About Tiger Power Play

Nationally recognized for both men's and women's hockey excellence, the hockey programs' growth and success has passed a point where the current rink, Ritter Arena, will meet RIT's needs. As a Division I hockey program, the RIT Tigers require:

  • Tournament approved ice size.
  • Recruiting support. As a mixed D1/D3 university, RIT cannot offer player scholarships, and needs to balance those offers to heavily recruited players to enhance RIT's appeal.
  • Tournament facilities including visiting locker rooms, security requirements, media facilities, expanded visitor parking, guest services.
  • Revenue sharing opportunities to support D1 tournament play, including expanded seating capacity, concessions and guest services for additional revenue as required by visiting teams.

Here are key questions and answers related to "Tiger Power Play: The Campaign for RIT Hockey":

Q: What is the rationale, case for a new arena?

A: Certainly RIT faces big expectations with each winning season. But in fact, the launch of a new rink is a logical next step in the men's and women's continuing march toward national prominence. Steady progress and success for men's hockey, and the recent move to D1 for women's hockey both mean that this new facility is now a necessity. Recognizing the need for a bigger venue to match RIT's national stature, there is an equal need to create a high-value fan experience. RIT's loyal fan base will seek an atmosphere that is similar to that in Ritter Arena, but the teams' expanded fan base will expect an experience that provides increased bang for their entertainment buck.

Q: What is the capacity of the new arena?

A: The new arena will have seating for approximately 4,000 including suites and club seats.

Q: Where on campus will the new arena be built?

A: The new arena will be constructed in the heart of campus, on the south side of the Student Alumni Union at the end of the U parking lot.

Q: How much will this cost? And what is the breakdown between donors and other RIT funding?

A: The new arena will cost approximately $30 million. In addition to the $4.5 million gift from the Polisseni Foundation and Tom Golisano, RIT alumni Vicki and Steve Schultz provided a lead gift of $1 million, and RIT alumnus J.M. Allain, president of Trans Lux, has committed to providing a $1 million state-of-the-art scoreboard. RIT expects to raise a total of $15 million in donations. The balance of the funds would come from an aggressive business plan to use the arena as a venue for sports and entertainment.

Q: How can I give a gift?

A: Visit the campaign website: www.rit.edu/powerplay and click on Make a Gift.

Q: What is the schedule for construction?

A: Construction of the Gene Polisseni Center began with a groundbreaking ceremony on October 19, 2012. The first game for the new arena is scheduled for Fall 2014.

Q: What will happen to the current Ritter Arena?

A: Ritter Arena will remain open as an ice arena after the new arena is built. It is used by several community groups, and will be open for use by youth hockey teams and RIT students, faculty, and staff.

Q: Why not just expand the current Ritter Arena?

A: Because of the value of the Ritter atmosphere, RIT has explored retrofitting the arena at a cost on par with building a new rink. Sadly, Ritter Arena, constructed in the center of the RIT campus, is land-locked by other facilities and designed in such a way that expansion of seating and media capacity is not just expensive, it's impossible. In addition, Ritter was one of the original structures built when the RIT campus moved to its current location in the late 1960s. Its infrastructure has already been revamped and retrofitted through a series of upgrades simply to bring it up to the standards of last decade.

Q: Will the new arena be used for more than just hockey?

A: Yes. While primarily a hockey arena, options are being explored for use of the facility by others at RIT and the community at large.

Q: Will the new arena be a facility that can be accessed by the Rochester community outside of hockey games?

A: Yes. Part of the business model includes offering the arena to outside groups, such as youth hockey programs and non-hockey community events.

Q: Will there still be hockey games at the Blue Cross Arena downtown?

A: Yes. A hockey game has become the new tradition and central rallying event during Brick City Homecoming and Family Weekend. Tiger fans will continue to fill Blue Cross with a sellout sea of orange (10,556 fans)!

Q: When is the women's team going Division I?

A: The women's hockey team announced in spring 2012 that they would move to Division I in the 2012-2013 season. This announcement came after the women's team won the NCAA Division III national championship.