ST. CLOUD -- Fans attending a hockey game this season at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center should notice some major upgrades.

St. Cloud State University has invested about $1.2 million in brand new LED video displays and significantly enhanced the sound system.

National Hockey Center Director Cory Portner says the two end displays are technically the same size as the old ones.

There were static graphics for sponsors, then the static scoring system, and then tucked inside of all of that was the actual video display, so the video board in our old system was smaller.  Now we've taken the same footprint and the whole thing is an LED display.  It's just a giant TV screen basically.

Along with the two end displays, there are new displays over the six entrances into the arena and four overhead displays. All 12 panels can be synched up to show the same graphics or different ones.

National Hockey Center, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
National Hockey Center, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
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He says by adding more speakers and repositioning the old ones the sound is more consistent throughout the arena.

They've relocated some of the speakers where they are hanging in the arena, the capacity has been doubled, so now I feel like we don't have to take the volume to certain levels to try to compensate for dead spots that we had in the past.

Portner says next season they plan on replacing the entire lighting system with all new LED lights.

Portner says this is the biggest upgrade that directly affects the fan experience since the upgrades that were completed back in 2012.

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The scoring and video system was last updated about 15 years ago, and this is now the third different sound system they've had.

Besides the SCSU men's and women's teams, the National Hockey Center is also the home ice for St. John's University.  The women's team has their home opener this Friday versus RPI, the men's team's home opener is this Sunday versus St. Thomas, and the Johnnies' home opener is November 10th versus Concordia.

The Herb Brooks National Hockey Center was built 33 years ago.

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