Beer might be cure for what ails SCSU hockey

Around these parts, the economic engine is often booze.

At St. Cloud State University, the athletic department needs a shot in the arm, so the hockey program will turn to a tried and true method to boost Minnesotans’ interest: beer.

St. Cloud State will serve beer at its arena on two days — January 1 and February 27 — to test whether it enhances the “fan experience” and brings in more money.

The City Council there has given its approval to the plan, which recognizes the rules of the Minnesota State Colleges and University System rules that limit “beer games.” They have to be held at least 30 days apart.

It’s a good decision, the St. Cloud Times editorial board declares today.

We want to make sure that the highest priority is given to making sure beer consumption doesn’t interfere with the family atmosphere (we aren’t talking about the student section known as the Dogg Pound) at the games. Parents should be able to bring the kids and not have to witness rowdy behavior from beer-drinking by fans.

We hope the two-game experiment provides the information the university’s athletic department needs to make additional decisions on adding beer sales to future events. However, with the MnSCU rules requiring 30 days between beer events, there is a big hurdle to having the sudsy attraction on a consistent basis.

Men’s hockey is the “engine” that funds the athletic program at the school, the paper says.

A city council member said it’s the right move because beer is sold at college hockey games in Duluth, Mankato and North Dakota.

Beer has never been sold at the arena, which opened in 1989. The school tested beer sales during football games this year and reported there were no problems.

St. Cloud State averaged 4,512 fans for its first six men’s hockey games, about 1,000 short of capacity.