The Herb Brooks National Hockey Center at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota selected Watchfire, a leading provider of exterior and interior LED scoreboards, to upgrade the fan experience by providing ten videoboards as part of a modernization of the facility’s scoreboards and sound systems.
The 6,000-seat hockey arena, named in honor of former St. Cloud State University and U.S. Olympic coach Herb Brooks, is home to St. Cloud State University’s Huskies men’s and women’s ice hockey Division I teams and is used for student recreation activities, as well as hosts nearby St. John’s University men’s hockey home games.
The facility has undergone several modernizations recently, including a major expansion in 2013 and a strength and conditioning center in 2019. The upgraded Watchfire videoboards and sound system complete the modernization plan for the facility, which opened in 1990.
“Both of our St. Cloud State hockey programs compete at elite levels, and we wanted a facility that reflected this,” said Andrew Melroe, assistant athletics director for strategic communications at St. Cloud State University. “Our old electronic displays really limited what we were able to show during games, and even high-quality videos looked grainy on the old boards. The fan experience really suffered.”
The new videoboards deliver a truly digital experience to the venue, enhancing the desired improvement of the fan experience.
They include two massive 15-by-44-foot high-resolution displays located behind the goals, a 3-by-11-foot two-sided center-hung display, and six 2-by-11-foot vomitory displays above the facility’s entrances.
“St. Cloud State has created an immersive experience for fans and players. Watchfire is honored to be part of this new legacy,” said Watchfire Sports Market Director Bob Ferrulo. “The videoboard looks fantastic, and we welcome the opportunity to support SCSU and this project for years to come.”
The large videoboards behind the goals replaced old fixed-digit scoreboards.
The new state-of-the-art videoboards at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center are easily zoned to include game video in the center, areas for sponsors and ads flanking the video, and a banner of game information and stats at the bottom.
During pre-game, the boards promote upcoming events, run sponsor ads, and showcase hype videos of athletes as they enter the rink.
The videoboards have wide viewing angles, providing exceptional sight lines to every seat for live video and instant replays.
The vomitory displays are used for sponsor recognition and are highly visual during games and as spectators exit the venue, allowing the facility to bring in additional sponsorship revenue.
The center-hung display adds energy above the rink—showcasing school logos, scores, time, and penalty information. They are aligned with the suite seating level, providing a premium experience for fans and corporate outings.
The upgraded audio system includes speakers strategically placed at the rink, lower bleacher, and upper bleacher levels.
“Our new videoboards and sound system put us on an equal footing with other facilities,” said Melroe, who noted that recruits are excited to see the videoboards when they visit the facility. “It certainly doesn’t hurt with recruiting.”
Husky Productions, a student-run production group, creates the content for games and operates the videoboards.
Now that the new displays have been through a hockey season, the venue is looking for new ways to use the videoboards.
“Events like graduation and smaller conferences and meetings are all possibilities for what we can offer the community outside of hockey,” said Melroe. “The new boards have been a wonderful addition to the facility.”