CEO Ken Wachter.
PMI must also preserve some dates for the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers, which is owned by PMI.
“The WIAA is going to play a huge impact on what the Resch Center is going to have the capacity to do,” Sanregret. “They have to stay loyal to their biggest renters and that’s the Gamblers and UWGB men’s basketball. I think if the WIAA does not come here you’ll see us continue a really strong partnership on a pretty regular basis. If the WIAA is here, it’s probably going to be less frequent.”
According to Sanregret, there should be some movement by the league in mid-June when the WCHA presidents and athletic directors meet in person.
Wachter said PMI has not been contacted yet by the WCHA as being a possible site for the league tournament, but he has heard the rumor.
“They are probably working things out on their end before coming to us,” Wachter said. “We never don’t pick up the phone. If somebody called me and said, ‘Hey, what do you think of this opportunity?’ We would look at it. Does this work for our community? Does the venue work? We know the venue works.”
The Resch Center only drew a total of 6,573 fans over the two-day NCAA Midwest Regional this year, which featured future WCHA member Ferris State, current WCHA member and future NCHC school Denver, current CCHA member and future Big Ten school Michigan and Cornell of ECAC.
Ticket prices may have scared local fans away, however, more than the draw, with tickets for Saturday’s regional championship being advertised as $38 in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The WCHA charged as little as $20 for tickets to this year’s Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Tickets for Green Bay Gamblers games range from $9 to the $25 Bud Light Party Pit, that features complimentary beer, soda and popcorn.
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