by Will Grice (@wgrice03)
Hey everyone. It’s impossible to overstate how ecstatic we are that our own Huntsville Havoc have made it to the final round of the Southern Professional Hockey League playoff. This is Huntsville INSIDER, so we wanted to give you all a little more insight on why the semi-final round was played at the Huntsville Iceplex as opposed to the VBC. There was some discussion on our page as well as other places about the situation and the perception that the VBC was not giving our team the deference they deserve. We wanted to share with you all what the insiders at the VBC shared with us.
First a little context…
The Von Braun Center and the Huntsville Havoc have a relationship that is unique in the SPHL and maybe even the sports world at large. Of course we don’t know every specific detail of the arrangement, but we do know that while most teams have to rent their civic arenas and are treated just like anyone else who would pay to use the space, the Havoc and the VBC have more of a partnership. Money from tickets, concessions, and even merchandise benefits both entities. Both have a vested interest in the team being successful and being able to attract support from people all around the Tennessee Valley. The Havoc offices are right there inside the Civic Center, and I would assume the Havoc don’t have to deal with all of the preconditions that normally go along with reserving a part of the VBC for an event. It’s a join venture.
Why then did the Havoc get bumped to the Iceplex?
The short answer is that before the hockey season had even begun, Feld Entertainment wanted to book their Monster Truck Jam for April 20-22, 2018. Feld brings a lot of shows to town including Disney on Ice, Marvel Universe, and up until recently, the circus (the circus, by the way, will be replaced by something else soon). Those very popular shows not only provide entertainment for Huntsville residents, but also draw people into Huntsville from surrounding communities like Scottsboro, Muscle Shoals, and Cullman. Those people coming to town translates into more sales tax being collected. Of course, that sales tax goes toward our roads, schools, and other municipal services. The point is that Feld Entertainment is a big “customer.” I doubt there’s a business man or woman in this city who would have told them “no” at a time when they weren’t sure whether the Havoc would make the playoff or (if they did) the exact dates the playoff home games would take place.
If Monster Truck Jam wasn’t until April 20, why couldn’t the Havoc use the arena on April 18?
Basically, ice takes a long time to melt. For most shows in the arena during the Havoc’s season, the VBC is able to put down a floor over the ice. If you’ve ever gotten floor seats for a concert that took place in the arena during hockey season, you probably had no clue that the ice was still there, separated from you by nothing more than a floor panel. However, floor panels won’t cut it for monster trucks. For something like that, the ice has to be melted and dirt has to be moved in. Melting the ice, just by itself, takes a full day.
Where will the final round be played?
For the playoffs, each round is a best of 3 competition between two teams. They alternate cities so that both teams have at least one home game. The Havoc have made it to the final round. The first game will be played in Peoria on Wednesday and the second game will be place in Huntsville at the Von Braun Center on the Pharmacy First Ice.