WHEN: Friday, Jan. 26, 5:30 p.m.
WHAT: UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney will host a reception to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell before the River Hawks take on the Boston College Eagles in a Hockey East matchup.
The building is named for the late U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas, the Lowell native whose vision and determination to revitalize the city were driving forces behind the construction of the arena in 1998. His widow, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, is expected to attend the celebration and immediately afterward, will drop the puck in a ceremony at center ice before the game.
Then known as the Tsongas Arena, the building opened on Jan. 27, 1998 when the UMass Lowell men’s ice hockey team faced off against Dartmouth College.
In 2010, the university acquired the arena from the city for $1 and renamed it the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. In the years since, the Tsongas Center has welcomed more than 2 million people and has undergone extensive renovations – including the addition of a new video scoreboard and sound system, luxury boxes and club space – on its way to becoming the premier sports and entertainment venue in the region. More than 300,000 people attend events at the Tsongas Center annually and UMass Lowell ranks in the top 10 in the nation in NCAA Division I hockey attendance.
In addition to Niki Tsongas, those expected to attend the event include state Sen. Eileen Donoghue; state Reps. Thomas Golden and David Nangle; former state Sen. Steven Panagiotakos; Lowell Mayor Bill Samaras; Lowell City Manager Kevin Murphy; former Lowell city managers John Cox and Brian Martin; and John Costello, a former chairman of the Arena and Civic Stadium Commission charged with overseeing the building’s construction.
Memories of the Tsongas Center’s storied history will be shared throughout the game and the first 200 fans to arrive for the game will receive pins commemorating the celebration.
WHERE: Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell lobby, Talon Club, 300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Lowell. Contact UMass Lowell media relations for directions and parking information.