The Class of 1965 Hockey Arena Opens


The Class of 1965 Arena will greatly enhance Colgate’s athletic programs.

Collin Shen-Li Young

On Saturday, October 1, Colgate alumni and students gathered at the newly-built Class of 1965 Arena for its dedication ceremony. The Class of 1965 Arena is the new home of Colgate’s varsity hockey, varsity lacrosse and varsity soccer teams. The structure was named after the Class of 1965 for their significant financial contributions to Colgate in 2015 for their 50th graduation anniversary. Construction began in February 2013, when the Colgate Board of Trustees voted unanimously to initiate the construction of the 97,000-square-foot complex.

The dedication ceremony featured speeches from various individuals involved in and affected by the construction of the Class of 1965 Arena, concluding with the horn sound that is played after the scoring of a goal and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

Speakers at the official dedication included Vice President and Director of Athletics Victoria Chun, President Brian Casey, Colgate Trustee William Johnston ’73, Associate Athletics Director and Head Men’s Hockey Coach Don Vaughan and Women’s Hockey Co-Captain junior Annika Zalewski. 

Chun began the dedication by thanking everyone involved in the project, with special recognition to the 559 donors that helped to make the project a reality. The subsequent speakers thanked those involved. Johnston acknowledged important donors by reading out a list of the donors’ names. 

Each speaker emphasized an aspect of the arena that highlighted how it will impact Colgate in the future. Casey focused on the crucial importance of athletics at Colgate, noting that resources must be invested into athletic programs to make them successful. He cited the completion of the arena as a wonderful example of Colgate’s dedication to its athletic teams.

“Division I athletics are a defining part of Colgate,” Casey said. “[The arena] is as much a classroom as any other classroom on the hill.” 

Vaughan emphasized the arena’s importance to future athletic recruitment and games. He stressed that the arena gives Colgate a huge advantage for recruiting, mentioning the effects the arena has had in attracting potential athletes. He  then discussed morale, noting that the arena will help the hockey team to secure more wins.

“The arena is something all students and coaches can rally behind,” Vaughan said. “It empowers us.” 

Zalewski offered her perspective on the new arena as a student athlete. She paid particular attention to how the construction of the arena demonstrated the school’s support for athletics.

“We all share a common excitement for this facility,” Zalewski said. 

This positive sentiment was echoed by both students and alumni, including club hockey player sophomore Mike Vitale. 

“It’s a gorgeous facility [and a] dynamic change from what we had with Starr Rink,” Vitale said. “It really caters to the players’ needs and pushes the athletes. It brings about all the things I love about Colgate’s tradition. It embodies the Colgate feeling. I couldn’t be a bigger fan.”

Jim Aston ’57 was satisfied with the arena’s construction. 

“It’s lovely, they did a wonderful job,” Aston said. “I am very impressed by its professionalism.” 

Furthermore, appreciation was shown by Peter Desnoes ’65, who acknowledged the fundraising efforts behind the arena’s construction. 

“It was a culmination of three years of fundraising, and I am excited to see it come to fruition,” Desnoes said. “It means a lot to us to see our

classmates memorialized.” 

Casey expressed his belief that the arena will have a lasting impact on Colgate and will help to take Colgate sports to the next level. 

“This is the opening of what can only be described as a game-changing facility, not only for the hockey teams but also for men and women’s soccer [and] lacrosse,” Casey said.