March 26, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The excitement around Yale Hockey is at a fever pitch, with the Yale men's team set to take part in the NCAA East Regional just a few miles down the road in Bridgeport, Conn., this weekend. Meanwhile, back in New Haven, renovation work continues on Ingalls Rink. One of the most significant parts of the project is the underground addition on the Mansfield Street side of "The Whale", which will house both the men's and women's varsity teams along with a new strength and conditioning area, study room and locker rooms for the other teams that use Ingalls Rink. A new photo gallery on yalebulldogs.com takes you inside the facility. Approximately 13,000 square feet of varsity operational space is being added.
After starting as a hole in the ground this past summer, the underground addition beneath the parking lot on the Mansfield Street side is now a complete structure and has been paved over. The walls are painted and lockers are being installed in the men's and women's varsity locker rooms, which will be across from each other and separated by a Yale Blue hallway leading out to the ice. The strength and conditioning area located right next to the locker rooms features a glass wall, allowing natural light in through the Mansfield Street side. The underground facility will be ready for the 2009-10 season.
The initial phase of the renovation has already made a major difference in the fan experience at Ingalls Rink. A new, lower ice surface has resulted in improved viewing for all. The wooden bench seating has been refurbished to a lighter color and concrete surfaces inside the rink have been cleaned. The bathrooms at the North end of the rink have been re-built based on a new design and layout, and there is a new concessions area there as well. The wall at the North end has been replaced with windows, giving the building a dramatic new look.
Other improvements already in place include the replacement of the existing press box on the home side of the rink, the addition of a new press box on the visitors' side of the rink and the addition of lighting in the soffit that lines the ceiling along the perimeter walkway around the rink. There has also been work on Ingalls' signature humpback roof.
A new entrance to the ice has been built behind the visitors' bench, near the former Yale women's ice hockey team locker room. That locker room will be the varsity visiting team locker room for both men's and women's teams next year.
There will be further work on the interior of the main building soon. A new rink speaker system will be installed and new light fixtures will be installed over the ice surface. There will be a "Yale Hockey Heritage Area" inside the main entrance on the upper and lower levels. This area will showcase Yale's hockey history, dating back to the first intercollegiate hockey game in America -- Yale vs. Johns Hopkins in 1896. The lower level renovations will also include new bathrooms, a concessions area and a renovated Schley Room for receptions.
All of the renovations are designed to preserve Ingalls' distinctive architecture and charm while adding substantial capacity for all who use the facility. Named after former Yale men's ice hockey captains David S. Ingalls '20 and David S. Ingalls Jr. '56, the rink was designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen '34 and built in 1959. Gifts from the Ingalls family provided the bulk of the funding for its construction. Its famous arched roof, 76 feet high at its zenith and featuring a 300-foot backbone, earned it the nickname "The Whale". It has been the home of the Yale men's ice hockey team since 1959 and the women's team since 1977. Ingalls is also used for recreational skating, the Figure Skating Club, intramural hockey, high school playoffs and Yale Youth Hockey.