ST. PAUL - Some University of Minnesota Duluth hockey fans may be able to purchase alcoholic beverages next season, thanks to a bill introduced in the Minnesota Legislature.
It has yet to be heard by a committee in either house.
Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon, DFL-Duluth, would add the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center to a short list of institutions that can sell alcohol at events. Others include Biwabik's Giants Ridge Recreation Area and the new TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
The DECC already sells beer and wine at concerts and other events, but a clause in the 1963 law that regulated the DECC stated that no alcohol could be available in the same building as collegiate hockey games, DECC Executive Director Dan Russell said.
The bill would allow the university to sell alcoholic beverages at college hockey games, but only in the suites and club rooms of the new hockey facility. Russell said university administrators insisted there should be no alcohol for sale on the concourse.
Russell said the idea for the bill had been "in the works since we started planning for the new arena."
Prettner Solon said the DECC's alcohol sale privileges would be the same as the Twin Cities campus' new football stadium.
Most of Duluth students attending Wednesday's "Support the U Day" rally said they had not heard of the bill or the idea behind it, and a few said they thought it was only a rumor.
Jennifer McCabe, a member of Duluth's Student Legislative Coalition, said her group likely would lobby for or against the decision at some point. She said Duluth is a dry campus, and said her group's approval would be more likely since the sale of alcohol is limited to suites.
Prettner Solon said she had yet to hear from any Duluth students, but said the bill would be more for the corporate lounges and alumni sky boxes," and would keep alcohol away from minors.
Parthun is a University of Minnesota journalism student who reports for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau.