COLORADO SPRINGS — Campus leaders and city officials broke ground this weekend on the new Ed Robson Ice Hockey Arena at Colorado College. When the new venue opens in October of 2021, it will mark the first time in the 80 year history of the hockey program that home games will be played on school property.
"Our dedicated fans have supported the Tigers for generations and now we'll be able to strengthen this connection right here on campus," college president Jill Tiefenthaler told the crowd who'd gathered for the ceremony.
The new ice arena will be named in honor of real estate developer Ed Robson, a former Tiger hockey player and 1954 graduate.
"They're pretty good sales people," Robson joked with the audience. "Of course, I didn't that that made any kind of sense, because I didn't think I had that kind of money."
With 3,400 seats, the venue will have less than half the capacity of the Tiger's current home at the Broadmoor World Arena. But by building on campus, it also make it easier for the student body to get to the games.
"For the community and the school, the student body will be able to come out and support more," said Tigers forward Troy Conzo. "They don't have to drive to the rink, they could walk or ride a bike."
The estimated cost to build the arena is $35 million. Head Coach Mike Haviland told the crowd he thinks the new facility will help the team to recruit players.
"The recruiting world right now in hockey and all of college sports is very competitive, and this will bring us to new heights," he said.
While a majority of the funding was privately raised, the project qualifies for $9 million in public funds awarded to the City of Colorado Springs through the State of Colorado's Regional Tourism Act.
City Council President Richard Skorman told the audience the success of the ice arena project allowed for the downtown soccer stadium to be built. The financial incentives from the state required both projects be built.
"I just can't thank Colorado College enough. I just can't thank the state, the regional tourism board (enough) for allowing this to happen," Skorman said.
As part of the partnership with City for Champions, the arena will also be used during the summer an in the off-season for additional regional, national and international sports events.