Breaking New Ground

 
  (l-r) Luis Caban, executive director of SINA; Kevin Sullivan ’71, vice president for community and institutional relations; Willie O’Ree; Hyacinth Yennie P ’02, ’05, president of the Maple Avenue Neighborhood Revitalization Zone; President Jones; Eddie Perez ’96, mayor of Hartford; and John Dunham, head coach of the men’s hockey team.

There was a definite hockey-like chill in the air as the College hosted special guests, alumni/ae, and members of the local community for the November 6 groundbreaking ceremony at the future home of the Community Sports Complex (CSC). An enthusiastic gathering of faculty, staff, students, parents, and friends of Trinity braved a crisp wind at the construction site near the southeast corner of campus to celebrate the occasion. Among the dignitaries present were Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, a former member of the College administration and a 1996 IDP graduate, Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA) Executive Director Luis Caban, and guest of honor Willie O’Ree, the first African American to play in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Scheduled to open in the fall of 2006, the CSC will feature an ice rink with seating for 1,100 spectators, a fitness center, a rock-climbing wall, as well as community meeting and function rooms. The multi-use facility, made possible through the partnership of Trinity and SINA, will be the home of the College’s men’s and women’s ice hockey teams, which currently practice and play at Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford. “We’ve been waiting a long time for this facility to become a reality,” says Director of Athletics Rick Hazelton. “Our teams deserve this.”

After playing professional hockey for 22 years, O’Ree now serves as the NHL’s director of youth development for diversity. In that role he visits over 60 elementary, middle, and high schools each year—emphasizing the importance of education and goal setting. While he was in town, O’Ree spent time at the Hartford Boys and Girls Club, the Saturday Academy at Trinity, and two local schools. “I tell them to set goals, believe in yourself, and don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t do what you set out to,” he says. “But, I also tell them, even if you’re really good at a sport, you can only play for a few years—then you’re on to the second part of your life. And, for that, you need an education.” As part of the CSC ceremony, Men’s Hockey Coach John Dunham presented O’Ree with a Trinity hockey jersey.

“To have this facility as a community project adds to the importance of the building,” explains Hazelton. “To be able to teach inner-city kids to skate and play hockey, to show them the challenges of rock climbing, are opportunities that no other college facility can offer. The Community Sports Complex will make a difference in the lives of a lot of people.”

For additional information about the Community Sports Complex, please go to: www.trincoll.edu/AboutTrinity/News_Events/releases/complex/

 

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