Jump to content

St. Paul Civic Center

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
St. Paul Civic Center
Address143 W 4th St
Saint Paul, MN 55102
LocationDowntown Saint Paul
OwnerCity of Saint Paul
OpenedJanuary 1, 1973 (1973-01-01)
ClosedApril 9, 1998 (1998-04-09)
DemolishedMay 1998
Construction cost$19 million
($138 million in 2023 dollars[1])
Minnesota Fighting Saints (WHA) (1973–77)
Minnesota High School Hockey Tournament (MSHSL) (1976–98)
Minnesota Moose (IHL) (1994–96)

The St. Paul Civic Center was an indoor arena located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The arena opened in 1973 and was closed and demolished in 1998.[2] It once sat near the Ordway Music Theater and the Roy Wilkins Auditorium. The Xcel Energy Center was built on the former site of the arena.



The arena opened on January 1, 1973, and had seating capacity of approximately 16,000 for hockey.[3] The arena could be expanded up to 17,800 for concerts and other non-sporting events. The Civic Center was the home of both iterations of the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA—the first from 1973 to 1976 and the second from 1976 to 1977. The boys' state high school hockey and basketball tournaments were also held at the Civic Center as well as three NCAA Frozen Four national ice hockey championships.[4] The arena was also the home of Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association (AWA).

The arena was unique in North America in that the hockey dasher boards were made of clear acrylic glass from the shelf all the way down to the ice. This was because the arena's seating configuration was round, and the closest seats between the blue lines were not flush against the boards.

Previously not an issue when dasher board advertising was rare, the clear boards made for better sightlines for most spectators seated between the blue lines, since the seating angles in the Civic Center were shallow. When the Minnesota Moose of the International Hockey League played their two seasons, they were replaced with standard white opaque boards to allow advertising.[5] The new boards were disadvantageous to the previous seating arrangements, and with the Moose's quick departure to Winnipeg, showed the arena was outdated for the state's most popular sport only 21 years after opening, much less National Hockey League standards.


On June 28, 1984, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, actress Courteney Cox and 200 extras filmed the Brian De Palma-directed music video for "Dancing in the Dark" at the arena, one day before Springsteen's 1984 Born in the U.S.A. Tour formally opened at the arena.[6]

The song "I Bought a Headache" from The Replacements' album Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash is about regretting purchasing an $8.50 ticket to a rock concert that is so loud it makes his head hurt. Billy Joel recorded and released a live version of his song, "Streetlife Serenader". The song was recorded from a 1980 concert held at the arena.

Noted performers



  1. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  2. ^ "Fond farewell to St. Paul Civic Center". Post-Bulletin. March 26, 1998. Archived from the original on October 9, 2019. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  3. ^ Noll, Roger G.; Zumbalist, Andrew, eds. (October 1997). Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution. p. 233. ISBN 0815761112.
  4. ^ "WCHA ANNOUNCES PLAYOFF CHAMPIONSHIP TO BE PLAYED IN GRAND RAPIDS IN 2014 & 2016, SAINT PAUL IN 2015 & 2017" (Press release). Saint Paul, Minnesota: Western Collegiate Hockey Association. March 23, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  5. ^ "Changes at Civic Center". Star Tribune. Minneapolis, Minnesota. October 7, 1994. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  6. ^ Bream, Jon (September 27, 2016). "In new memoir, Springsteen recalls opening Born in USA Tour in St. Paul". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on September 29, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
Preceded by Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by