Thursday, October 1, 2009

Matthews Arena Opens Its Doors to the Media

Northeastern University opened the doors of the newly renovated Matthews Arena to members of the media for the first time on Thursday afternoon as the home of Huskies hockey turns 100 years old in April. Members of Northeastern’s athletics department addressed the media with a press conference about the renovations and their thoughts on the whole process before taking a tour of the facility.

Associate Athletics Director Jack Grinold offered a brief overview of the Matthews Arena timeline to lay the foundation for the presentation of the future. Along with Grinold, Director of Athletics Peter Roby, men’s head hockey coach Greg Cronin and women’s interim head coach Linda Lundrigan offered their insights and answered questions from the media.

“It’s nice be able to celebrate our past and our history with this building being almost 100 years old with the past accomplishments of our teams,” Roby said. “But the thing that’s most exciting is the future. We are excited about our team’s futures, our student-athletes and the successes they will endure of the course of time, but this building, in particular, now has a really bright future. We’re celebrating 100 years in respect to Matthews Arena, but we are also celebrating the future and looking forward to what we can do here.”

Cronin, entering his fifth season, not only divulged his excitement for the future of Matthews Arena and the program, but also disclosed the passions Matthews Arena evokes.

“This is such a unique building and I think a lot of hockey purists would agree with me when I say it’s a hockey cathedral,” Cronin said. “I’m very fortunate that my career has taken me through a different number of leagues and buildings, but I have to tell you that when I’m in this building and it’s packed like it was most nights last year and it will be this year that it’s a very unique experience. The crowd energy, the noise, the intensity goes right into your blood. It’s something that stirs your soul on the bench and it stirs the souls of the fans, as well.”

Lundigran, who played for Northeastern from 1989-1993, also shared her sentiments on the new era of Matthews Arena.

“Since my time here, I’ve heard of many different ideas of what to do with this arena, but none of it really seemed to come to fruition. To see what we’ve made of it, to bring the old with the new and get an upgrade directly for our student-athletes, is a tremendous honor for me as an alumni,” Lundigran said.

Following the words of NU’s representatives, the media was guided through Matthews Arena and were able to catch a glimpse of the following:

• The men’s and women’s hockey locker rooms have been renovated into suites, consisting of a locker room area, bathroom & shower area and lounge.

• The men’s basketball team now has its own locker room adjacent to the Wentworth men’s hockey locker room on the north side of the building.

• Adjacent to the men’s and women’s hockey suites is the bran new strength & conditioning center with state-of-the-art equipment and a sports medicine room to allow student-athletes to train and receive treatment in the same area.

• The building received a new roof, and hanging from the new roof is a brand new video board over center ice that will show the game in progress, highlights, instant replay and other graphics.

• The public lobby underwent a facelift with new bathrooms and two new concession stands to accommodate the growing number of Huskies fans attending ice hockey and basketball games. The lobby is also now equipped with high definition LCD televisions that are tied into the video board and sound system, so that Huskies fans will not miss any of the action.

• The media will have the best view in Hockey East from the new 23-seat press box on the main level of the arena. The press box is equipped with both hard-wire and wireless Internet access and two high-definition LCD televisions that will have replay capability.

• Every seat in the arena has been replaced with a new seat. Each balcony end has benches instead of seats to accommodate the growing number of students who come to the game and stand to cheer on the Huskies.

“Athletics is a window into the University and if this building can serve as a bright reflection of where the University is going for the future, Northeastern is headed in the right path,” Cronin said.

The women’s hockey team hosts Union on Sat., Oct. 3 at 2 p.m. for the first regular season home game in the new Matthews Arena. The men follow with an exhibition contest the same day against St. Thomas (Fredericton, New Brunswick) at 7 p.m. The men’s first regular season game will be on Fri. Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. against Bentley. The Huskies open the regular season with a pair of non-conference tilts at Colorado College on Fri., Oct. 9 at 9:07 p.m. and Sat., Oct. 10 at 9:37 p.m.





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