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Official Review by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The TD Bank Sports Center is a multi-use facility consisting of two full-sized playing surfaces for Quinnipiac's winter sports teams. The two venues (a basketball court and hockey rink) share a common lobby and concession area. The facility is located on Quinnipiac's York Hill campus, and is the centerpiece of an expansion project on that campus. Completed in 2007 at a cost of $52 million, it was designed to be a drawing point for potential student athletes.
Building the facility involved moving 615,000 tons of earth and rock, all of which remained on campus to construct roads for the development of the 250-acre York Hill campus, located less than a mile from the school's main Mount Carmel campus.
The Bobcats have been competing in Division One since 1998. They have won one Northeast Conference Regular Season title, and have appeared in the NIT and CBI tournaments once. They have played in the CIT tournament one time. Quinnipiac has yet to win a post season game outside of their conference tournament.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is a concession stand in the lobby of TD Bank Sports Center. It features a limited menu, highlighted by hot dogs, chicken tenders and nachos. A nice selection of snacks are offered here, including French fries, pretzels and popcorn. Assorted candy and ice cream treats are available for purchase for Bobcat fans looking to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Pepsi products are featured here. There is no alcohol sold at this on-campus facility.
While the menu here will not overly impress anyone, all the bases are covered for those fans needing a snack. On the plus side, the most expensive item on the menu is only six dollars, and most items check in at under five.
Fans at the TD Bank Sports Center will be treated to a slick, professional game presentation. Unfortunately, this may be the biggest issue with the game day experience. The loud hip hop music, the over the top PA announcer, the choreographed videos and electronics on the ribbon boards are all elements college basketball fans who attend games at larger venues are used to, but it just doesn't seem to play as well here in Hamden in front of a smaller crowd.
There is a pep band here, but beyond the national anthem, they are hardly heard from. Piped in music blares over the speakers instead. Likewise, the large cheerleading squad performs only during two play stoppages, and creates little noise during the game. There is no defined student section at the TD Bank Sports Center, as the few students who do show up scatter throughout the seating bowl. There are a few contests during the game to keep the younger fans interested and involved.
Unless you are a traditionalist, you will enjoy the game day presentation by the staff here at Quinnipiac. If the TD Bank Sports Center were to be filled to capacity, it would absolutely create a lively, significant home court advantage for the Bobcats.
TD Bank Sports Center is located at the university's York Hill campus, about a mile from the main campus. Quinnipiac is located adjacent to Sleeping Giant State Park, a popular destination for hiking and other outdoor activities. If visiting Hamden during the fall, the many trails here are worth a look before heading over to the game.
Hamden is a typical suburban community, with many local eateries and national chain restaurants located along Whitney Ave. near campus. If you follow Whitney Ave. for a few miles south, you will find yourself in downtown New Haven on the campus of one of Quinnipiac's chief athletic rivals, Yale University.
While Hamden is a lovely community, it can hardly be considered a destination location. Many visitors to the area will spend their time in nearby New Haven, which has a well-deserved reputation as a foodie hotspot. Connecticut's capital city, Hartford, is located a half hour north of Hamden. The state's twin casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, are located less than an hour to the east.
As is the case at many New England schools, basketball plays second fiddle to ice hockey at Quinnipiac. While the hockey program has enjoyed a great deal of success in recent years, reaching a pair of Frozen Fours, the basketball team has struggled. This is reflected in the attendance at Bobcat games, as average attendance has dropped in each of the past four seasons. In 2015-16 Quinnipiac averaged about 1,500 fans per game.
Student support at Quinnipiac basketball games is disappointing, and those students who do come to games scatter throughout the arena, lessening any impact they would have on the atmosphere here. Much of the crowd is made up of locals and alumni who are knowledgeable about the team on the court, if not the most vocal crowd you will come across.
The suburb of Hamden is located directly to the north of New Haven. Recently named as one of the "best small cities" by CNN Money, Hamden and Quinnipiac University are easily reached via Interstate 91. Take exit 10 (Route 40) if traveling either northbound or southbound, and follow it approximately a mile and a half to the QU campus on Mount Carmel Road.
Fans enter the TD Bank Sports Center into the shared central lobby, which contains the Bobcat Den concession stand and a pair of restrooms. The basketball court is on your left.
Fans enter Quinnipac's basketball court onto the concourse located at the top of the seating bowl. This concourse completely encircles the arena, offering excellent views of the court from all points. In fact, many fans choose to take in the action from spots around the concourse.
Section 101 will be directly in front of you as you enter the arena at the corner of the basketball court. There are 16 sections, each containing between 12 and 14 rows of blue folding stadium seats. The seating bowl is steeply pitched, creating great sightlines of the game from all points. A section of luxury boxes is located above the entrance to the arena.
With the smaller crowds present, it's pretty easy to get around, even at halftime. There are a pair of restrooms located in the corners of the arena, and another pair in the lobby. Lines do form at restrooms and concession stands at halftime, but they move fairly quickly.
With only one road leading to the arena, don't be in a rush to leave after the game. The lots can take a little while to empty.
Tickets for Quinnipiac basketball games are inexpensive, selling at fifteen dollars for premium seats (midcourt sections) and ten dollars for regular seats. Seniors and youth are admitted for five dollars. Parking in the lot next to the TD Bank Sports Center is free. Concessions are also inexpensively priced, making a trip to a Bobcat basketball game very affordable for local hoops fans.
Outside the entrance to facility is a statue of a Bobcat, the school's mascot. When the school made the decision to change their name from the politically incorrect Braves to the Bobcats, students developed the legend of the Bobcat, which guards the Quinnipiac campus while the sleeping giant does his thing over at the state park. The legend can be read on a plaque next to the statue.
A second extra point is awarded for the equal status given to the women's program here at Quinnipiac. Banners honoring all conference titles, tournament appearances, and 1,000 point scorers in the school's history for both teams hang throughout the gym.
The TD Bank Sports Center is an attractive, modern facility that fits this mid-major conference team perfectly. While basketball takes a back seat to hockey at Quinnpiac, the court at TD Bank Sports Center complements its twin arena next door well. When the basketball program starts to experience a little more success, expect the crowds to grow here in the shadow of the Sleeping Giant.
Follow Paul Baker's stadium journeys on Twitter @PuckmanRI.
Member Review by shamus170
The often mis-pronounced school of Quinnipiac (kwin-uh-pe-ack) is relatively new to the Division I basketball scene as the Bobcats, as of 2011, are in their 12th year competing with the big boys. They play in the NEC, a conference typically known for competing in High School-like gyms. However, Quinnipiac (and Monmouth University for that matter) is changing that perception as the school built the beautiful TD Bank Sports Center in 2007. This facility comprises of a 3,570-seat basketball arena, along with a separate hockey arena, and is a great place to catch a Bobcats basketball game.
Member Review by Steve Stoehr on Mar 10, 2013
Located on the beautiful York Hill Campus, Quinnipiac University’s TD Bank Sports Center is the modern, well-appointed home of the Bobcats’ basketball and hockey programs. While the top-ranked hockey team is definitely the team to watch in Hamden, there’s no reason to short change the very competitive basketball team.
Close games usually equal excitement, and there’s certainly some of that, but the arena falls just short of creating a truly exceptional experience.
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