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UConn’s on-campus hockey arena beginning to take shape

UConn held a tour of Toscano Family Ice Forum for local media on Tuesday.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

On Tuesday, UConn toured Toscano Family Ice Forum, the new on-campus rink, with a contingent of local media. While the arena is still over three months from full completion, it’s beginning to take shape.

The visit began through the main entrance where all fans will arrive for every game. The lobby opens up into the ice-level lounge in front, the team areas on the left and the main stairwell up the concourse on the right.

In the seating bowl, nearly all the chairbacks have been installed. There’s a nod to Gampel Pavilion with one row of red chairs among a sea of navy blue chairs. The chairbacks cover three sides of the arena with only the student section featuring bleachers — which are still being installed.

Up on the concourse level, the steep incline of the seating bowl became readily apparent. Each seat feels like it’s on top of the ice, even in the last row of a section. The club-level lounge amplifies that feeling. In addition to the event space, there will be two rows with over 100 seats that hang above the playing surface. Those in the front row will look down and be nearly even with the top of the boards.

Down in the team areas, the rooms are all enclosed but still need to be completed. As opposed to our visit in May, a visit to the rink no longer requires much imagination. From an untrained eye, most of the structural work is done and it’s just a matter of installing the ceilings, floors, furnishings, etc.

As of now, UConn hopes to move into the facility in December with the soft launch happening with a women’s hockey game on Jan. 13 followed a double-header grand opening the next day. So far, there haven’t been any delays.

“I’m probably not the person to ask as far as construction schedule, but I can tell you that from the time that we started this project until now, everything seems to have gone very smoothly,” UConn athletic director David Benedict said. “There really hasn’t been any unknowns and obviously when you’re doing these types of projects, you always plan for some unknowns. Whether it was supply chain or anything underneath the soil, things have gone really well.”

Photo ©: Ian Bethune