[Updated: 12/11/15 – 3:30 p.m.]
For the first time in over half a century, Vermont hockey may be finding a new home.
It is believed that a new arena may be coming to replace Gutterson Fieldhouse.
“Current plans call for a new multipurpose events center to be built on the west side of the PFG Athletic Complex,” Athletic Director Robert Corran stated in a Dec. 7 e-mail.
“The center would seat approximately 5,700 fans and would accommodate hockey, basketball and a variety of university events such as speakers, graduation ceremonies and concerts,” Corran wrote.
Currently, Gutterson can hold only 4,007 fans, according to UVM athletics.
The timetable for the new events center depends on fundraising, as it is a part of UVM’s capital campaign, Corran stated.
“Gutterson has a great deal of character and is an exciting venue when hosting capacity crowds, but it is sorely lacking in athlete and spectator amenities,” Corran wrote. “For the athletes, the locker rooms, training rooms, video rooms, among others are either cramped or nonexistent.”
Current estimates for the price of this new arena are in the range of $75 million, according to WPTZ.
Gutterson Fieldhouse opened in 1963, the same year the men’s hockey program was founded, according to UVM athletics.
The arena has been home to the men’s program since its move from Division II to Division I in 1974.
The fan base that packs Gutterson Arena is what makes the rink so special, senior defenseman and captain Yvan Pattyn said.
“The environment and energy in our building is incomparable,” Pattyn said. “It’s a great place to play, mostly because of our incredible fan base.”
For junior forward Tom Forgione, a Burlington native, playing home games at Gutterson Fieldhouse has a deeper meaning.
“Growing up in Vermont and going to UVM hockey games as a kid, Gutterson will always be a special place for me,” Forgione said. “However, I am excited at the prospect of a new arena for future Catamounts to enjoy.”
Players reflected on memories of Gutterson.
“My favorite memory of Gutterson was last season during game three of the Hockey East playoffs against Maine. We went to overtime and Jon Turk scored the winner,” Pattyn said, referencing the Catamounts’ 3-2 win over the University of Maine in the opening round of the Hockey East playoffs.
“The sold-out crowd had never been louder and it’s a feeling I’ll never forget,” he said.
Forgione said his first home game as a Catamount is his best memory of the Gut, where Vermont beat No. 5 Notre Dame in what he said was “one of the craziest atmospheres I have seen at Gutterson.”
For Forgione, being a Burlington native has allowed him to have a special appreciation for Gutterson.
“Being from Burlington, Gutterson will always be my favorite place to play,” he said. “With its unique mix of atmosphere and history it’s by far the best rink in college hockey.”