Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kiel Center Is Building Up toward a Big Opening Week

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kiel Center Is Building Up toward a Big Opening Week

Article excerpt

Mike Shanahan was standing Tuesday on a concrete floor at the new Kiel Center. He was doing his best to be heard.

All around were workers opening boxes and shouting instructions to one another. Workers scrambled over luxurious, theater-type seats that feature cushions with a blue-and-raspberry hue, shouting instructions to one another. Sparks from a torch floated down from on high. In the upper reaches of the building, a riveter commanded a presence.

Shanahan, chairman of the Blues, took steps to protect himself.

"Before they drop bolts on our heads, let's give these workers a round of applause," he said.

The $135 million indoor sports palace was noisy, but it was nothing approaching what will take place Oct. 11 when the Blues open the home schedule of their 1994-95 National Hockey League season against the Chicago Blackhawks. And on Oct. 13, the New York Rangers arrive to toast Blues coach Mike Keenan, who left the Stanley Cup-champion Rangers under controversial circumstances this summer. Of the Keenan-Rangers matchup, Shanahan predicted: "World War III will break out."

Kiel Center will open at 10 a.m. Oct. 8 with an outdoor dedication ceremony highlighted by a choir of 1,001 voices from area high schools, as well as fireworks and a parade.

The public then will be able to move inside for an open house that will feature concourse games and entertainment. Another open house will take place the next day, at which the public can participate in four ice skating sessions of one hour each. The sessions will benefit the Missouri Amateur Ice Hockey Association. Tickets for the skate ($5 adults, $3 children) can be purchased Oct. 8 at Kiel.

Jud Perkins, president and chief executive officer of the Kiel Center Partners, said Tuesday that he "hopes the grand opening will be unlike anything seen in St. Louis before. We're inviting the entire community to come out for it."

In its first week, Kiel has a full schedule of sports events. They include two Blues games; an appearance by Oksana Baiul, gold medal-winning figure skater at the 1994 Winter Olympics, on Oct. 12; and a National Basketball Association exhibition game Oct. 14 pairing the Chicago Bulls and Washington Bullets. …

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