Anticipation builds for hockey debut

Anticipation builds for hockey debut
Head coach Garrett Raboin and sophomore Ben Troumbly practice at the SCHEELS IcePlex for the team’s first game in October. Photo by Megan Brown. 

The Midco Arena is now only a few short months away from its grand opening in January 2024. Augustana’s hockey team has been preparing for the last few months, with its first game on Oct. 7 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“I am excited to play against Wisconsin,” Will Svenddal, a sophomore hockey player, said. “One of my best friends plays for the Badgers. Hopefully I get the chance to beat one of my good buddies.”

Svenddal was one of the first players to arrive on campus last year.

“It has been really cool being here,” Svenddal said. “I saw it when it was just dirt and now the arena has windows up.”

Midco Arena is still under construction, but significant progress will be made in the coming months.

“Some of the bigger things that you’ll notice in the next couple months is the video board,” Josh Morton, Vice President for athletics, said. “Then they will begin to place the seats within the arena later this fall and in the first week of October, the ice-making process will begin.”

The Midco Arena will give all Viking athletes access to a new weight room and  Great Life Strength and Conditioning Center, amongst other amenities.

“Women’s soccer has a lounge, locker room and a coach’s room, and then we will have our wing,” hockey head coach Garrett Raboin said. “There’s a classroom in there and a bunch of different spaces where I’m sure students around campus access it and use it.”

Exact use of the Midco Arena classrooms have yet to be determined.

Hockey players and faculty have been able to go and see the progress of the arena’s construction.

“When I went inside a couple weeks ago, I could see the vision of the locker room because they got some of the walls up. I can’t wait to finally get in there once they finish it in January,” Svenddal said.

The Vikings have 36 games scheduled for this season, with their first home game on Oct. 14 against Bowling Green State University at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

Until the arena is completed, the hockey team will hold practice at the SCHEELS IcePlex.

“This part of the year is for them to get comfortable in the weight room, be comfortable on the ice, comfortable in the classroom and just get that routine established for when October comes,” Raboin said.

Freshman hockey player Brett Meerman said he is excited for the fresh start.

“I am most looking forward to starting fresh and building foundations right from the start. There’s a new group of guys, a new rink and just new everything,” Meerman said.

As the clock to the Vikings’ first game begins to count down, tickets and season passes are now available for purchase on “There’s lots of excitement throughout the team. It’s been a long time coming, it feels like,” Svenddal said. “To finally move into that rink and play our first game will be a very memorable day.”