Despite rumors tothe contrary, the new18,600-seat professional hockey arena in downtown St.Paul will be ready for action Sept. 29, whenthe Minnesota Wild play their first game, according to the project director Raymond Chandler.

Construction of the $160million-plus Xcel Energy Center has gone smoothly,assisted by good weather and labor harmony, said Chandler. The state-of-the-artsports center, the costs for which are being shared bythe city, state and the Wild, is replacing the St.Paul Civic Center arena, which was razed more than two yearsago.

The Wild hired Chandler from Kansas City-basedHOK Sport, which designed the structure. The arena isbeing built by M.A. Mortenson Construction Co., GoldenValley, MN, and Thor Construction Inc., Fridley, MN.

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