Mariucci Arena is now officially '3M Arena at Mariucci' as University of Minnesota locks down a $11.2 million deal with the Minnesota-based company 3M for the arena's naming rights.
Gophers' athletic director Mark Coyle spoke to the media in the corridor above the sheet of newly-named ice, "This is an exciting day for Gopher athletics and Gopher hockey. We have a chance to take three iconic names from the state of Minnesota with 3M, Coach Mariucci, and Gopher men's hockey."
In addition to the financial benefits stemming from the deal, (the money will go towards the Gophers Athletics Village and their "Nothing Short of Greatness" campaign) the narratives from Monday's press conference included how revenue will help both current and future student-athletes - while keeping in line with the level of respect and loyalty the state of Minnesota feels toward the name Mariucci - which has been associated with the men's hockey arena in Dinky Town since 1985.
"We are thankful for 3M's understanding of what the Mariucci name meant to this state and this fan base. We are very excited about our relationship." Coyle said, "They understood the importance of the name Mariucci so we feel very comfortable with that."
For the better part of 90 years, the 3M company has long been one of the University's strongest partners in providing academic scholarships. 3M also employs a great amount of Gopher alumni, as was made clear in Monday's presser.
"There is a strong history between 3M and the University of Minnesota. I learned more about that partnership and what they do across our entire campus beyond just academic scholarships," said AD Mark Coyle. "Gopher Men's hockey means so much to our state, so we wanted to find the right partner. We are so thankful and think this will have a lasting impact for current and future student-athletes."
Don Lucia, head coach, was asked what he and some of his former players thought of the deal. "I think alumni understand that this is just the way of 2017. You are going to have naming rights to venues and it really doesn't change all that much. I think it's good for everyone involved."
Gopher hockey fans will have to get used to seeing the new "3M Arena at Mariucci" sign presented outside on the storied brick at what we can all still affectionately call "The Mooch."
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