SLU hockey returns to Appelton Arena

wwny SLU hockey returns to Appelton Arena

CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Goals will be scored and the siren blare again at Appelton Arena. St. Lawrence University hockey returns to its fabled home.

There's no place like home – home ice that is. The women Saints are back Saturday – finally – in Appleton Arena. And it feels good.

“It's awesome. Obviously we're little biased but we like playing here – a lot,” said Kalie Grant, St. Lawrence Women's Hockey center.

Some finishing touches are still being put on the arena's $17 million remake. There's a huge video board for replays. A super-wide concourse. Way better technology for livestream and everything else.

“They did a great job investing in a better fan experience. And it's going to show,” said Chris Wells, St. Lawrence Women's Hockey head coach.

The 3 p.m. women's game Saturday will not be just any game. It will be the second installment of a weekend home-and-home series against Route 11 rival Clarkson.

“I think it's going to be surreal. Until we're actually in that moment, I don't really know how to feel. But we're all excited,” said Grant.

While construction was in full swing, the women's and men's team practiced and played 'home' games at SUNY Canton. They brought practices back to Appleton a couple weeks ago.

“It was exciting. And just being a senior," said Grant. "It was a little bittersweet to be here for the last first practice I guess at Appleton.”

There's also a new ribbon board. Bigger and better coaches and press boxes. New technology for livestreaming. But Appleton's iconic siren will be just the same.

“So to be able to hear the siren go off for the first time when our team comes out on the ice will be pretty special,” said Wells.

And those historic wooden bleachers? They are still there after 69 years.

Of course the big women's game versus Clarkson Saturday isn't the only thing that will be happening there. The men will be breaking in this new facility on January 31 versus Brown. And after that, they're going to have a dedication on the weekend of February 7 and 8.

The Saints had expected to be playing in Appleton when the season began. Construction delays pushed home openings back. But now it’s time to let the puck fly.

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