The push for a new UConn hockey arena is moving forward, as university regents on Wednesday approved plans for the venue.
UConn is seeking to construct a new on-campus hockey arena, which would serve alongside downtown Hartford’s XL Center as one of the program’s homes. The current concept calls for the facility to be constructed as part of a $45 million project and be planned with an initial seating capacity of 2,500, but with the possibility of expanding to 3,500 down the road
The facility should allow UConn to better meet Hockey East standards. Although the conference requires on-campus arenas with a seating capacity of at least 4,000, UConn’s use of the XL Center on a part-time basis allowed it to receive a waiver for a smaller venue. More from the Hartford Courant:
The arena is estimated to cost $45 million. The funds are expected to be comprised of UConn’s reserve money ($12.5 million), the profit from recent property sales ($10 million) and the rest ($22.5 million) from a developer with tax-exempt bonds, with UConn paying the developer an annual fee as repayment. University officials have said a donor has expressed interest in giving up to $6 million toward the project.
Hockey East requires each of its members to have an on-campus arena seating at least 4,000 because “the lack of a campus facility compromises the league’s ability to schedule with flexibility,” according to commissioner Joe Bertagna. Bertagna noted that the XL Center frequently hosts other events, which could create scheduling conflicts. But with UConn planning to still use the XL Center frequently, UConn was able to receive a waiver for a smaller, 2,500-seat arena to be built.
The new UConn arena is expected to open in the fall of 2021, and will be built adjacent to the existing Freitas Ice Forum. The Freitas Ice Forum is slated to remain operational for practices and other events.