State probes ax throwing, drinking at Auburn Hills venue

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
The Hub Stadium offers five ax throwing lanes.

Auburn Hills — A gaming venue's liquor license was pulled for a day after the Michigan Liquor Control Commission questioned the safety of alcohol-consuming patrons participating in ax throwing. 

At a commission hearing last month, members ordered a one-day suspension of the liquor license at Hub Stadium, 2550 Takata Drive in Auburn Hills. The one-day suspension occurred on Sept. 10 to allow the Hub Stadium to enact policy changes. 

Commission Chairman Andy Deloney said they were not aware Hub Stadium would offer ax throwing as part of its license application. 

"It is our job to make sure that the health, safety and welfare concerns of the public are taken into account wherever alcoholic beverages are sold in the state of Michigan,” commission chairman Andy Deloney said in a statement. "We were not made aware by the licensee during the licensing application process of any plans for ax throwing at the establishment. When it came to our attention, we investigated the licensee thoroughly and took appropriate disciplinary action."

The 30,000-square-foot venue has 13 football-bowling lanes, five ax-throwing lanes and event spaces for up to 700 people, according to its website.

The venue allows customers to throw axes at targets in enclosed lanes of up to 10  people, which posed a concern to the liquor commission, which launched a safety investigation on June 21.

Investigators found the establishment lacked lane monitoring, did not limit the number of axes that could be thrown at one time, and had patrons taking alcoholic drinks into throwing areas despite the venue's policy against that.

They examined videos on Hub Stadium's social media that show patrons throwing axes at bottles of liquor and consuming shots with a message stating: "Who said don't mix alcohol and ax throwing?" 

There also were videos of players bouncing an ax off the floor to hit the target, three people throwing axes at one target at the same time and a person juggling two axes before tossing them at the target, according to a Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs press release.

The liquor commission said the venue did not contest findings from the investigators and said they implemented changes. Hub Stadium owners could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday. 

"While the MLCC does not regulate ax throwing or any other sport – and it is not contrary to the law for sporting activities to take place in liquor licensed establishments – once the results of the investigation showed that a significant threat to the public health existed at this establishment, the MLCC ordered the hearing," according to the release.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_