An O’Fallon, Missouri, resident might have the coolest basement around — especially if you are a hockey fan. Dennis Minner has converted the space into a mini-Scottrade Center, with much of it devoted to his love of the St. Louis Blues hockey team.
He got the idea shortly after moving into the house.
“When I first moved in here, I jokingly told my wife that it kind of looked like it had the layout of a hockey rink,” he said.
He lined up some help and in 2016 the Minner Arena opened. It’s essentially an ultimate fan cave for Blues lovers. Luckily for Minner, his wife is on board.
“I don't think there was a whole lot of convincing,” Lindy Minner said. “His argument has always been, you have the whole house, I just want the basement.”
She follows the sport, but jokingly points out her interest might be deeply-rooted in maintaining a healthy relationship.
“I have to keep up somewhat, to be able to have conversations with him because a lot of them revolve around hockey," she said.
Dennis Minner, who works as a photographer, was on a mission during the building process. He wanted to make the space as close to the Blues home playing area as possible. There are mini nets, hockey sticks, along with blue lines and huge Blues logo painted on the floor.
He managed to track down the paint codes to nail down the color scheme.
“The ceiling in here, that's the exact same gray color that they have in the ceiling of Scottrade,” he said. "Both shades of the blue and the yellow are also color coded.”
He also has placed Blues memorabilia, such as player jerseys, gloves, on the walls, and because he’s a photographer, plenty of pictures.
All the effort is grabbing attention. Minner Arena has been the site of podcasts and viewing parties. It has a Twitter handle and attracts attention from all over the country. Minner recently spoke about during an interview at a New York City radio station.
His love for hockey, and more specifically the Blues, didn’t start until college. Minner had classmates at Southeast Missouri State who were from St. Louis and huge hockey fans. They all bonded over watching Blues games at local watering holes around campus.
While growing up in southeast Missouri he was more of a basketball guy.
“If you would have said hockey down there when I was in high school, people would have said what's that?”
Now, many of those who knew him as a kid might be surprised at the intensity of his fandom.
He has season tickets for the Blues, along with perhaps the coolest spot in the St. Louis region outside of Scottrade Center to watch the games.
“This is for away games,” he said, while looking around his basement.
Like many who follow the team, Minner is a frustrated fan. The Blues have yet to win hockey’s top prize – the Stanley Cup – in their 51-year history.
“This is probably the most frustrated I've been,” Minner said.
“Just because we started the season out not really expecting a whole lot, but we go on and for the first two months we're the hottest team in the NHL.”
Minner and thousands of other Blues supporters are hoping the team returns to that winning form next year. And Minner, his wife, children and a few friends will be able to cheer for the squad from the comforts of his basement turned hockey haven.
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