Construction underway for Sacred Heart University’s new arena
By Riley SimpsonNovember 22, 2021
Less than seven months after the official groundbreaking, the last piece of steel was put into place at Sacred Heart University’s $70-million Martire Family Arena project, which will be home to the school’s Division I hockey programs, club teams and nationally ranked figure skating team.
The school said the arena will open in January 2023 when the men’s team takes on Boston College and the women face off against Harvard University.
Construction crews have started to form the concourse from the East Building, at SHU’s West Campus, where the success of the varsity hockey programs will be showcased, as well as the east entrance, from which SHU students will enter before they cheer on the Pioneers.
“With each passing day we get closer to opening what is sure to be one of the best collegiate skating facilities on the East Coast,” said Jim Barquinero, SHU senior vice president for enrollment, student affairs and athletics. “We are looking forward to the Pioneers lacing them up. This rink is for all of our athletes, past and present.”
The outlines of the rink, stands for 4,000 fans and VIP suites are also taking shape. In most arenas, the space in between steel beams on the northern side of the building would be filled in with concrete, but the Martire Family Arena will feature state-of-the-art windows that can adjust depending on the time of day to allow for the most natural light while maintaining prime ice conditions.
“I visit the construction site every week, and you can really see the progress,” said Tom O’Malley, women’s ice hockey head coach. “Our new arena is going to be a destination place and ultra-modern. With every day that we get closer to moving into the Martire Family Arena, the pure excitement steadily grows.”
The vision for the Martire Family Arena was originally unveiled to the public at the 2020 CT Ice tournament.
“I was at the site last week and was able to stand exactly where center ice would be, and I looked up and said, ‘Wow, this building is going to be absolutely incredible,’” Marotollo said. “Our fans and our community are going to enjoy watching a hockey game in there. The sight lines will all be terrific, the closeness of the seats to the bowl to the ice will definitely let the fans feel the speed of the game and give them an intimate feel.”
For more on under-construction sports arenas in the U.S., check out CONEXPO-CON/AGG‘s extensive roundup.