Aug 062003
 
Authors: Justin Goldman

Budweiser Taps Into Student Life This Fall

The Larimer County Fairgrounds and Events Center, also known as The Ranch, continues to announce scintillating sporting events for the upcoming fall semester.

The most recent addition to the list of scheduled events at the Budweiser Events Center is a professional National Women’s Basketball League team: the Colorado Chill.

The event center is also home to the Colorado Eagles, a new professional team in the Central Hockey League. The Eagles are the 17th team in the CHL and will play 32 home games in their 64-game expansion season, beginning Oct. 17.

Currently under construction off the I-25 and Crossroads exit in Loveland, the new arena has been compared by some to Denver’s Pepsi Center, which hosts games for the city’s professional basketball and hockey franchises: the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche.

Recent press releases issued by Larimer County and Budweiser state that Global Spectrum, the managers and operators of the Budweiser Events Center, have not only signed deals to house the Eagles and the Chill for their respective inaugural, regular seasons, but also have over 120 other events planned for this season.

Included in the lineup will be rodeos and equestrian events, pro-stock and BMX racing, auto shows and other sporting events. An events schedule for the first half of the opening season for the Budweiser Events Center is expected next week, the official Web site said.

Students can expect to find just about anything to do out there, on any given day. All of the events are affordable and intended for the family and student communities that populate the Front Range.

“If you’re a sports fan, it’s very exciting to have hockey one night and basketball the next,” said Jay Hardy, director of operations at The Ranch. “It’s a great lineup.”

The grand opening of the Budweiser Events Center is on Sept. 20, when the reconstructed, high-powered Colorado Avalanche face off against the Florida Panthers in a preseason National Hockey League match up that revisits a Stanley Cup Finals series from 1996.

The Eagles have already sold over 4,000 season ticket packages and while there are still some available, they are going fast, said Bill Stewart, CEO and part-time owner of the Eagles

“The overwhelming response is a sign of what tremendous fan support we have here in Northern Colorado,” Stewart added.

As for the progress of the facility’s construction, Lou D’Angeli, director of marketing for the Budweiser Events Center, said it has been under vigorous construction throughout the spring and summer.

“We have a crew of over 100 working day in and day out together on this,” he said.

On the west side of the building is the ice rink where individually, engraved tiles pepper the front entrance floor, which leads to indoor box offices and steps leading to the rink.

The same structure has been planned for the entire upper level as well as the indoor pub on the suite level, D’Angeli said.

Scores of seats have already been installed around the concrete rink, where coolant pipes have also been laid down.

Furthermore, the scoreboard has been installed ahead of schedule and is awaiting operation for game night, D’Angeli added.

“I can’t believe the scoreboard is lit up like this,” D’Angeli said. “I wasn’t expecting this to be in already.”

In the Eagles’ locker room individual player stalls have been added and in the corner, lays a brand new skate sharpening machine and a few stacked massage tables, all waiting to be broken in by the Colorado Eagles.

Along with hockey and basketball, students can also expect to see many concerts and entertainment-related activities along with CSU-related sporting events such as ice hockey, polo and more.

“We are excited about another hockey team in Northern Colorado,” said Joshua McIntosh, the president of CSU Ice Hockey. “Any chance for more people to see and experience the sport of ice hockey is a great thing for us and the sport.”

For all the information on the Budweiser Events Center, The Ranch and a list of upcoming events, visit www.larimer.org/theranch or www.budweisereventscenter.com.

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