Sacred Heart University broke ground this week on its $70 million on-campus hockey and skating arena.
This team has been playing home games in recent years at nearby Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. This will be the program’s first on-campus facility.
The ceremony came just two days after Sacred Heart’s heartbreaking three-overtime loss to Army in Game 2 of their Atlantic Hockey quarterfinal series, which ended the Pioneers’ season.
The building will be named Martire Arena, after Frank and Marisa Martire, who gifted $5 million to the building of the arena. Frank Martire is a 1969 graduate of Sacred Heart, chairman of the University’s board of trustees and has an equity interest in the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.
The school is planning to host its first game at the new arena Jan. 14, 2023 against Boston College. The women’s team will play its first game there the next night against Harvard.
The arena promises to have technologically-advanced locker rooms, a world-class strength and conditioning facility designed at a level consistent with the NHL, a comprehensive sports medicine and hydrotherapy suite, a rapid-shot puck room for off-ice training and team film, meeting and lounge spaces, the school said.
“Sacred Heart spent a lot of time focusing on the fan experience,” said Jim Barquinero, senior vice president, enrollment & athletics. “We want this arena to be a destination for fans and families to enjoy cheering on the Pioneers. From fan engagement, youth programs, high school games and open skate, all are welcome.”
Development and construction of the arena is a collaboration among JLG Architects, the SLAM Collaborative, Dimensional Innovations and Consigli Construction.
“This is a historic day, not only for the University, but for our hockey programs,” Sacred Heart head coach C.J. Marottolo said. “This arena has NHL amenities with a collegial feel. Our teams and students will have a place to call home, and that really fills my heart.”