Fans cheering at Augustana University's Midco Arena Grand Opening

Bison Media Blog: No shortage of wow factors with new Augustana hockey arena

Vikings wanted membership in Summit League, but now focusing on D-1 hockey

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — It was four years ago when Augustana University made a push for membership into the Summit League, which would have moved the school from Division II to Division I athletics in all sports. The Vikings were denied, with league schools citing the pandemic and the fact they were comfortable with 10 teams.

The D-1 equation with Augie, however, didn’t go away.

On Sunday, The Blog got a private tour of Midco Arena, the new hockey home to a Vikings hockey program that is in its first year of operation. There is no shortage of wow factors.

It’s not big with a capacity of 3,082, but what it doesn’t have in size it more than makes up for in details and amenities, all the way down to hockey skate holders in the Augustana locker room in the shape of a Norwegian ship, an ode to the Viking heritage. Or a couple of concession stands that sell Norwegian delights like meatballs and melts or vafflers (waffles) and krumkake.

Windows are everywhere, from the ends of the building to around the entire northern end of the concourse, giving it an airy feel like another Vikings stadium: U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Midco Arena cost $72 million with all funds privately raised.

Augie made the initial announcement of pursuing Division I athletics for all sports in 2018. Hockey came aboard with serious discussions around 2021. The arena opened in January and it includes a strength and conditioning room for all sports.

The Augustana athletic administration has its offices on the north end. With hockey and a big-time feel to the facilities and program, it seems doubtful the school will be in a hurry to pursue another shot at Summit affiliation.

Even with the Summit at nine schools and seemingly in pursuit of a 10th. With this facility, it’s all about hockey these days with Augie and Division I.