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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

William H. Detrick Gymnasium – Central Connecticut State Blue Devils



Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

William H. Detrick Gymnasium 1615 Stanley St New Britain, CT 06053



Year Opened: 1965

Capacity: 2,654

 

The Devil Went Down to Connecticut

 

The William H. Detrick Gymnasium is named for Central Connecticut’s most successful coach. Mr. Detrick coached the Blue Devils for 29 years, compiling a school-record 468 wins. While a student at CCSU, Detrick earned 12 varsity letters and was a member of the first CCSU Athletic Hall of Fame class.

 

Central Connecticut State University, more commonly referred to as CCSU, is the state of Connecticut’s oldest publicly funded university. It was founded in 1849 as the State Normal School to train teachers.  Today CCSU has an enrollment of just under 10,000 students. More than half of CCSU’s student body lives off campus, and close to 90 percent of the students are from Connecticut.

 

Basketball has been played at Central Connecticut since 1934. For the team’s first 50 years, the Blue Devils competed at the NAIA and Division Two level, upgrading to Division One status in 1986. CCSU now competes in the Northeast Conference, made up of ten schools located from Maryland to Massachusetts. The Blue Devils have qualified for the NCAA Tournament on three occasions (2000, 2002, 2007), losing in the first round each time. Two Central Connecticut alumni, Keith Closs and Corsley Edwards, have played in the NBA.

 

Food & Beverage 2

 

There is a small snack bar that operates in Detrick Gymnasium’s lobby. Hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches highlight the menu, along with an assortment of snacks, chips and pretzels. Bottles of Pepsi products are sold here. No alcohol is sold at Blue Devil basketball games.

 

The snack bar only accepts cash. On the plus side, no item costs more than five dollars. Should you wish to skip the concession lines, there are vending machines by the entrance to the pool.

 

Atmosphere 2

 

Stadium Journey’s most recent visit to Detrick Gymnasium occurred during semester break, so there was not a huge turnout from the student body, still, there was a representative crowd in the building and the Blue Devils staff put on a good show for the fans in attendance.

 

Despite the semester break, the Blue Devil pep band, cheerleading squad, dance team and Kiser the Devil were all in attendance. Play stoppages were filled with performances or games for the younger fans in attendance. Local youth squads took the floor at halftime, along with Kiser, who interacted with fans and posed for selfies all game long.

 

The focal point of the CCSU experience is the new video board, which is put to good use with a pre-game hype video and game stats. Overall, this is a rather understated presentation, which fits a smaller facility like Detrick Gymnasium perfectly.

 



Neighborhood 3

 

Central Connecticut State University is located in a residential neighborhood on the northeastern edge of New Britain, a suburban city of 73,000 people located 12 miles from Hartford, Connecticut. Detrick Gymnasium is located at the center of campus. All of Central Connecticut’s athletic facilities, including Arute Field, the CCSU Baseball Field and the CCSU Softball Field are located nearby.

 

There are not many choices for dining or lodging immediately adjacent to the CCSU campus, but fans looking to venture out into New Britain will be rewarded with many excellent options.


Fans wanting a unique experience before or after a CCSU game should check out the East Side Restaurant, a German-themed pub complete with staff in traditional Bavarian gear and an Oktoberfest vibe all year round.

 

Lodging options are plentiful in nearby Farmington. Connecticut’s capital city, Hartford, is a short fifteen-minute drive from Central Connecticut’s campus, and offers numerous dining, lodging and entertainment options.

 

Fans 2

 

Central Connecticut averages just over 1,000 fans per game, which is slightly above the Northeast Conference average. With the overpowering presence of the UConn Huskies in the greater Hartford area, it’s hard for the Blue Devils to get any serious attention from local fans.

 

There is a solid turnout by the student body at Detrick Gymnasium, but the students add little energy to the atmosphere. Instead of congregating in a dedicated student section, CCSU students scatter throughout the building, talking amongst themselves rather than becoming part of the game day atmosphere.

 

Access 4

 

New Britain is located (naturally) in Central Connecticut, a 15-minute drive from Connecticut’s capital city of Hartford. Route 9 passes directly by the campus, and connects with nearby interstates 84 and 91. With its suburban location, the great majority of fans drive to the Central Connecticut State campus. For fans utilizing public transportation, several CT Transit busses access CCSU, with the 140 bus stopping right at Arute Field.

 

There is a decent sized parking lot adjacent to Arute Field, a short walk from Detrick Gymnasium. Additional parking is available in the CCSU Student Center Garage and the Copernicus Garage on either side of the facility.

 

Detrick Gym is located in Kaiser Hall along with the Jack Suydam Natatorium. The busy Detrick Gym lobby contains a concession stand, souvenir stand, restrooms, several trophy cases and the CCSU Athletic Hall of Fame.

 

Most seats at Detrick Gym are molded plastic bleachers, with some chairback seats located on one side of the facility. All seats provide excellent views of the action, even if the grandstands are pushed back a bit from the court.

 



Return on Investment 5

 

Tickets to Central Connecticut basketball games are reasonably priced at twelve dollars for reserved chairback seats at center court and eight dollars for general admission bleacher seating. Seniors and children are admitted for five dollars.

 

With free parking and inexpensive concessions, a Central Connecticut basketball game is a most affordable entertainment option for local sports fans.

 

Extras 2

 

CCSU displays their athletic history throughout Detrick Gymnasium, with banners honoring their tournament appearances hanging inside the gym and the CCSU Athletic Hall of Fame located in the lobby.

 

Also located in the lobby are several trophy cases where Blue Devil hardware is displayed, along with displays honoring Coach Detrick and Harrison Kaiser, the namesakes of the building where the Blue Devils play.                                                                                   

 



Final Thoughts

 

Detrick Gymnasium is typical of so many smaller facilities in the northeast. If you’re looking for an inexpensive entertainment option presented in an intimate, laid-back setting, a CCSU basketball game is the place for you.

 

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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