St. Cloud State University

Herb Brooks NHC: It can happen here

A crowd gathers in the atrium of the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center for the Sept. 28 grand re-opening. Photo by Adam Hammer '05

A crowd gathers in the atrium of the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center for the Sept. 28 grand re-opening. Photo by Adam Hammer ’05

With four words, the men’s Husky Hockey coach electrified the crowd in the atrium of the renovated and expanded Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

“It can happen here,” said Bob Motzko, to about 1,000 people gathered Sept. 28 to see the results of a $14.7 million expansion and renovation investment — $6.5 million from the 2008 Legislature and the remainder from donors.

Murals celebrating men’s and women’s Husky Hockey and the University dominate the walls and stairwell landings of the new 50,000 square-foot, four-story glass atrium. Art work and displays on the widened south concourse celebrate Husky Hockey greats from the past, including 2013 Hobey Baker winner Drew LeBlanc. Visitors to One Herb Brooks Way toured new and renovated spaces including the team store, 14 corporate suites, home locker rooms, training room and the Husky Den club room.

New men's Husky Hockey locker room

The men’s Husky Hockey locker room, built with funds donated by fans, friends and businesses. Photo by Adam Hammer ’05

” ‘It can happen here’ means anything can happen,” said Motzko. “You have to believe in a motto in your heart, with every fiber, if you’re going to recruit these student-athletes to come here — that it can happen here.”

“You become a doctor, you can become a teacher, a business leader, you can become an entrepreneur — that this university is a great place,” said Motzko, a 1989 graduate of St. Cloud State.

“It can happen here. You can win a Hobey Baker. It can happen here. You can win a national championship and we have one step left, obviously, to achieve that,” said Motzko, who this year coached the Huskies to a Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) title, a NCAA Midwest Regional title and a Frozen Four appearance.

President Earl H. Potter III put the Brooks Center grand re-opening into historical perspective.

“Over a quarter-century ago Herb Brooks, Brendan McDonald and Bill Radovich envisioned a house that would change not only the face of the campus, but the face of this community. That seed has now been engineered into what you see today.”

The late Brooks became an American hockey icon when he coached the U.S. Olympic Team to hockey gold in 1980. He coached St. Cloud State to a third-place NCAA Division III national finish in 1987.

Brooks was represented at Saturday’s ceremony by his son, Dan, a wealth management advisor with Brooks & Kohn Group, RBC Wealth Management, Minneapolis. Also in attendance were Dan’s wife, Marne, and daughters Grace and Lucia.

The late McDonald was St. Cloud State’s president from 1982-1992. The Brooks Center’s main rink bears his name.

Radovich, who had a seat of honor at the ceremony, is a former vice president for administrative affairs.

“This is your house, Husky fans. Welcome home.”

– Earl H. Potter III
St. Cloud State President

Potter closed his remarks with a pledge to continue developing the hockey arena.

“In this facility students, faculty, staff and members of our community will enjoy hockey in a way they’ve never known. Today’s celebration is but the first in many milestone events that will take place in the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center,” said Potter.

“This is your house, Husky fans. Welcome home.”

Hockey seasons begin

Women’s Husky Hockey is undefeated in the Brooks Center, with wins this week over Team Japan and University of British Columbia. Amy Olson, a junior captain from Roseau, spoke at Saturday’s ceremony. The team hosts Quinnipiac University Oct. 4-5.

Men’s Husky Hockey opens play with Oct. 11 against Bemidji State University. Brooks Center doors open at 6 p.m. The WCHA title banner will be raised in a 7:15 p.m. ceremony. Game time is 7:37 p.m.

The Oct. 12 rematch with Bemidji is 7:07 p.m. Purchase tickets at or call 1-877-SCSUTIX.

Men’s Husky Hockey is lead by senior captains Kevin Gravel and Nic Dowd, and junior alternate captain Nick Oliver. Gravel is a defenseman and two-time WCHA Scholar from Kingsford, Mich. Dowd, who spoke at the ceremony, is a forward and two-time WCHA Scholar from Huntsville, Ala. Oliver is a forward and WCHA Scholar from Roseau.

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