On Jan. 25, 2020, President Petillo announced that a new hockey and skating arena would be built at West Campus. It is currently in the process of being built and is scheduled for completion in Dec. 2022.
“This is something we have been talking about for a long time,” said Thomas O’Malley, head coach of women’s ice hockey. “Now that it’s finally coming to fruition I just can’t wait to get in the door.”
“It was like our dream come true,” said C.J. Marottolo, head coach of men’s ice hockey. “It will give our players a state-of-the-art facility to call home right on-campus. They will be able to train and become the best that they can be and in turn create a college hockey atmosphere that will be one of the best.”
According to the Sacred Heart Athletics website, “It was a third period to remember as a pair of goals late led to the Sacred Heart University men’s ice hockey team downing #12 Boston University 3-2.”
Named The Martire Family Arena, the facility will also be the on-campus home for both men’s and women’s Division I ice hockey, club figure skating, and men’s club ice hockey. It will cost the university $70 million with a $5 million donation coming from Frank and Marissa Martire.
“We have been in the spotlight as a university for quite some time now,” said O’Malley. “Our hockey program has continually grown, and I am hearing from potential recruits from all over the United States, Canada, and Europe. Everyone knows about us.”
“When we sit down with a family and show them what it’s going to look like they can’t believe the commitment that the school is making to a facility like this. It shows that Sacred Heart is about excellence both in the classroom and on the playing field as well.”
Sacred Heart is taking many steps to ensure that their arena is on par with that of other top hockey schools around the country.
“We only have a chance to build a brand-new building this one time, and it’s going to be a palace,” said O’Malley. “This is going to be state of the art with all the bells and whistles. Some of the VPs and the athletic director have traveled around the country stopping into some of the major arenas, taking bits and pieces from those beautiful buildings.”
According to Sacred Heart’s website, the arena will feature athletic training suites, player lounges, a rapid shot puck room for off-ice training, a sports medicine and hydrotherapy suite, a theatre to review film, a pro-motion training harness and a locker room consistent with modern NHL standards for the athletes.
Currently, the men’s team practices and plays at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport while the women’s team practices and plays at The Sports Center of Shelton, Conn.
“We share Webster Bank Arena with the Bridgeport Islanders and other teams, so having our own place that we can call home will be huge,” said junior Braeden Tuck. “We can have more engagement with the student body, as it will be easier for them to come to our games. They can be there for us at our Sacred Heart hockey home.”
The first game in the arena will be on Jan. 14, 2023 when Divison I men’s hockey takes on Boston College and Jan. 15, 2023, the Women’s team will take on Harvard on Jan. 15, 2023.
“I couldn’t be more excited to see this new addition come to campus,” said sophomore Kat Barry. “I think it’s going to be a great community builder and the atmosphere of the arena will be incredible. I can’t wait to go.”