Shutdown point

It’s apparently been reached by the US Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minnesota, which has decided to move and not open this year.

Findley said the idea of closing the museum had been discussed for about 2 years. Temporary accommodations are being considered to display a portion of the museum’s exhibits in 2006, but no arrangement has been announced.

The Hall of Fame is financed through visitor admissions, gift-shop merchandise sales, grants from USA Hockey and the Minnesota Wild of the NHL, and the annual college men’s Hall of Fame Game and golf outing, said Scott Auld of Dayton, Minn., the Hall of Fame’s marketing and promotion director the past two years. Neither Findley nor Auld would say what the Hall of Fame’s annual operating budget is, although Findley did say the venue is debt free after receiving its share from the Frozen Tundra Classic between Wisconsin and Ohio State in February, which served as the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game, and drew 40,890 in Green Bay.

The Hall of Fame has two full-time employees — executive director Tom Sersha and administrative secretary Michelle Putzel. Their hours will be cut back to three days a week, said Findley. All other work is done by volunteers.

“There will definitely be a museum,” said Auld, who works for That Idea! Creative Group. “But where and in what form is to be determined. We appreciate everything Eveleth has done for the Hall of Fame, but we have to find enough funding and a site that is most accessible for fans.”

One big problem for the hockey HOF is that its induction ceremonies don’t happen there but in Duluth instead, and therefore there’s little economic impact on Eveleth itself. Compared to even the NASCAR Hall of Fame being constructed in Charlotte, the contribution of the hockey HOF is miniscule. There’s little doubt in my mind that its salvation will involve moving to a new location, perhaps the Xcel Energy Center where the Wild play (paid for by the Wild, since they already contribute to the hall’s budget.)

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