The Robert Morris University Island Sports Center complex on Neville Island will be getting a bit of a facelift this summer.
The facility, which has served as the home of the RMU men’s and women’s hockey teams since their inception in 2004, will see its first major renovation since it has come under the auspices of the university.
This summer’s work will include renovations to the men’s and women’s locker rooms, athletic training room and equipment and laundry faculties.
The new facilities will help Robert Morris remain competitive for recruits in the Atlantic Hockey Conference.
The Island Sports Center’s main rink – known for sponsorship purposes as 84 Lumber Areana — seats only 1,200 for hockey and the Colonials had several sellouts in the 2014-15 season.
RMU hosted 1,607 on for a late-season conference matchup against Canisius. Senior night on Feb 28 against Niagara saw 1,229 cram into “The Lumberyard” as it is affectionately known
“We are very appreciative to continue to upgrade our facilities,” men’s head coach Derek Schooley said in a statement. “Over the past few years, several teams in our conference have built new rinks or have done renovations to their buildings. We are very excited for these changes to our players’ area. These updates will help the RMU Island Sports Center to continue to be one of the premier rinks in Atlantic Hockey.”
The desire to keep pace with conference rivals has been heightened with several foes making improvements to their existing facilities or opening brand new ones over the last few years:
• The Canisius Golden Griffins play in the brand-new 1,800-seat HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York, which was financed by Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula.
• RIT also opened the 4,300-seat Gene Polisseni Center in 2014, replacing the 46-year Ritter Ice Arena.
• Bentley University has been evaluating sites for a new 2,500-seat on-campus building since March.
• Mercyhurst University announced a $300,000 renovation to their 24-year old Mercyhurst Ice Center in February.
Robert Morris will open the 2015-16 season with a home series against the U.S. Air Force Academy on October 16 and 17.
Photo credit: Brian Mitchell