The Broadmoor World Arena opened its doors on Jan. 17, 1998, and more than 3,700 events later celebrated 20 years with a memory-filled reception on Jan. 18, 2018.
Dot Lischick, the arena's general manager since the beginning, was hostess to the festive invitation-only event on the covered ice floor of the arena.
On hand were many of those who, in the early 1990s, had pulled together the dreams and plans for a multi-use entertainment venue and brought the project to fruition. It would have been no easy task, they admitted in the evening's video, in a city where taxpayers had soundly defeated a downtown Pikes Peak Center four times. And nay-sayers two decades ago saw little use for what was then considered a huge facility that could hold 9,000 people.
Pete Susemihl, board chair and one of those early leaders, told guests he always looked to the future, saying, "We don't want our children having to drive to Denver for special events."
Among those with those longtime strong ties to the arena, many of them board members, who shared their stories in the video were Barbara Yalich, Robert Howsam, Terry Sullivan, Lou Mellini and David Sunderland, and many others.
Retired sportswriter and editor Ralph Routon was another, saluted as one of those vital links in the evolution of the arena and the man behind the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame concept, with its tiles honoring top local athletes along the wall of the concourse circling the arena.
The arena became a reality without taxpayer funds, speakers said. Instead, the millions of dollars needed came from major contributors El Pomar Foundation ($30 million), Colorado College, the city of Colorado Springs, the Gazette, El Paso County, KRDO, Gates Land Co. and The Broadmoor. There was also a $12 million bond and donations from other organizations and community members. But perhaps some of the most special contributions, said reception guests, came from those 6,000 people from the community who purchased personalized commemorative tiles that today line the concourse where families can find the ones with their family names or those of friends.
Special guests at the anniversary celebration were some of the arena's longest employees, most still working. Sharing a table were the first three employees, Jamie Wonnett (Gate A), Pete Rimstad (Sections 116-117) and Stan Zeitlin (Gate D). Penrose Club concierge Verlee Koskovich was surrounded by well-wishers and congratulated on her 20 years.
Lischick reminisced with the two women who have been her assistants, Claudean Brooks, who was teased that she has kept Dot in line for 17 years, and Betty Workman, the assistant when the arena opened.
The arena opened as Colorado Springs World Arena but in 2014 was renamed the Broadmoor World Arena. Philip Anschutz, owner of The Broadmoor resort, also heads Anschutz Entertainment Group, which now has an agreement to bring entertainment and sports to the arena. Anschutz is also owner of The Gazette.
More than 6.8 million people have attended events at the Broadmoor World Arena and it is also home to Colorado College Tiger Hockey.
For The Gazette's special World Arena 20th anniversary stories: the-broadmoor-world-arena-celebrates-20-years-in-colorado-springs/article/1618838; general-manager-has-been-there-from-start-for-the-broadmoor-world-arena-in-colorado-springs/article/1618901