After a series of meetings between city officials, security representatives, Verizon Center staff, and Maverick Athletic department representatives, a revised plan has been developed to ensure a more efficient security screening process for the upcoming men’s hockey series vs. Michigan Tech this weekend (October 27-28). The changes are in response to the challenges many experienced at the home opener vs. St. Cloud State during “Hockey Night in Mankato” on Saturday, October 7, where long queuing lines lead to significant wait times and where many fans missed a significant amount of first period action as they waited outside the building to pass through newly implemented security protocols.
According to Burt Lyman, Executive Director of the Verizon Center, the venue has made many changes since the setback on opening night to expedite the efficiency of the screening process. The venue will now open at 5:45pm, with more entrances and additional staff available. Fans are reminded that signs will be posted prominently at all entrances regarding items that cannot be brought into the facility and that by request of Minnesota State, guns are not allowed. A more formalized policy restricting size and content of bags is in the works, but will be announced at a later date.
Verizon Center will also change the location of alcohol identification and wrist-banding stations, including adding some satellite locations outside the venue, to ensure a smoother flow of traffic and less “wait time” for patrons once they have entered the building. “We believe the changes we are making will alleviate any further complications and make for a better fan experience,” said Lyman.
Kevin Buisman, Minnesota State Director of Athletics expressed confidence in the revised process. “The safety and security of our fans remains a top priority. Over the last few weeks we have had several meetings. During those sessions, we have reviewed the entire portfolio of events the Verizon Center hosts and realize there are differences in what type of security may be required for each. The measures we will now employ for hockey are similar to what we utilize for on-campus athletic events, but are also more consistent with industry best practices and standards for college hockey events throughout the state and across the region.”
Officials are still encouraging an early arrival, as large crowds are anticipated again this weekend when the Mavericks take on their WCHA rival Michigan Tech, with the puck dropping at 7:07pm on both Friday and Saturday evening. Finally, as an amends to a less than satisfactory opening night experience, the Verizon Center will be distributing vouchers for a free beverage of choice that may be redeemed at any time during the Friday night game to all fans arriving before 6:30pm.
Lyman concluded, “We are hopeful the voucher will encourage fans to arrive early and enjoy the pre-game atmosphere. We look forward to the opportunity to put our best foot forward this weekend and regain everyone’s confidence in the operation. We truly value our relationship with MSU and we want to ensure a great experience at all future Verizon Center events as we move ahead.”