Midler keeps Monarchs from home
By KEVIN PROVENCHER
Staff Sports Writer
MANCHESTER-The Manchester Monarchs will not test their Verizon Wireless Arena ice until the middle of next week.
Performing artist Bette Midler has rented the arena through her Thursday night concert. In preparation for her upcoming national tour, Midler has been practicing in the arena since Saturday. And it’ s practice for real. On Monday, Midler was belting out songs on and offfrom 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., according to a Monarchs staffer.
Security is so tight in the arena that some Monarchs players Monday had trouble gaining entrance to pick up equipment for the start yesterday of preseason camp at Hooksett’s Tri-Town Arena.
Instead of using their own weight room in the Verizon, the Monarchs have also been taken in by the Executive Fitness Center of Manchester.
“It’s a scheduling issue for me,” said Tim Bechert, arena general manager. “We are responsible for giving the team time when we can. But when there are paying events we work it out the best we can. . . .This being a relatively unique occasion. It does happen.”
In fact, the Monarchs have held a week of preseason in Hooksett, an arrangement established the team’s inaugural season four years ago when construction was not complete on the Verizon Wireless Arena. The arena and pro hockey team in Manchester have forged one of the best relationships of its kind in the league.
“While I can understand that for the team and the equipment men and the trainers it takes a lot of extra effort, and I know the team would rather be here, it’s a big picture thing,” said Monarchs president Jeff Eisenberg. “It means the building is doing well. We understand the big picture.
“I can’t imagine an arena-tenant relationship any better than the one we have,” Eisenberg said.
Today and tomorrow the Monarchs skate at Tri-Town from 7:45-10 a.m. On
Friday, the entire group of 43 players will compete in an exhibition game at Tri-Town at 9 a.m. There is no admission charge for any of the sessions.
Ice making in the Verizon Wireless Arena starts this weekend.
“Floor cleaning is a pretty extensive process,” said Bechert. “It takes a couple days to actually make and paint the ice.”