Students, town business owners react to new arena

Kaitlyn Yeager

After months of anticipating the opening of the TD Banknorth Sports Center, students were finally able to see the facility on the York Hill campus.

The new center opened Jan. 27 with the unveiling of the bronze bobcat statue and games were played in both the new basketball court and hockey rink.

Students appear to agree that the opening of the new sports center is a positive change for the university.

“The fact we’ve moved up makes us like a real university,” said Ed Kacik, a senior journalism major and Opinion Editor for The Chronicle. “When people watch on TV, they’ll know we’re not playing in a high school gym.”

The new arena seems to have inspired a great increase in school spirit. With a more upscale basketball court and a hockey rink exclusively for the university, many students appear to feel more strongly about the teams.

Kathleen Hessman, a sophomore broadcast journalism major, said that the school spirit on opening day could be felt throughout the arena.

“After going to the first basketball game Saturday, I could see the spirit of the university flowing through the seats,” Hessman said.

The level of spirit in the TD Banknorth Sports Center far outweighed the level felt at games played at the Burt Kahn Court.

“I’ve been to games at the old court,” Hessman said, “and it was nothing compared to what I experienced at the new stadium in one day.”

The spirit itself was not the only thing about the opening that impressed students. The fact that students were willing to get up on a Saturday morning to go to the ceremonies also Saturday morning to go to the ceremonies also struck students, including those who were unable to be there in person.

“I saw a clip of the unveiling of the bronze bobcat and the new sports center and it seemed like there was a large student turnout,” said Sharon Ng, a sophomore sociology major. “It’s really cool to see students get up so early on a weekend to show their school pride.”

Not all students were completely impressed by the turnout, however.

“I expected more people to be there,” said Kacik, referring to the men’s basketball game. He acknowledged, however, that the hockey turnout may have been bigger because it is a more popular sport on campus.

The opening of the new arena effects more than the Quinnipiac community.

Local businesses expect the center to increase their traffic, thought it is still early to tell. Establishments located between the Mount Carmel campus and the York Hill campus hope for an increase in business from people traveling between the campuses.

“I’m sure it will. I’m expecting it to,” said Phil Scarina, manager of the Dunkin’ Donuts at the corner of Whitney and Sherman avenues. “It just opened Saturday.”

Krausers, a small food store in the same complex, feels the same way. Sheikh Shafiq, the store manager, said that he believes the sports complex will boost business, though it will take time to be sure.”I would think so,” he said. “We didn’t get any response yet.”

While the impact of the TD Banknorth Sports Center on local businesses is too soon to gauge, it is expected to be positive, making it a boon to both the school and the community.

Judging by the immense spirit and student reaction seen on the facility’s inaugural day, the university is entering a new age in athletics.

“I’m looking forward to seeing more university events where we can all come together and show our pride toward our school,” Hessman said.