Athletic department makes last big purchase for curling

For years, University of Minnesota sports fans have felt shortchanged, ripped off, even abused.

But on Friday, following the University’s decision to erect a multi-million dollar arena in Dinkytown, Gophers fans can finally rejoice.

After several seasons of competing in lowly Mariucci Arena, Minnesota’s women’s curling team finally have a home of its own.

The yet-to-be named stadium will be completed in 2004.

“Who the hell are you? Why are you talking to me?” said Mikael Ochuslanger, who has coached the Gophers for 11 seasons. “The Minnesota Daily? The only time you people ever talked to me was when we had that scuffle in ’92. Buzz off.”

Ochuslanger’s thoughts could not have been more well-formed. The entire campus is buzzing about the $350 million, 17,000-seat arena, which will house the wildly popular Olympic sport.

Construction will begin once Siebert Field is torn down to make way for the new arena.

“Boy am I glad they finally got on the ball and decided to get that stadium built,” said senior co-captain Marie Yahubi. “It’s ridiculous how much our squad is overlooked by the administration. I mean, until today of course, everybody was getting a new facility except for us.”

While a few members of the baseball team voiced their concern about having to adopt Field 4 at Van Cleave Park as its permanent home, there is an overwhelming positive opinion on campus.

“Who cares about baseball anyway?” Ochuslanger said. “I don’t. When was the last time they even had a thousand in there? And we deserve this. It’s time to level the playing field. Get it? Level the playing field!”

The curling team is also glad to be in the news for a positive reason. It is still most famous for the brawl that broke out in a 1992 match with Stony Brook.

After a Stony Brook curler was caught kicking stones out of the way when others were distracted, the Gophers’ Iva Becker lifted her broom and attacked the cheating opponent. This led to a full-scale brawl involving fans and coaches.

“I’m not even going to talk about that today. It is a time to talk about the arena,” said Becker, who graduated in 1995. “What is it with you media people?”

Leaving the confines of Mariucci Arena could help Minnesota fans forget the infamous fight, but the Gophers have plenty of other reasons to look forward to the move.

“I remember going to that dump last March,” said ultra-fan Granty Peterson, referring to Mariucci. Peterson has attended every curling event since 1997. “They didn’t even melt down the ice and repaint it. The team is down there trying to compete and there’s (expletive) hockey markings on the ice. And who the hell is Mariucci? Last time I checked, it was a kind of spaghetti sauce.”

The fans won’t have the same problem with the new curling arena. The University will decide upon a fitting name for the facility soon.

“I’m leaning toward naming it after Coach,” Yahubi said. “Big Mike’s been with the program for a long time and he always stays late after practice helping us get prepared. He does a super job of teaching by example and he’s great with a broom.”

But a more likely possibility is The Body Arena, since governor Jesse Ventura recently approved $280 million from the state to fund the stadium.

“I am extremely appreciative of the governor’s commitment to our state,” said alcoholic curling fan Davey Liechty. “Governor Ventura is a hero to this university and this state.”

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