BY Julian Pedrouzo
Starting its construction this upcoming summer, a new ice hockey arena will be coming to Sacred Heart University. This 60 million dollar project is scheduled to be finished in 2022 and it will be home for SHU’s Division 1 men’s and women’s ice hockey teams, as well as the figure skating and club hockey teams.
“When you walk into a brand-new building that’s going to have every new bell and whistle than you can imagine, and it’s on your campus, all of a sudden you feel special. It’s going to be just great for the student body,” said Sacred Heart Athletic Director Bobby Valentine.
The 120,000 square foot facility will seat 3,000 people with room for an extra 1,000 available as standing room. It will also feature nine total locker rooms, a beer garden, a presidential suite, a sports medicine suite, and a strength and conditioning training facility that will include a puck shooting area, amongst others.
“Having your own arena that will provide room for approximately 4,000 people, puts you in a new class of competition,” said Michael Kinney, senior Vice President of Finance. “When you enter the ice arena, besides just giving you a ‘wow’ type of feeling, it’ll also bring excitement into the air for the fans and the players.”
This facility will not only be used for hockey and ice skating, but it will also serve as a multi-functional place dedicated for different types of student activities.
“When you melt the ice down you could get 5,000 people in there easily for any type of university event like a concert or a convocation,” said Kinney. “That was the original intent to begin with.”
Even though the arena will feature food courts and space for many different student activities, it is not meant to be accessed and used on a 24 hour basis but rather, it will be an event-only kind of space that will add an extra drop of excitement to every convocation.
“This is one of the most exciting projects going-on on campus right now,” said Marc Izzo, Executive Director of University Construction and Facilities. “It will bring a lot more to the students.”
Junior Christina Villarino, a psychology major, said, “I am very excited about this new arena. We have a great hockey team here at Sacred Heart that deserves to have a place not only for them to play at but also for us, the students, to be able to go watch them here on campus. It will add a sense of home that I believe will not only make the team play better, but it will also bring excitement to the fans, creating an amazing atmosphere and giving the hockey team the importance they deserve.”
The facility will also serve the school from an economic perspective featuring the inclusion of rental suites where the different sport teams that come to play against Sacred Heart can stay, creating a convenient space that serves both schools.
There will also be skate rentals for public skating and a team store which will be available for fans.
“Collegiate experience is more than just going to classes,” said John Petillo, president of the university. “The upper quad, the ice hockey arena, it all enhances the quality of student life here in Sacred Heart. This all adds to the mosaic of what it means to be part of a happy community.”