Xcel Energy Center is a multipurpose arena in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States. Completed in 2000, it is named for its locally based corporate sponsor Xcel Energy. With an official capacity of 17,954, the arena has four spectator levels: one suite level and three for general seating.[5] The building is home to the NHL's Minnesota Wild.

Xcel Energy Center
The X
Xcel Energy Center in 2006
Xcel Energy Center is located in Minnesota
Xcel Energy Center
Xcel Energy Center
Location in Minnesota
Xcel Energy Center is located in the United States
Xcel Energy Center
Xcel Energy Center
Location in the United States
Address199 Kellogg Boulevard West
LocationSaint Paul, Minnesota
Coordinates44°56′41″N 93°6′4″W / 44.94472°N 93.10111°W / 44.94472; -93.10111
Public transit  Green Line 
at Central Station
Metro Transit Route 54
OwnerCity of Saint Paul
OperatorMinnesota Sports & Entertainment
CapacityIce hockey:
18,064 (2000–2012)
17,954 (2012–present)[1]
  • End Stage 12,999
  • Center Stage 20,554
Field size650,000 sq ft (60,000 m2)
Broke groundJune 23, 1998; 25 years ago (June 23, 1998)
OpenedSeptember 29, 2000; 22 years ago (September 29, 2000)
Construction costUS$170 million[2]
ArchitectHOK Sport (now Populous)[2]
Project managerProject Management Consultants, LLC.[3]
Structural engineerGeiger Engineers PC
Services engineerM-E Engineers. Inc.[4]
General contractorMortenson/Thor[4]
Minnesota Wild (NHL) (2000–present)
Minnesota Swarm (NLL) (2005–2015)
Minnesota Lynx (WNBA) (2017)

The arena is owned by the city of Saint Paul and operated by the Wild's parent company, Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. It is on the same block of downtown St. Paul as the RiverCentre convention facility, the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, and shares a single indoor access area with the RiverCentre and Roy Wilkins Auditorium. It hosted the 2008 Republican National Convention.[6]

History Edit

The arena opened on September 29, 2000. It was built on the site of the demolished St. Paul Civic Center. The push for a new arena in Saint Paul grew after the National Hockey League's Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas. Saint Paul courted the Hartford Whalers and Winnipeg Jets under Mayor Norm Coleman, but the Civic Center was an obstacle to both deals.[7]

In order to get an NHL expansion team, Saint Paul needed to build a new arena. After several failed attempts to get funding, the state funded the project in April 1998. It gave Saint Paul a no-interest loan of $65 million for the $130 million project, though it forgave $17 million of that in exchange for having high school sports championships played at the arena.[7]

The Minnesota Wild played their first game at the arena on October 11, 2000, against the Philadelphia Flyers. It was a 3–3 tie. Peter White scored the first goal in the arena while Darby Hendrickson scored the first goal for the Wild. The Wild's first win at the arena came on October 18, 2000, when they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 6–5. Not until April 14, 2003, did the Wild play a playoff game at the arena. In that game, the Wild suffered a 3–0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. On April 21, 2003, the Wild won their first playoff game 3–2 on an overtime game-winner by Richard Park.[8]

In 2004, ESPN named the Xcel Center the best overall sports venue in the U.S. The 10 millionth person passed through its gates on July 3, 2007.

In 2006, the Twin Cities were selected as the hosting metropolis for the 2008 Republican National Convention, and the arena was chosen as the main venue.[9] The convention was held there on September 1-4, 2008.[9]

In 2010, ESPN magazine listed a Minnesota Wild game at Xcel Energy Center as the third-best stadium experience in North America. First on the list were the Minnesota Twins and Target Field.[10]

On April 26, 2015, the Wild won its first playoff series at the arena, defeating the St. Louis Blues 4–1 in game six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.[11]

The arena hosted the Vote for Change Tour on October 5, 2004, featuring performances by Bright Eyes, R.E.M. and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (with special guest John Fogerty and unannounced guest Neil Young).[12]

The Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA used Xcel Energy Center during the 2016 WNBA Playoffs,[13] and played a full season there in 2017, as their home arena, Minneapolis's Target Center, was undergoing renovation.[14]

Features Edit

The concourse areas contain hockey jerseys from every Minnesota high school on the walls, reflecting the "State of Hockey." Surrounding the arena at all four corners are "crow's nests." One features an organ and is played during Wild games. The second features a lighthouse that houses a foghorn that is blasted when the team takes the ice before games, for all Wild goals, and after a victory. The third is used for the Wild's drum line. The fourth provides an additional stage for various uses.

Before it opened, the arena installed an integrated scoring, video, information and advertising display system by Daktronics. The system includes a large LED circular, center-hung scoreboard with multiple displays, nearly 1,100 feet (340 m) of ribbon display technology mounted on the fascia and large video displays outside the facility.[15] The center ice display was replaced in the summer of 2014. Of the 10 LED screens, the largest measures 37.5 feet (11.4 m) wide by 19 feet (5.8 m) high.[16] In 2015 the arena began replacing every seat in the building with cushioned seating. This was finished by early 2016.

Attendance records Edit

  • March 6, 2015: 21,609 fans attended the 2015 State Boys' Hockey Tournament Class AA semifinals at Xcel Energy Center, setting a new record for the largest crowd to ever attend an indoor hockey game in the state of Minnesota.[17]
  • March 9, 2012: The Minnesota State High School League Boys' hockey tournament again set a new attendance record during the 2012 AA semifinal session. Hill-Murray and Moorhead played in the first game followed by Benilde St-Margaret's and Lakeville South in front of a crowd of 19,893.[18]
  • March 8, 2008: The Minnesota State High School League Boys' hockey tournament set a new attendance record during the AA semifinal session. Edina and Benilde-St. Margaret's played in the first game followed by Roseau and Hill-Murray in front of a crowd of 19,559.
  • February 8, 2004: The NHL All-Star Game set a record for attendance at a hockey game in Minnesota at 19,434.
  • The record attendance for a Wild game was set May 6, 2014, at 19,416, against the Chicago Blackhawks.
  • On October 28, 2003, Shania Twain set the arena's single-night concert attendance record of 20,554.
  • On March 17, 2007, 19,463 spectators watched the final game of the WCHA Final Five tournament, the largest crowd ever for an indoor United States college ice hockey game[19] (i.e. not including games held in football stadiums such as the Cold War).
  • On January 19, 2013, 19,298 fans watched the Wild defeat the Colorado Avalanche in the first game after the shortened 2012–13 season. It also marked the debuts of signees Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.[20]
  • Every Wild game at the Xcel Energy Center sold out until October 16, 2010, totaling 400 consecutive home games.[21]
  • Prince and Taylor Swift hold the record for the most consecutive sold-out shows at three.[22]

Sustainability efforts Edit

The campus of Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul RiverCentre, and The Roy Wilkins Auditorium has three world-class certifications:

  • Green Globes Certification – November 2017
  • LEED Platinum Certification – September 2019[23]
  • Event Industry Council (EIC) Sustainable Event Standards (SES) – Gold Certification – November 2020

The Xcel Energy Center and Saint Paul RiverCentre campus is the world's first complex to receive all three of those certifications. The road to achieving them took several years. Some of the steps taken to achieve these awards are:

  • 60% of all waste is recycled
  • 40% of staff commute by bus, bike, carpool or an efficient vehicle
  • 90% of cleaning products meet green standards

In addition to the efforts made by staff, Xcel Energy Center has partnered with the NHL to join Change the Course, a national initiative promoting water conservation and restoration. To highlight its achievements, the Xcel Energy Center produced Exceptionally Green: Minnesota Wild, Saint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center.

Other events Edit

Concerts Edit

This is a small selection of a few of the concerts that have taken place here. It is not a comprehensive list and is very incomplete.

2000s Edit


Funding Edit

In 1998, the state made a $65 million interest-free loan toward construction of the $130 million arena, $17 million of which was forgiven when the team agreed to allow amateur and public events. That left a loan of $48 million.

In 2013, the state legislature passed an omnibus jobs, housing and commerce bill that included forgiveness of the remaining $32.7 million loan to Xcel Energy Center.

Under the terms of the forgiveness deal in this bill, St. Paul's annual loan payment was reduced by $500,000 in 2014 and again in 2015. The balance of the loan was forgiven in 2016. The city still owes $56.8 million in bonds on the arena, of the $72.7 million it borrowed in 1998.[27]

References Edit

  1. ^ Doyle, Mike (January 19, 2013). "GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Avalanche". National Hockey League. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "About us". Xcel Energy Center. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  3. ^ Project Management Consultants: Project Profiles – Ballparks, Stadium & Arenas Archived November 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b "Xcel Energy Center Facts & Figures". SportsBusiness Journal. October 2, 2000. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  5. ^ "Xcel Energy Center". Xcel Energy Center. July 6, 2000. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  6. ^ "Xcel Energy Center – Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul Minnesota". Architecture.about.com. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Rybin, Virginia (September 27, 2000). "St. Paul New Arena is Tale of Survival". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  8. ^ "2002-03 Minnesota Wild Roster and Statistics". Hockey-Reference.com. Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  9. ^ a b Republicans start arena conversion for convention USA Today.
  10. ^ Van Denburg, Hart. "ESPN Magazine calls Target Field the best stadium in North America". City Pages. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  11. ^ "2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule". NHL.com. Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  12. ^ "2004 Setlists". Backstreets.com. July 17, 2004. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  13. ^ "Lynx to play first two playoff games in St. Paul". 12 September 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Lynx to play 2017 home games at Xcel Energy Center". Star Tribune. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Xcel Energy Center". Prairie Biz Magazine. July 1, 1492. Archived from the original on February 19, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  16. ^ "Xcel Energy Center, Wild will unveil new center-ice video board Sept. 27". Star Tribune. June 30, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  17. ^ "Minnesota State High School Boys' Hockey".
  18. ^ Leighton, Tim (March 10, 2012). "State Hockey: Hill-Murray Coach Discusses Jack Jablonski's Effect on BSM". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  19. ^ Tour De Force: Wheeler Nets OT Goal To Give Minnesota Broadmoor Trophy Archived September 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Eide, Nathan (January 19, 2013). "Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche: Game Recap". Hockey Wilderness. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  21. ^ "2010 Hockey Day Minnesota Announced". National Hockey League. June 22, 2009. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  22. ^ "Taylor Swift lights up St. Paul with 'breathtaking' shows during 3-night takeover". Bring Me the News. Mar 8, 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  23. ^ "RiverCentre/Xcel Energy Center | U.S. Green Building Council". www.usgbc.org. Retrieved 2023-01-27.
  24. ^ "Big Ten Announces Conference Schedule for 2017-18 Hockey Season". Big Ten Conference. May 4, 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  25. ^ Dilks, Chris (September 30, 2016). "Big Ten Officially Approves On-Campus Playoffs". SB Nation. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  26. ^ "NCHC Establishes New Partnership with Xcel Energy Center to Host Frozen Faceoff". National Collegiate Hockey Conference. 2017-09-07. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  27. ^ "St. Paul wins forgiveness of Xcel arena loan". Star Tribune. Retrieved 24 February 2019.

External links Edit

Events and tenants
Preceded by
First Arena
Home of the
Minnesota Wild

2000 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the
NHL All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Preceded by
First Arena
Home of the
Minnesota Swarm

2005 – 2015
Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by