The legacy of Patrick Gym
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 21:10
Every winter as temperatures drop and snowdrifts pile several feet high, the Gutterson Field House and Patrick Gym’s capacity overflows with energized hockey fans.
The tradition of hockey games, which started in 1963, long before the Naked Bike Ride or SpringFest, has been a staple in the University’s history. However, as the student population has increased and top-notch facilities become significant in athlete recruitment, the University is weighing proposals for a new facility.
The proposed facility would offer students a sufficiently sized athletic facility. It would feature a large hockey and basketball arena, which, athletic director Robert Corran, said the University currently lacks.
“The Campus Life Task Force found that current facilities are inadequate for student populations,” Corran said.
Gutterson and the Patrick Gym may not have video scoreboards and luxury boxes, but the University has made many investments to keep both facilities up to date.
The Gutterson’s ice sheet has been expanded throughout the years, and there were installments of media decks and television cameras, according to the Burlington Free Press.
The plans, which propose a facility with a capacity that would allow the student body to gather, could provide a completely different atmosphere that has been found at the Patrick Gym and Gutterson Field House for the past 50 years.
“There was an intimacy with the size of the rink and facility,” 1989 alumnus Karl Langmuir said. “No matter where you were in the stands, you felt like you were right there and felt like you were a part of it.”
Langmuir and 1989 alum Peter Putre agreed that, because of the closeness of the facility, it was easier for fans to rally around the Pep Band, the Catamount mascot and the music during intermissions.
“One of the best parts of going to the games back then was that it made you feel like you were a part of the school,” Putre said. “The size gives both [facilities] a close-knit setting for a game.”
There is a strong emphasis that the new facilities mimic the Field House and try to find a medium between size and intimacy.
“They wouldn’t want to make it too big — that would be one of the key things,” Putre said. “You don’t want to lose that tight-knit home team advantage-type atmosphere.”
Though the proposals may not affect all current students, many are still on edge about the possible discontinued use of both facilities.
If the proposal is followed through on, sophomore Ryan McNally would like to see that the new facilities display glimpses of the history that occurred in Gutterson Field House and Patrick Gym.
“They should put some kind of remembrance into the new stadium,” he said. “They could hang banners above in the rafters — it would be a smart way to integrate the old into the new.”