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Convention center too small for Sportsman Show

Posted: Monday, April 05, 2010

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage's new convention center can't handle a show as big as the upcoming Great Alaska Sportsman Show.

That means the huge show will be held again at Sullivan Arena - just like it has for many years. The four-day Sportsman Show kicks off this week, with up to 500 booths, a small fishing pond and workshops.

Promoter Steve Shepherd said he would have been happy to move the show from the Sullivan to the Dena'ina Center, but the convention center is too small.

While that's good news for outdoor enthusiasts familiar with the layout of the Sullivan, it's not for hockey fans. The Alaska Aces will have to surrender their home rink this week for the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs.

The Dena'ina Center was pitched as a facility that could host trade shows like the Sportsman Show and thereby create more availability at the Sullivan for sporting events. However, when it comes to something the size of the Sportsman Show, it can't.

While the Dena'ina boasts a total of 215,000 square feet, the spaces suitable for trade shows are the 50,000-square-foot exhibit hall on the ground floor, the 25,000-square-foot ballroom on the third floor and six meeting rooms that provide a combined 11,000 square feet.

The 27th annual Sportsman Show event will fill more than 160,000 square feet of space at Sullivan, the adjacent Ben Boeke Ice Arena and even a chunk of the parking lot.

For the playoffs, the Aces will have to travel 45 miles north to Wasilla's Menard Memorial Ice Center, where the ice is smaller and the crowd will be about half what the team gets at Sullivan.



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