The Minnesota Lynx and Mayo Clinic have announced a joint press conference Monday in Rochester to make a "major announcement surrounding the upcoming 2016 Lynx season," but Ticketmaster appears to have spoiled the Mother's Day surprise.
Tickets are already available online for a WNBA preseason game at the Mayo Civic Center between the Lynx and the Washington Mystics. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday, May 8, according to Ticketmaster's website.
No further information was revealed in the brief press release and a Lynx spokesperson declined comment, but attendees for Monday's announcement include Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, star guard Lindsay Whalen, Timberwolves and Lynx President Chris Wright, and Mayo Clinic Medical Director for Marketing and Public Affairs John T. Wald.
The press conference is planned for 11:30 a.m. at the Mayo Civic Center's north lobby. The event is open to the general public and photos will be possible with Reeve, Whalen and the WNBA championship trophies from 2011, 2013 and 2015, according to the press release.
The Lynx have been exploring other venues for home games during the 2017 season as Target Center undergoes a $127 million renovation.
Lynx officials have discussed playing home games at Williams Arena, Xcel Energy Center and at a renovated Minneapolis Armory, according to a 2015 story from MinnPost. Each site came with some drawbacks, but was still considered a possibility because of its coveted metro location.
An alternate site has yet to be officially announced, but some have speculated that Mayo Civic Center in Rochester could become the temporary home of the Lynx. With the Timberwolves' brass reportedly considering Rochester as the host city for its D-League affiliate and the Lynx wearing jerseys emblazoned with Mayo Clinic's name, an arrangement with the Lynx could also serve as a test run that could further strengthen the partnership with Mayo Clinic and the Med City.
That speculation ramped up when the Lynx tweeted the announcement Friday morning with the hashtag #RoarInRochester.
Ed Hruska, a Rochester City Council member and executive director of the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission, shot down those long-term plans Friday. He acknowledged touring the Target Center with Wright and others a few weeks ago, but said "we've never had any talks on that."
"It's an interesting thought, but we're not there," Hruska said.
A Lynx spokesperson also confirmed that Monday's announcement pertains to a 2016 event rather than relocation plans for the 2017 season.
"The announcement has nothing to do with the Target Center renovation and where the Lynx will be playing in 2017," said Ashley Carlson, the Lynx public relations manager.
Brad Jones, executive director of the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau, has said the Lynx explored the idea of playing a preseason game in Rochester last year, but weren't able to work out the details.
There are logistical hurdles that could again prove difficult for Lynx leadership to square for the upcoming season, which opens May 14. In addition to being outside the metro area, the Mayo Civic Center is in the midst of an $84 million renovation project that won't be completed until 2017.
Taylor Arena has a capacity of 7,200, which would be about 2,000 less than what the Lynx have averaged during their dynastic run. Game 5 of the 2015 WNBA Finals drew 18,993 fans — the most in franchise history — to help the Lynx celebrate their third title in five years.