By Amy Moritz
It started five years ago, when RIT made the announcement of a major gift that created the Gene Polisseni Center. The 4,300-seat hockey facility opened in 2014 and the facilities game was suddenly on in Atlantic Hockey.
Canisius entered into a partnership with HarborCenter, then Mercyhurst procured $250,000 for upgrades to its rink. Two more programs joined the movement this summer.
Bentley announced construction would begin on a new on-campus facility, set to open in 2018.
American International is moving to the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield, Mass., again eliminating one of the lesser facilities in college hockey.
It’s not quite an arms race, but it’s significant. Better facilities make it easier to schedule big-name nonconference opponents at home, which can mean better attendance and yes, perhaps even a better record outside of the league since it’s easier to grab a point or two at home. This wave of facility upgrades shows a commitment to the hockey programs, which in turn offers a smidge more street cred to Atlantic Hockey as a whole.