On Saturday evening, the Kentucky Wildcats will take on the Connecticut Huskies in what will surely be an entertaining contest. As a result, our tour heads north to the state of Connecticut. However, unlike most college basketball teams, the University of Connecticut Huskies actually has two home courts: Gampel Pavilion in Storrs and the XL Center in Hartford.
The on-campus home of the University of Connecticut Men’s and Women’s basketball teams is Gampel Pavilion. Opening its doors in 1990, Gampel Pavilion was constructed to replace the smaller Greer Field House. With a capacity of 10,167, Gampel Pavilion is decent sized and has served as a tremendous home-court advantage for both the men’s and women’s teams.
XL Center (formerly Hartford Civic Center)
With the overwhelming success of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the school decided to move some of their games south to the capital city of Hartford at the XL Center. The XL Center, formerly named the Hartford Civic Center, is a larger facility with a capacity of over 16,000.
First opening to the public in 1973 for the then New England Whalers of the WHL, the arena was part of a broader development effort in downtown Hartford. Several years later in 1978, after a University of Connecticut basketball team defeated the University of Massachusetts Minutemen, the roof of the arena collapsed due to the large accumulation of snow. The collapse resulted in the closing of the arena for two years.
Upon its reopening, the Whalers, now named the Hartford Whalers, were brought into the NHL where they developed a loyal following until their untimely relocation to North Carolina in 1997.