The winter arena season is wrapping up for me and this was definitely the last college basketball visit of the year (there may be one more hockey arena in the works, then its on to ballparks). Hamden, CT and the TD Bank Sports Center was the destination and the game would be an NEC Tournament Semifinal game between Quinnipiac and Robert Morris. Typically, I don’t go to “playoff” games for a first arena visit because it can skew my impression of the atmosphere. However, this place was absolutely rocking and totally worth it. A deluge of rain followed me both to and from Connecticut as the drive was not pleasant. But if it fell as the white stuff, I wouldn’t be on my way. Hamden is a nice town and Sleeping Giant State Park is a cool visual while heading North on Whitney Ave. The campus at Quinnipiac is really scenic nestled up by that mountain, while the new basketball arena sits up on a hill about a half-mile from the new campus.
TD Bank Sports Center is a nice facility built only a few years ago and it actually has both a seperate basketball and hockey arena. It’s a small building (only seating 3,560) and though it has a standard oval seating bowl, there are nice touches to give the arena some character and a little bit of a different touch. These include: a floor-to-ceiling glass window allowing for an outdoor view, yellow-painted beams and trusses, a University Club that is set high in one of the corners and perched over the 360 degree walkway. Overall, it was yet another arena that I enjoyed.
What really set this visit apart was the atmosphere. I mean, it was surprisingly loud and boisterous! The Bobcats were playing the team that beat them (at home) in the NEC championship last year and revenge was on their minds. The crowd was loud and there were a few points late in the second half when it was hard to hear myself talk after a big play. A great turnout by the students too and they did a good job. It was an intense, hard-fought game that Robert Morris eventually ended up winning with a soft floater by Velton Jones with :04 left. I felt bad for those students and fans who were pretty upset while filing out as the finality of the season hit them. For a more detailed review, click here. I’ll also have a review posted over at Stadium Journey in a few weeks.