New Watchfire videoboards at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
The Herb Brooks National Hockey Center at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota has chosen Watchfire, a prominent provider of exterior and interior LED scoreboards, to enhance the fan experience by installing ten videoboards as part of a comprehensive modernization of the facility’s scoreboards and sound systems.
This 6,000-seat hockey arena, named in honor of the former St. Cloud State University and U.S. Olympic coach Herb Brooks, serves as the home for St. Cloud State University’s Huskies men’s and women’s ice hockey Division I teams. It is also utilized for student recreation activities and hosts nearby St. John’s University men’s hockey home games.
The facility has recently undergone several modernization projects, including a significant expansion in 2013 and the addition of a strength and conditioning center in 2019. The upgraded Watchfire videoboards and sound system represent the final phase of the modernization plan for the facility, which originally opened in 1990.
Andrew Melroe, the assistant athletics director for strategic communications at St. Cloud State University, expressed the university’s desire for a facility that reflects the elite-level competition of both St. Cloud State hockey programs. He highlighted how the previous electronic displays limited their ability to provide an engaging experience for fans, with high-quality videos appearing grainy on the old boards, which adversely affected the fan experience.
The new videoboards have significantly improved the digital experience for fans attending events at the venue. They consist of 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.
Bob Ferrulo, Watchfire Sports Market Director, expressed his company’s honor in being a part of this exciting project. He noted the fantastic appearance of the videoboard and their commitment to supporting St. Cloud State University in this venture for years to come.
The large videoboards behind the goals have replaced the old fixed-digit scoreboards. The state-of-the-art videoboards offer flexible zoning, allowing them to display game video in the center, sponsor ads on the sides, and a banner featuring game information and statistics at the bottom.
During pre-game activities, the boards promote upcoming events, run sponsor ads, and showcase athlete hype videos as they enter the rink. These videoboards offer wide viewing angles, ensuring exceptional sightlines to every seat for live video and instant replays.
The vomitory displays serve as a platform for sponsor recognition and are highly visible during games and as spectators exit the venue, creating an additional source of sponsorship revenue.
The center-hung display above the rink adds energy by showcasing school logos, scores, time, and penalty information. It is aligned with the suite seating level, providing a premium experience for fans and corporate outings.
The upgraded audio system includes strategically placed speakers at the rink, lower bleacher, and upper bleacher levels.
Melroe noted that the new videoboards and sound system have put their facility on equal footing with others, and they have even had a positive impact on recruiting efforts.
Husky Productions, a student-run production group, is responsible for creating content for games and operating the videoboards. With a hockey season under their belt, the venue is now exploring new ways to utilize the videoboards for events such as graduations, conferences, and meetings, offering additional benefits to the community beyond hockey games.