Over the past decade, Colgate University’s campus has seen quite a number of changes, including enormous renovations to the Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology and Lathrop Hall, as well as the opening of the Robert H. N. Ho Interdisciplinary Science Center, Glendening Boat House and Beyer-Small ’76 Field. Next year, the university’s students, alumni and faculty will be treated to another addition: the new athletics facility and ice hockey rink.
The 97,000 square foot facility was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees in February 2013 and is scheduled to undergo construction from roughly the spring of 2015 to the fall of 2016. It will be built on the former site of Van Doren Field, the location at which Colgate’s soccer teams played all of their home games since 1988. It will include state-of-the-art locker rooms, training room facilities, equipment room facilities and offices for the men’s and women’s ice hockey, lacrosse and soccer teams and
The facility is truly a massive undertaking, both in terms of construction and funding, but thanks to alumni contributions, the Board of Trustees and institutional advancement efforts, that massive undertaking will be taken on with full force.
“We are grateful to President Jeffrey Herbst, our Board of Trustees, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Murray Decock ’80 and the entire advancement team for seeing this dream through to reality,” Director of Athletics Victoria M. Chun ’91 said. “To be able to cross the finish line in this manner provides a great sense of accomplishment to everyone involved.”
Nestled on College Street directly adjacent to Andy Kerr Stadium, the opening of the facility is sure to be a truly spectacular achievement for the university. The location allows for easy access to Beyer-Small ’76 Field, Tyler’s Field and, of course, Andy Kerr, and the facility may very well be a new focal point on campus. Due in large part to the recent success of teams such as women’s soccer, men’s hockey, men’s lacrosse, women’s volleyball and football, athletics seems to have grown into a larger role here at Colgate, and the new facility will help develop that role.
Though the lacrosse and soccer programs are thrilled to move into their new digs, the coup-de-grace of the facility is the gorgeous, brand new ice hockey arena. Starr Rink has been home to Raiders hockey since 1959, over a decade before the school even became coeducational, and is undoubtedly steeped with history and tradition. It served as the filming location for a number of scenes in the 1977 classic “Slapshot”, starring Paul Newman, and has seen 55 different men’s teams and 17 different women’s teams proudly donning the Colgate Maroon and White.
For all its past glory and comfortable, homey feel, Starr Rink is not entirely the venue that Colgate hockey deserves. This is especially true now, as Colgate has begun to truly establish itself as one of the top college hockey programs in the country. The new arena will seat 2,171 people, and while that is an upgrade from Starr Rink’s 2,000-person capacity, the main difference here will be that every fan will actually be able to see the game. Rather than being relegated to a cramped bleacher seat with your view obstructed by a maze of staircases, pep band instruments and layers of glass, students will be given real, Division I-quality seats.
Not to disparage Starr Rink, but the No. 6 nationally-ranked men’s ice hockey team deserve to have a huge fan base at every game, and Starr Rink simply is not conducive to that. The new rink, however, may very well be a game-changer. State-of-the-art equipment, press boxes with TV catwalks above, VIP lounge seating and, most importantly, stadium seats with appropriate viewing angles, will make the rink one of the best new small venues for sports spectating in the country. The sparkling new facility won’t be so bad to have on campus either. Next time you see Chun, Herbst or any of the members of the Board of Trustees, you can thank them for that.