Posted by: reisendame | February 13, 2007

Brand-New Athletic Center Kicked Off With a Bang

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Since Quinnipiac University opened the new TD BankNorth Sports Center on January 27, athletic director Jack McDonald says that the following days of dedication have been “rockin’ and rollin’.”

            The opening weekend kicked off with a men and women’s basketball doubleheader followed by an evening women’s ice hockey game with a celebrity guest.

             “We had Gordie Howe, the greatest hockey player ever, to drop the ceremonial first puck,” says McDonald proudly.

            The new state-of-the art facility houses separate ice hockey and basketball arenas, and McDonald predicts that “it’s going to give all of our students the first-class division one athletic experience.”

            The basketball arena seating capacity is 3,570 and the hockey rink accommodates 3,286 fans. Before the complex was opened, the hockey team home games were held at Northford Ice Pavillion, which McDonald says “really only had about six hundred seats.”

            McDonald remarked that “the student sections were packed full of gold jerseys” at the January 30 men’s ice hockey game against Harvard. “It was awesome.”

            “Frankly, our students are attending more than the general public,” McDonald said. He added that the student turnout is “way, way more than we’ve ever had.”

            The fan base is not limited to sitting in the bright blue individual seats, however. McDonald says “the cool thing is that standing room allows five or six hundred more” people in each arena.

            Despite the large fan capacity inside the center, there are only 700 parking spots outside, which are reserved for non-students.

            McDonald explained that “part of the arrangement with the town is that we agreed we would ask our students to take buses and we would provide them buses.”

            “It’s worked really well,” he said.

            McDonald says that the “first priority, first and foremost, is the student athletes,” and that with the new facilities, “we’ll be able to recruit people that can help us win even more than we already do.”

            He says that the next priority concerning the center is providing “all sorts of neat things for the students,” such as “intramurals, physical education, and public skating” once the athletic department gets “used to the building” over the next year.

            The athletic director says that in the third phase, the school will “maybe have a special event, high school tournament, state championship in this building,” and “from there, we’ll see what happens.”

The equality between the two sports and between genders is what really leaves the BankNorth arena in a class of its own.

            “There’s no one of its kind in the country,” boasts McDonald. “This may not be the biggest building, but it’s by far the best in its function, its equity, obviously its beauty, and its fan-friendliness.”

The new athletic center cost about $52 million to construct, not including “some prep site money that was spent” on paving the “road to the top” and blasting away some of the rock.

McDonald said that this work not only prepares the property for the athletic TD BankNorth Center, “but also the new dormitories that will come in the next few years.”

TD Banknorth Sports Center opens with fanfare, friends

TD Banknorth Sports Center Fact Sheet

Photo Gallery From the Dedication

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