The west end of Dave Torrey Arena at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex recently got a bit of a facelift. The new signage is more than just an aesthetic change to the rink, it’s also an indicator of a change in attitude. Years ago, Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers said he had five letters for his team’s fanbase: “R-E-L-A-X.” The St. Cloud Norsemen and Viking Coca-Cola have a similar five-letter message for Norsemen fans: “C-H-I-L-L.”
The Coors Light Chill Zone is in sections H and I, which overlooks the goal on the west end of the venue, and St. Cloud Norsemen Director of Operations was blown away when he saw the artwork. “I was told the basic concept and was expecting something top notch,” Zamora confides. “The finished product looks even better than I could have anticipated. The mountains, the vikings, the players, the state of Minnesota outline… it’s everything the Norsemen are.”
The artwork is just the tip of the iceberg though, as the Chill Zone is where fans not only get a great seat to watch the game but also enjoy a nice feature; $2 Coors and Coors Light 16 oz. cans all game long. A Chill Zone ticket runs $13 so that and one can is already the same price as a regular adult ticket and a beer, so it doesn’t take long for a fan to get their money’s worth on the deal.
“The Norsemen are the defending Central Division regular season and postseason champions and known for having a great hockey team, but we wanna have our fans and our atmosphere talked about with the same reverence,” says Zamora. “Hockey isn’t just exciting and fast-paced, it’s a whole lot of fun. This is one way we’re trying to give back to the fans and make Norsemen games as much fun as they can possibly be.”
The coaching staff is on board too, as it’s no coincidence that the Chill Zone is directly behind the net that visitors will have to defend in the first period, third period and overtime/shootouts. The Norsemen and Viking Coke wanted to make sure that the Chill Zone attendees were in a prime location to be heard by the opposing team, particularly their goalie.
No one on the Norsemen staff understands that home ice advantage better than Assistant Coach Brock Kautz, who as a goaltender played five seasons in the NAHL and four seasons with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. “You feel a little more pressure when you’ve got fans that are heckling you and chanting at you when you give up a goal,” Kautz admits. “There’s reasons why teams have better home records than away records and a lot of that has to do with the atmosphere.”
It’s not just the visitors that the St. Cloud coaching staff would like the fans to make an impression on, it’s the Norsemen as well. “The guys get pumped when there’s a play that’s made and the fans get super excited,” explains Kautz. “Then it gets the players excited so they feed off that energy. It can have a huge impact in the game.”
We can tell you all about the Chill Zone but why not check it out for yourself? Their next game at the MAC is Saturday, October 29th, vs. the Minnesota Wilderness. You can get tickets for all St. Cloud Norsemen home games by going to tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com . And once you’re there, be sure to select the COORS LIGHT CHILL ZONE drop down on the left.