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OT : UConn looking to upgrade the Men's Ice Hockey Program?

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The local population will fight any huge venue expansion plan, UConn couldnt get a 30k stadium in there.
 
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sure playing on campus would be ideal, but with all the facilities we need in the state capitol a half hour away why not take advantage of them? i used to love games at Gampel when i was a student but we make more money at the HCC for bball, it's already set up for hockey, and it's closer/easier for the majority of fans. since money is apparently the only motovator behind all AD decisions anymore, why not take the cheap route and use the HCC? at least initially. we could probably figure out a few local opponents that could generate 5k+ fans and build off of that
 
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Although the money would dictate what happens I am not a fan of the basketball/hockey arena. It is not the same when you set up a basketball floor on a hockey rink vs a basketball court by itself. The Dean Dome at UNC is an amazing place to watch a game. Totally focused on basketball. The fans are right on top of the game. When you throw in the hockey rink you pull the fan back from the sidelines and lose something. However money would dictate a single arena.

There's a good reason why few teams that play ice hockey (and own their own arenas) use the same arena that they do for basketball. BC is the only one who actually pulls it off with any success (although that basketball success is dwindling some). Mostly you just have UMass (4K average attendance in an 8K arena), Ohio State (<3K in a 17K arena), Nebraska-Omaha (6K in a 16K facility; UNO hoops doesn't play there, but Creighton basketball does), and Northeastern (who draws 22oo for basketball and 3000 for hockey in an arena that seats 5K). The common thread here is that none of those teams come close to filling the space, and it has a definite effect on the venue's intimidation factor. Yale could play its home games in Bridgeport, and judging by the crowds it can bring to the NCAA hockey regionals from the last two times it was there, they could pull off sellouts for big games. Bust most of the time, they'd be playing in front of the same three thousand fans that they could have at Ingalls, with absolutely zero of the 'small barn' advantages they do get from Ingalls. The most intimidating venues I've been to as a college hockey fan (Yost@Michigan, Lynah@Cornell, the old Walter Brown@BU, Cheel@Clarkson, Whittemore@UNH, Alfond@Maine) have all been that way because they're smaller, hockey-specific, on-campus and 95% full. Mullins, on the other hand, is pretty sterile, and its biggest advantage to me as a fan is that you don't have to buy a ticket ahead of time.
 
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There's a good reason why few teams that play ice hockey (and own their own arenas) use the same arena that they do for basketball. BC is the only one who actually pulls it off with any success (although that basketball success is dwindling some). Mostly you just have UMass (4K average attendance in an 8K arena), Ohio State (<3K in a 17K arena), Nebraska-Omaha (6K in a 16K facility; UNO hoops doesn't play there, but Creighton basketball does), and Northeastern (who draws 22oo for basketball and 3000 for hockey in an arena that seats 5K). The common thread here is that none of those teams come close to filling the space, and it has a definite effect on the venue's intimidation factor. Yale could play its home games in Bridgeport, and judging by the crowds it can bring to the NCAA hockey regionals from the last two times it was there, they could pull off sellouts for big games. Bust most of the time, they'd be playing in front of the same three thousand fans that they could have at Ingalls, with absolutely zero of the 'small barn' advantages they do get from Ingalls. The most intimidating venues I've been to as a college hockey fan (Yost@Michigan, Lynah@Cornell, the old Walter Brown@BU, Cheel@Clarkson, Whittemore@UNH, Alfond@Maine) have all been that way because they're smaller, hockey-specific, on-campus and 95% full. Mullins, on the other hand, is pretty sterile, and its biggest advantage to me as a fan is that you don't have to buy a ticket ahead of time.

Difficult to justify the cost of building a hockey only facility, especially if you need a new basketball and hockey facility. A school like BU could do it because hockey is their premier sport. A lot of the teams you mentioned are hockey focused or are playing in a an older arena like Michigan.

Then you have Minnesota that has a facility for basketball, men's hockey and woman's hockey. Men's facility sits 10K the woman's 3.4K. Woman's facility was built after the men's facility.
 
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I seriously doubt you could retrofit Gampel, and we're not building a new basketball arena, just a practice center. As far as UCONN hockley goes, I agree that a 5000 seat facility would make the most sense. I don't know whether or if Frietas is expandable. It almost looks like the "rink" building could be expanded at a not too unreasonable cost, and then it would be necessary to bring in some better seating. I don't love the Civic Center option except as an occassional "big game" venue for maybe BC, BU something like that. I never like 5000 in a 16000 seat venue for any sport (or 2500 in a 40000 seat venue) . Worst case, I guess, you could play at the XL and use Frietas as a practice facility. But I agree with kingdobbs that a smaller packed venue is a much better home ice advantage than a large facility that's 3/4 empty. WalterBrown arena was intimidating for that reason. If it is possible to expand Frietas without essentially demolishing everything and rebuilding from the ground up, it would be a pretty reasonable option.
 
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No way the school funds for a new hockey complex and there is no way UConn could turn a profit from Hockey. That is unless they have overwhelming immediate success in a major conference like the HE. Like other sports, ticket sales will be a major factor in revenue. They would be lucky to average 1,500-2k a game as a competitive program.

Based on 2011-2012 data to date, Michigan draws 5,600 on average for games. They are an elite program with 40k+ undergrad. BC draws 6,300 on average in a big time hockey town. They also play many teams that are within 5-45 minutes of their campus like PC, Northeastern, BU, etc. That would be like driving 20 minutes to see UConn play SU or RU in football and we were both top 10-15 in the country.
 
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HOckey is not hoops or pigskin. It won't work in Hartford. It has to be on campus for it to work. Otherwise, you'll never get a student, there will never be enthusiasm and the program won't develope.
 
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HOckey is not hoops or pigskin. It won't work in Hartford. It has to be on campus for it to work. Otherwise, you'll never get a student, there will never be enthusiasm and the program won't develope.
Don't disagree. The other point is that it might be possible for a program to eventually break even, but it doesn't have to do that, certainly not in the short term. In fact, the real goal with this, as with pretty much any program, is to keep costs to the university at what they are now at least in the short term.That was the short term goal for football when they were evaluating an upgrade, and it is the short term goal for UMass's football upgrade and for villanova's proposed upgrade. Villanova, for example, currently spends 5 million more for football than they bring in in revenues. They had as their short term objective to run a 1A program that cost no more than $5 million. That really is how one should approach a UCONN hockey upgrade. If they currently "lose" (though I don't think we should think of it as a "loss" any more than we think of the marching Band or the Chess Club expenses or womens soccer expenses as "losses.) $850,000, if you can run a higher level program, with a higher level of ticket income, tv income, donations and so forth and still only face the same $850,000 "loss" you should absolutely do it.
 
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Difficult to justify the cost of building a hockey only facility, especially if you need a new basketball and hockey facility. A school like BU could do it because hockey is their premier sport. A lot of the teams you mentioned are hockey focused or are playing in a an older arena like Michigan.

If "that's how successful teams manage it", and "half-empty arenas suck for home advantage" aren't a good enough reason, I have more.

1) Scheduling priority: If UConn hockey shares the same arena footprint as basketball (i.e. a basketball floor on top of the ice plant), they will be at best a third priority (and will drop to fourth if that arena is the XL). Games will be shoehorned onto weekend afternoon and weeknight slots, and attendance WILL not be as high as it could be as a result (weeknight games will be non-starters for the youth hockey portion of the fan base). This would be easier to manage should we be invited to Hockey East (only Maine and Notre Dame will need to be done as two-fers rather than home and homes). I have no doubt that it can be managed well enough, but if a basketball game needs the arena on a specific date, they're going to get priority over hockey, no questions asked.
2) Local youth hockey: UConn's current arena is put to use by local youth (Northeast Ice Dogs) and high school hockey (EO Smith's co-op with Tolland and Windham), partially subsidizing the operations cost. I see no reason that can't continue into a new facility, and those programs will need somewhere to go in any event.
3) Practice time: To some degree, this will be partially alleviated by a separate basketball practice facility as is being currently built. However, women's hockey, men's hockey, youth hockey, men's basketball, women's basketball, and volleyball will all need practice time; you could maintain Frietas as a practice/community rink...but why have the extra cost of maintaining two rinks?
4) Student fans: Having the games off campus to start, without a transition plan to on-campus, will prevent the school from ever building a solid student fan base that is the core of successful hockey programs around the country.

I get the main point: it requires a large capital outlay to start, and that will have to be considered as part of this study. That's why the school is not doing it, but exploring it.

Then you have Minnesota that has a facility for basketball, men's hockey and woman's hockey. Men's facility sits 10K the woman's 3.4K. Woman's facility was built after the men's facility.

But none of them play on the same footprint, now that Ridder has been built. Williams (the hoops venue) used to host all three; now they just have hoops.
 
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3) Practice time: To some degree, this will be partially alleviated by a separate basketball practice facility as is being currently built. However, women's hockey, men's hockey, youth hockey, men's basketball, women's basketball, and volleyball will all need practice time; you could maintain Frietas as a practice/community rink...but why have the extra cost of maintaining two rinks?

Practice is always and issue. BC men's and woman's hockey teams often practice at off campus facilities. When the hoop floor is down they lose access to the ice. Fortunately they have multiple ice rinks within a short distance of campus. When the ice is down the hoops teams have access to the Power Gym in Conte forum for practices.

If memory serves me UMass has a hockey rink attached to the Mullin Center. They use that for practice and community skating. They only use the main arena for games.
 
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An expansion of the rink portion of Frietas wouldn't be all that complicated. That type of building is pretty easily and relatively inexpensive to expand. the issue is that any expansion would probably interfere with Morrone Stadium. So unless and until that is relocated, and I think there has been talk for years of moving soccer to the old Memorial Stadium site, an expansion might be more complicated. I would guesstimate we're talking a few million as opposed to 15-30 million for a completely new facility.
 
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I'm sorry....I like college hockey (probably not as much as others who have posted on this) and I'm a UConn grad.....and I can't for the life find one reason why this is a good idea? I'm not buying the argument that this would make us more attractive to the B1G.

Can someone help me out to understand why this is a good idea? It just seems like it's a money loser and at a time when tuition is on an historic rise I find this hard to defend.
 
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I'm sorry....I like college hockey (probably not as much as others who have posted on this) and I'm a UConn grad.....and I can't for the life find one reason why this is a good idea? I'm not buying the argument that this would make us more attractive to the B1G.

Can someone help me out to understand why this is a good idea? It just seems like it's a money loser and at a time when tuition is on an historic rise I find this hard to defend.
Jimmy,
I think you miss the basic point. If it can be done at a higher level without increasing net costs significantly, or even reducing them, it makes sense to do it. If not it doesn't make sense. I don't know that either of those things is possible or that they are not possible,but I think it is worth looking into. Based on my gut feeling and what I've seen over the years, I think that if done reasonably right,hockey while it wouldn't necessarily make money, would come close to breaking even, probably being closer to even than the current program. Again, I don't know it but I think its likely enough to at least explore. Finally, there is the issue of simply putting competititve programs out there. UCONN has had so much success, mens basketball, womens basketball, baseball recently, mens and womens soccer, football, track & field. Why not at least look to see if changes can be made to the program that will make it more competitive, too?

As far as the tuition thing goes, to me that is a red herring. the tutiton increases are geared to increasing faculty and continuing the progress of the University. As I said somewhere else, the State University system (Central, Southern Eastern, Western) are the low cost options. UCONN has a very different role. And whether or not the hockey program is upgraded has little or nothing to do with this, and even less to do with the tuition rise. Susan herbst, Larry McHugh and the rest of the Board of Trustees have a vision for the future University of Connecticut as a world class, nationally recognized university. Not just a public university. In many respects looking at this move is not really much different from looking at the football upgrade or looking at building a practice gym for the basketball teams. It is about doing things at a high level, and having a potential place at the table when the opportunity comes around.
 
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I'm sorry....I like college hockey (probably not as much as others who have posted on this) and I'm a UConn grad.....and I can't for the life find one reason why this is a good idea? I'm not buying the argument that this would make us more attractive to the B1G.

Can someone help me out to understand why this is a good idea? It just seems like it's a money loser and at a time when tuition is on an historic rise I find this hard to defend.
It makes sense because UConn has an opening to the elite conference in the country. It's not a play to get into the B1G, that's not happening. It provides more national TV exposure on NBC/VS for the school, as well as games on NESN and CBS Sports Network, all of whom have deals with HE. It provides another link to ND (could be helpful for a potential move). Hockey is NOT a money pit if you do it right and you don't let the program languish in junk. Hockey East is a fun league, games are incredibly exciting, and imagine for a hardcore fan being able to drive to 9 of your 11 conference opponents in 3.5 hours or less. You MUST keep it on campus, the fanbase starts with the students. Going to games are literally like crack, once you're sucked in, you're done for and can't get out.
 

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I leave town for two days, and my dream might be coming true. Unreal.

I've spent way more time than I'd like to admit dreaming about how it could work. They need another building. I've tried to find another way, but there is no other option. You can't retrofit Gampel- it's physically impossible. You could play at the XL while you build a rink, but you'd need a new building. It doesn't have to be big, or The Ralph/Agganis, but you need something else.

But if they make this happen, they get a four-figure check from me.
 
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I'm sorry....I like college hockey (probably not as much as others who have posted on this) and I'm a UConn grad.....and I can't for the life find one reason why this is a good idea? I'm not buying the argument that this would make us more attractive to the B1G.

Can someone help me out to understand why this is a good idea? It just seems like it's a money loser and at a time when tuition is on an historic rise I find this hard to defend.

1) It's a logical 'next step' sport, now that we've done all that the university can to make football a success (since so very much is, and will always be, out of our hands). Doubling down on football and basketball isn't the way to show off that we have a strong all-around athletic department. As limited as the collegiate hockey spread is, it's a legitimate chance to be known for something else other than basketball, and grow the UConn brand.
2) We already spend money on hockey that goes nowhere; there's a chance we could produce a self-sustaining program (minus up-front capital expenditures), which takes pressure off the basketball and football programs to produce enough to subsidize the whole AD.
3) It's of lesser concern, but I like the fact that it will bring us back together with some old-school rivalries we've outgrown; HEA is basically the old Yankee Conference.

Is that enough to counteract the fact that hockey's a relatively expensive sport (especially if you rent)? Probably not. But it could be.
 

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this is not good news for BC. Within a few years, we'll surpass them in hockey too

it's tradition
 
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1) It's a logical 'next step' sport, now that we've done all that the university can to make football a success (since so very much is, and will always be, out of our hands). Doubling down on football and basketball isn't the way to show off that we have a strong all-around athletic department. As limited as the collegiate hockey spread is, it's a legitimate chance to be known for something else other than basketball, and grow the UConn brand.
2) We already spend money on hockey that goes nowhere; there's a chance we could produce a self-sustaining program (minus up-front capital expenditures), which takes pressure off the basketball and football programs to produce enough to subsidize the whole AD.
3) It's of lesser concern, but I like the fact that it will bring us back together with some old-school rivalries we've outgrown; HEA is basically the old Yankee Conference.

Is that enough to counteract the fact that hockey's a relatively expensive sport (especially if you rent)? Probably not. But it could be.
Agree with everything you said and i have one more comment on the first point. While the "spread" is limited, if you look at the participants, it is a group that we would benefit from being around. the Big 10 schools are all the well known Bigs. The Ivies. BC and our old New England rivals as you said. Much more appropriate place for UCONN to be than with Robert Morris and Mercyhurst College.
 
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this is not good news for BC. Within a few years, we'll surpass them in hockey too

it's tradition
I very much hope youre being sarcastic because uconn is decades from even beig able to sniff the same level as the bc hockey program. They not only are among the top five or six all time they are far and away the most successful program since the turn of the century, and there's no one that even comes close. We can definitely set our sights on surpassing UMass and Lowell, but schools like BU and BC are pipe dreams for us.
 

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I very much hope youre being sarcastic because uconn is decades from even beig able to sniff the same level as the bc hockey program. They not only are among the top five or six all time they are far and away the most successful program since the turn of the century, and there's no one that even comes close. We can definitely set our sights on surpassing UMass and Lowell, but schools like BU and BC are pipe dreams for us.

They said that about basketball and football too. You seem like you follow HE and are a whole hell of a lot more knowledgeable than me about college hockey (I don't follow it at all), but never say never.

For what it's worth, I'm not a big hockey guy, but if tickets were reasonably priced (say $10-$20) I'd make the 50 minute drive from New London to catch a few games.
 
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Fair enough guys. I got a better handle on the potential. I'm still not sold on the idea, but thanks for explaining it to me. I live in southern CT and take in a few Yale and Quinnipiac games down here. I like the small arena on campus (QU's arena is about a mile from campus) feel though. Games at the XL would suck. Maybe an annual game against BC there, but the games need to be campus.
 
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My suggestion: build a new arena for basketball & hockey & basketball facilities. Just enlarge the footprint of the basketball facilities by adding an arena that seats 12,000. Then, give the students prime seating in the extra space created. Finally, you can cap the upper tier of the arena with curtains for hockey to keep the intimate feel. 6,000.

Gampel is small. Use Gampel for other purposes.
 
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They said that about basketball and football too. You seem like you follow HE and are a whole hell of a lot more knowledgeable than me about college hockey (I don't follow it at all), but never say never.

For what it's worth, I'm not a big hockey guy, but if tickets were reasonably priced (say $10-$20) I'd make the 50 minute drive from New London to catch a few games.
BC hockey is leaps and bounds ahead of their football and basketball programs. When you talk about BC hockey, put them at the level of an Alabama football or Duke basketball. Four national titles, fourth in all-time program wins, the list goes on. Yes, I do follow HE very, very closely, I've been a BU season ticket holder since I was in school and go to just about every home and away game each season, so I'm far too well versed in how good the BC hockey program is. Fortunately, my guys have an extra banner right now, more all-time wins, and lead the overall head to head series. That bit of info is for the BC poster reading this right now.

It's not the case as is with their football and basketball programs where they hype some history and mystique that isn't there. They're the real mccoy in hockey, and UConn is not and will not be on par with their program until there are multiple national title banners hanging from a new arena.
 
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BC hockey is leaps and bounds ahead of their football and basketball programs. When you talk about BC hockey, put them at the level of an Alabama football or Duke basketball. Four national titles, fourth in all-time program wins, the list goes on. Yes, I do follow HE very, very closely, I've been a BU season ticket holder since I was in school and go to just about every home and away game each season, so I'm far too well versed in how good the BC hockey program is. Fortunately, my guys have an extra banner right now, more all-time wins, and lead the overall head to head series. That bit of info is for the BC poster reading this right now.

It's not the case as is with their football and basketball programs where they hype some history and mystique that isn't there. They're the real mccoy in hockey, and UConn is not and will not be on par with their program until there are multiple national title banners hanging from a new arena.

UConn might not be able to match the history, but that goes without saying.

Nonetheless, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont have all had top teams. Heck, Merrimack and UMass Lowell have had top teams. Lake Superior State! has had top teams. I see no reason why UConn couldn't jump in and immediately compete.

My current school, Buffalo, is joining D1 next year, and if they ever dropped football and focused on hockey, they would dominate in short order. It's dumb of them not do so, since WNY is a hockey hotbed, and Ontario is 5 minutes away. I can think of no better placed school in America for hockey, and yet they persist with this football fantasy.
 
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They said that about basketball and football too. You seem like you follow HE and are a whole hell of a lot more knowledgeable than me about college hockey (I don't follow it at all), but never say never.

For what it's worth, I'm not a big hockey guy, but if tickets were reasonably priced (say $10-$20) I'd make the 50 minute drive from New London to catch a few games.

Unlike football and basketball, BC has actually won national championships in hockey.
 
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