If you’ve been anywhere near the center of campus, you’ve probably noticed the construction of the Gene Polisseni Center that will serve as the new ice hockey arena at RIT. Previously, we discussed many details about the construction of the arena and the development of the project, but this time we wanted to update you with the new features that the Polisseni Center will have. We talked to Luke Mekker, Director of the Gene Polisseni Center and Gordon Field House, to learn more about what the arena will look like when it’s finished, and created a list of 12 things to get excited about in the new Gene Polisseni Center:

  1. Larger ice surface:
    The ice surface will be a regular National Hockey League standard, bigger than the current Ritter Arena ice surface.
  2. The Corner Crew Student Section was expanded:
    The arena will have individual seats, but on the south end there will be bench seating for students who want to be able to stand and cheer on the team. This area will also serve for the Pep Band and our favorite fans: The Corner Crew.
  3. Video boards:
    There will be two large video boards at either end to improve visibility for the fans, to show instant replays during the game, and to improve the overall fan experience.
  4. You can have your name in a seat:
    When a donor makes a $1,000 gift to the Tiger Power Play, they will have a personal plaque mounted to a seat of choice in the arena. This will not guarantee that the person will have that specific seat when they attend a game, but it is a nice way to be recognized.
  5. The Hall of Fame:
    The lower level concourse will showcase memorabilia from previous RIT hockey teams.
  6. Retail store:
    There will be a Barnes and Noble merchandise store where visitors can buy RIT Hockey related gear and souvenirs.
  7. Club lounge:
    There will be a club lounge located on the second level for people who purchase Club Seats or one of the Club Suites, where they can enjoy a free dinner buffet and the opportunity to mingle with others at the Club Bar. This will be the only area of the arena that will serve beer and wine.
  8. Box office:
    You won’t have to go all the way to the Ritter Arena or Gordon Field House box office to get your tickets. There will be box office at the northwest entrance of the arena.
  9.  Food Options:
    The lower and upper level will both have fixed concession stands that will serve pizzas, hot dogs, popcorn, sodas, fries and so on. Additionally, mobile food carts, possibly from external vendors, will be located throughout the arena.

10. Media mezzanine:
There will be a third level with media stands for broadcasting crews and coaches. Access to this area will be restricted.

11. Main entrances at the Arena:
There will be three main entrances for public and fans and one main entrance for arena staff. The grand entrance will be next to the box office, facing Gleason Circle.

12.  Eco-friendly Arena:
The arena will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Mr. Mekker said that the feature what will make the Polisseni Center different from the Ritter Arena is the “fan experience”. Hockey fans will be able to enjoy games in a much more comfortable environment; better seating, sight lines, food options, and restrooms. For those of you wondering what will happen with the Ritter Arena, Mr. Mekker told us that will be used for student recreation such as classes and open skate, and for learn-to-skate, club sports, intramurals, high school games, etc.

Ticket pricing will be announced in February 2014, while the new Gene Polisseni Center is scheduled to open in September 2014.

Written by: Ivonna Cabrera.

Contributing reporting by: Margaret Linandjaja.

Photo Credit: Luke Auburn via RIT Construction Webcam.

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