XL Center

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XL Center
XL Group 2011 logo.svg
XL Center Logo
Former namesHartford Civic Center (1975–2007)
Address1 Civic Center Plaza
LocationHartford, Connecticut
Coordinates41°46′06″N 72°40′37″W / 41.76833°N 72.67694°W / 41.76833; -72.67694Coordinates: 41°46′06″N 72°40′37″W / 41.76833°N 72.67694°W / 41.76833; -72.67694
OwnerCity of Hartford[1]
OperatorGlobal Spectrum
CapacityConcerts: 16,500
Basketball: 15,600
Ice hockey: 14,750 (9,801 with curtain system)
Surface200 ft × 85 ft (61 m × 26 m) (hockey)
Broke groundApril 2, 1971[2]
OpenedJanuary 9, 1975
Closed1978–1980 (roof collapse, renovations)
Construction cost$30 million[3]
($143 million in 2019 dollars[4])
ArchitectKling & Associates
Danos and Associates[5]
Project managerGilbane Building Company[6]
Structural engineerFraoli, Blum, and Yesselman, Engineers[7]
General contractorWilliam L. Crow Construction Company[6]
Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) (1997–present)
UConn Huskies (NCAA)
Men's basketball (1975–present)[a][b]
Women's basketball (1975–present)[a][b]
Men's ice hockey (2013–present)
New England / Hartford Whalers (WHA / NHL) (1975–1997)[b]
Boston Celtics (NBA) (1975–1995)[a]
Hartford Hellions (MISL) (1980–1981)
Connecticut Coyotes (AFL) (1995–1996)
New England Blizzard (ABL) (1996–1998)
Connecticut Pride (CBA) (1993–2000)
New England Sea Wolves (AFL) (1999–2000)
Official Website

The XL Center (originally known as the Hartford Civic Center) is a multi-purpose arena and convention center located in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. Owned by the City of Hartford, it is managed by the quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) under a lease with the city and operated by Spectra. In December 2007, the Center was renamed when the arena's naming rights were sold to XL Group insurance company in a 6-year agreement. The arena is ranked the 28th largest among college basketball arenas. It opened in 1974 as the Hartford Civic Center and was originally located adjacent to Civic Center Mall, which was demolished in 2004. It consists of two facilities: the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the Exhibition Center.

On March 21, 2007, the CRDA selected the Northland/Anschutz Entertainment Group proposal to operate the arena complex; Northland also developed the Hartford 21 residential tower on the adjacent Civic Center Mall site. It was revealed that Northland will assume total responsibility for the building paying for any and all losses, and will keep any profits. In 2012, the CRDA put the contract out to bid with hopes of combining the operations with Rentschler Field.[8] In February 2013, Global Spectrum of Philadelphia, was chosen to take over both the XL Center and Rentschler Field[9] with Ovations Food Services taking over all food and beverage operations.

Hartford Civic Center[edit]

The Civic Center is the full-time home of the Hartford Wolf Pack AHL hockey team and part-time home of the University of Connecticut (UConn) men's and women's basketball teams and the UConn Huskies men's ice hockey team. Starting in the late 1990s, UConn men's basketball moved most of their important games—including the bulk of their Big East Conference games—to the Coliseum. During the 2011–2012 season, for instance, they played 11 home games at the Coliseum and only eight at their on-campus facility, Gampel Pavilion. This practice continued when the Huskies joined the American Athletic Conference, successor to the original Big East, in 2013. The UConn men's hockey team uses the XL Center as its primary home as the newest men's member of Hockey East.

It was the home of the New England/Hartford Whalers of the WHA and NHL from 1975 to 1978 and 1980 to 1997, and the Hartford Hellions of the MISL from 1980 to 1981, and the New England Blizzard of the ABL from 1996 to 1998, and hosted occasional Boston Celtics home games from 1975 to 1995. It was the home of the Connecticut Coyotes and later the New England Sea Wolves of the Arena Football League.

The arena seats 15,635 for ice hockey and 16,294 for basketball, 16,606 for center-stage concerts, 16,282 for end-stage concerts, and 8,239 for ¾-end stage concerts, and contains 46 luxury suites and a 310-seat Coliseum Club, plus 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) of arena floor space, enabling it to be used for trade shows and conventions in addition to concerts, circuses, ice shows, sporting events and other events. The graduation ceremonies of Central Connecticut State University and other local colleges are also held annually at the XL Center.

Early history and roof collapse[edit]

The arena remains a site for popular concerts. October 2007.

As originally built in 1975, it seated 10,507 for hockey, and served as the home of the then–New England Whalers for three years. In the early morning of January 18, 1978, the Civic Center's roof collapsed. Engineering analyses during litigation following the collapse indicated that compression members were overloaded through undersizing and underestimation of the probable loadings, and that lateral bracing of individual members was insufficient. "The roof did not fail due to the heavy snow that fell on that January night. According to the official City investigation, the roof began progressive failure as soon as it had been installed. Contributing factors included design errors, an underestimation of the weight of the roof, and differences between the design and the actual built structure."[10]

Investigations attributed the design issues to the unprecedented use of and trust in computer analysis. An absence of peer review for the novel structure and design process, and fragmentation of oversight responsibility during construction were also cited as contributing factors. Evidence showed that the roof had started to fail during construction, with bowed compression members. These distortions, and an unpredicted degree of deflection in the structure, were not investigated before the collapse.[11] There were no injuries due to the collapse. The building was heavily renovated and re-opened January 17, 1980.

The Arena hosted the Hartford Whalers from January 11, 1980 to April 13, 1997. Shortly thereafter the team relocated to Raleigh to become the Carolina Hurricanes. In 1994, new owner Peter Karmanos purchased the team and pledged to keep the Whalers in Connecticut until 1998, unless they could not sell over 11,000 season tickets. After failed negotiations to build a new downtown arena for the Whalers with then-Governor John G. Rowland, on March 25, 1997, Karmanos announced that the team would leave. The New York Rangers, looking to capitalize on Hartford as a potential market, placed its farm team there to become the Hartford Wolf Pack starting in 1997. After a short stint as the Connecticut Whale, they reverted to the Wolf Pack moniker in 2013. Renovations were complete in October 2014.

Current arena and recent renovations[edit]

In September 2010, the arena was upgraded with a new center-hung scoreboard with four Sony Jumbotrons and a state-of-the-art sound system.[12] The Connecticut State Legislature set aside $35 million in funding for improvements to the XL Center that began in early spring 2014 and completed in time for the start of the 2014-15 seasons of the Wolf Pack and UConn men's hockey in October. Improvements included upgrades to the mechanical system, locker rooms and concourse, replacing jumbotrons with a new HD video board, as well as aesthetic improvements such as a new bar area inside the arena and luxury seating in the lower bowl. A portion of the $35 million allocation went towards a study on the arena's long-term viability; either more major renovations or replacing it with a new facility.


The XL Center has held many notable events including:

The Veterans Memorial Coliseum as set up for Monster Jam.

Boston Celtics[edit]


International basketball games[edit]

Date Opponent Result Home Game Type Attendance
January 27, 2020 United States United States 79–64 UConn Huskies Exhibition 13,919

International hockey games[edit]

Date Away Score Home Attendance
December 27, 1976 Soviet Union  2–5 United States New England Whalers -
August 28, 1987 Finland  1–4  United States 8,508
September 4, 1987 Soviet Union  5-1  United States 14,838
January 7, 1989 CSKA Moscow Soviet Union 6–3 United States Hartford Whalers -
December 27, 1989 Krylya Sovetov Moscow Soviet Union 3–4 (OT) United States Hartford Whalers -
January 3, 1991 Dynamo Moscow Soviet Union 0-0 United States Hartford Whalers -
December 14, 2019 Canada  1-4  United States 7,126 [25]

UConn Huskies[edit]

The XL Center serves as the second home for the University of Connecticut's men's and women's basketball programs. At the start of the 2014–15 season the UConn men's ice hockey program moved to the XL Center as a condition of its joining Hockey East.[26] In September 2018, the UConn Board of Trustees approved a plan to build a new 2,500-seat arena with 500 seat-backs in Storrs with the option to expand to 3,500 seats if necessary. Though Hockey East requires arenas to hold at least 4,000, UConn received a waiver for the project since the expectation is for the Huskies’ men’s hockey program to continue to play some of its games at the XL Center in Hartford. The target construction date is April 2021 with substantial completion wanted by October 2022. If everything stays on track, the arena would open in December 2022.[27]

UConn Hockey Attendance Records[edit]

Date Opponent Result Attendance
February 9, 2019 Merrimack W 5-0 8,211[28]
November 15, 2014 #3 Boston College W 1-0 8,089[29]
November 22, 2014 #3 Boston University L 2-5 7,712
February 16, 2018 #20 Boston University W 5-4OT 7,372[30]

Exhibition center[edit]

The Exhibition Center consists of a 68,855-square-foot (6,397 m2) exhibit hall, a 16,080-square-foot (1,494 m2) assembly hall that can divide into two meeting rooms, plus seven meeting rooms totaling 7,390 square feet (687 m2) and two lobbies totaling 6,100 square feet (570 m2). It is used for trade shows, conventions, banquets, meetings and other events.

The surrounding shopping mall was torn down in 2004 and was replaced by street-level retail shops and a 36-story residential tower named Hartford 21 which opened in 2006 and is the tallest residential tower between New York City and Boston.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Opportunities for The Hartford Civic Center" (PDF). The Connecticut Development Authority. p. 36. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 12, 2008. Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  2. ^ "Ground is Broken For the Civic Center". Hartford Courant. April 2, 1971. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  3. ^ Swift, Mike (January 9, 1995). "A Quiet Hartford Civic Center Turns 20 Today". Hartford Courant. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  4. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Modern concrete: Volume 40. Chicago: Pit & Quarry Publications. 1976. p. 20.
  6. ^ a b "XL Center". Emporis. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  7. ^ "Failure Cases - Hartford Civic Center". Materials Education and Research Pathway. Archived from the original on August 1, 2010. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
  8. ^ Jacobs, Jeff (February 3, 2013). "Secrecy On XL Center, Rentschler Plans Isn't Helping Matters". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  9. ^ Gosselin, Kenneth R. (February 7, 2013). "Philadelphia Group Picked To Run XL Center, Rentschler Field". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  10. ^ Gammell, Ben. "Almost a Tragedy: The Collapse of the Hartford Civic Center".
  11. ^ Martin, Rachel. "Hartford Civic Center Arena Roof Collapse". University of Alabama at Birmingham. Archived from the original on January 8, 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2009.
  12. ^ Jacobs, Jeff (October 5, 2010). "XL Center Gets New Video Boards". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  13. ^ "ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments". Varsity Pride. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  14. ^ "1977 ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments". Varsity Pride. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  15. ^ "XL Center (Hartford, CT)". University of Connecticut Department of Athletics. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  16. ^ Catlin, Roger. "'83 Hartford Show Latest "Dick's Pick"". courant.com. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  17. ^ Broun, Sara (October 6, 2011). "PBR Built Ford Tough Series Visits Hartford for First Time". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  18. ^ "2016 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions takes center stage beginning Sept. 15". usagym.org. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  19. ^ "1979-80 Hartford Whalers Results and Schedule". Hockey Database. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  20. ^ McGowen, Deane (March 22, 1981). "Duguay Gets 2 Goals As Rangers Win, 6-4". The New York Times. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  21. ^ Berlet, Bruce (February 13, 1984). "Whalers Drill Oilers, 11-0, Flood Record Books". Hartford Courant. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  22. ^ a b c Jacobs, Jeff (March 27, 1992). "Playoff Sales Are Down". Hartford Courant. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  23. ^ Clinton, Jared (February 20, 2015). "Hartford Looking at Upgrades for XL Center – Could the NHL Come Back?". The Hockey News. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  24. ^ Basketball Reference https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/BOS
  25. ^ https://www.courant.com/sports/hc-sp-womens-hockey-usa-canada-rivalry-series-1215-20191215-55y45lo5knbttjoi2roimdaudi-story.html
  26. ^ "Connecticut joins Hockey East". Associated Press. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  27. ^ "UConn hockey's future home to seat 2,700 fans; construction starting in April 2021". SB Nation. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  28. ^ "Evans Scores Twice as Huskies Shutout Merrimack, 5-0". UConn Huskies. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  29. ^ "Huskies Knock Off #3 Boston College, 1-0 in Front of XL Sellout Crowd". UConn Huskies. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  30. ^ "Huskies Win Seventh-Straight on Letunov's OT Winner". UConn Huskies. Retrieved February 10, 2019.


  1. ^ a b c Part-time.
  2. ^ a b c Tenure interrupted in 1979 by roof collapse.

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Boston Garden
Springfield Civic Center
Home of the New England / Hartford Whalers
Succeeded by
Springfield Civic Center
Greensboro Coliseum
Preceded by
Madison Square Garden
Home of the New England Sea Wolves
Succeeded by
Air Canada Centre
Preceded by
Olympic Saddledome
Host of NHL All-Star Game
Succeeded by
St. Louis Arena
Preceded by
Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena
Home of the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale
Succeeded by
Current Arena
Preceded by
Madison Square Garden
Host of WrestleMania
Succeeded by
Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim