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XL Center
XL Group 2011 logo.svg
XL Center logo
Hartford Civic Center (2988429730).jpg
Aerial view
XL Center is located in Connecticut
XL Center
XL Center
Location within Connecticut
XL Center is located in the United States
XL Center
XL Center
Location within the United States
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]
OperatorOak View Group
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]
($151 million in 2021 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 (2014–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 six-year agreement. The arena is ranked the 28th largest among college basketball arenas. It opened in 1975 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

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. One of the most famous shots Larry Bird ever made, although it did not count, took place at the Hartford Civic Center: the shot from behind the backboard.[10] 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 34-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

The arena remains a site for popular concerts. October 2007.
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."[11]

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.[12] 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, 1975, 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.

Current arena and recent renovations

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.[13] 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
The Veterans Memorial Coliseum as set up for Monster Jam

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics games played at Hartford Civic Center[25]
Date Opponent Result Score Game Type Attendance
November 11, 1975 Atlanta Hawks L 100–91 RS 10,591
December 17, 1975 Kansas City Kings W 104–118 RS 11,243
January 13, 1976 Portland Trail Blazers W 94–106 RS 11,243
March 9, 1976 New Orleans Jazz L 117–99 RS 11,230
April 6, 1976 Cleveland Cavaliers L 101–92 RS 11,243
October 28, 1976 Buffalo Braves W 105–112 RS 10,608
January 11, 1977 Houston Rockets W 101–105 RS 10,011
February 15, 1977 Detroit Pistons W 99–109 RS 9,879
March 1, 1977 Golden State Warriors L 101–94 RS 11,273
March 30, 1977 Chicago Bulls W 88–90 RS 11,089
April 9, 1977 San Antonio Spurs W 105–120 RS 10,859
October 25, 1977 Atlanta Hawks W 103–110 RS 6,590
December 13, 1977 New Jersey Nets W 108–122 RS 5,518
January 5, 1978 Phoenix Suns L 121–111 RS 10,019
February 26, 1980 Atlanta Hawks W 97–108 RS 15,622
March 18, 1980 Indiana Pacers W 102–114 RS 15,622
October 23, 1980 New York Knicks L 109–107 RS 12,941
November 9, 1980 Chicago Bulls W 105–111 RS 8,627
December 7, 1980 Washington Bullets L 113–103 RS 11,430
January 19, 1981 Detroit Pistons W 90–92 RS 9,941
March 13, 1981 Indiana Pacers L 101–94 RS 15,622
November 13, 1981 New Jersey Nets W 97–11 RS 11,753
December 11, 1981 Atlanta Hawks W 86–94 RS 13,369
January 10, 1982 Detroit Pistons W 124–134 RS 15,429
November 30, 1982 Detroit Pistons L 123–116 RS 11,762
January 31, 1983 Chicago Bulls W 104–110 RS 12,742
March 7, 1983 New Jersey Nets W 114–121 RS 15,165
December 9, 1983 Denver Nuggets W 90–119 RS 13,374
January 20, 1984 Indiana Pacers W 125–132 RS 13,134
March 2, 1984 Chicago Bulls W 100–104 RS 14,529
December 11, 1984 New Jersey Nets W 121–130 RS 13,357
January 29, 1985 Detroit Pistons W 130–131 RS 15,685
February 22, 1985 Chicago Bulls W 105–115 RS 15,685
December 10, 1985 Atlanta Hawks W 110–114 RS 14,493
February 23, 1986 Indiana Pacers W 98–113 RS 15,124
March 18, 1986 Cleveland Cavaliers W 96–126 RS 15,134
December 2, 1986 Washington Bullets L 117–109 RS 15,134
February 23, 1987 New Jersey Nets W 103–116 RS 15,134
March 24, 1987 Cleveland Cavaliers W 88–111 RS 15,134
November 23, 1987 Chicago Bulls L 107–102 RS 15,134
February 22, 1988 New York Knicks W 93–95 RS 15,134
March 11, 1988 Indiana Pacers W 112–122 RS 15,134
November 22, 1988 Cleveland Cavaliers L 114–102 RS 15,239
February 24, 1989 Milwaukee Bucks W 112–125 RS 15,239
March 13, 1989 New Jersey Nets W 91–114 RS 15,239
November 14, 1989 Philadelphia 76ers W 94–96 RS 15,239
February 6, 1990 Milwaukee Bucks L 119–106 RS 15,239
March 9, 1990 Washington Bullets L 115–108 RS 15,239
November 26, 1990 Miami Heat W 101–118 RS 15,239
February 22, 1991 New Jersey Nets W 99–111 RS 15,239
March 4, 1991 Indiana Pacers W 101–126 RS 15,239
November 25, 1991 Washington Bullets W 108–121 RS 14,678
February 21, 1992 Charlotte Hornets W 110–113 RS 15,239
March 13, 1992 New Jersey Nets L 110–108 RS 15,239
November 23, 1992 Atlanta Hawks L 101–97 RS 13,299
February 9, 1993 Milwaukee Bucks W 92–104 RS 14,137
March 28, 1993 Washington Bullets W 113–114 RS 15,239
November 22, 1993 Indiana Pacers L 102–71 RS 13,200
February 17, 1994 New Jersey Nets L 117–98 RS 12,588
March 27, 1994 Philadelphia 76ers W 122–124 RS 13,259
November 22, 1994 Milwaukee Bucks L 116–94 RS 12,829
February 23, 1995 Orlando Magic W 117–119 RS 15,242
April 15, 1995 Detroit Pistons W 104–129 RS 12,979
October 14, 2009 Toronto Raptors W 90–106 PS 10,117
October 16, 2010 New York Knicks W 84–97 PS 15,138
October 13, 2012 New York Knicks L 98–95 PS 14,218
October 8, 2014 New York Knicks W 86–106 PS 8,462

International basketball games

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

International hockey games

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 [26]

UConn Huskies

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.[27] 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.[28]

UConn Hockey Attendance Records

Date Opponent Result Attendance
February 9, 2019 Merrimack W 5–0 8,211[29]
November 15, 2014 #3 Boston College W 1–0 8,089[30]
November 22, 2014 #3 Boston University L 2–5 7,712
February 16, 2018 #20 Boston University W 5–4OT 7,372[31]

Exhibition center

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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


  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. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  5. ^ Modern concrete: Volume 40. Chicago: Pit & Quarry Publications. 1976. p. 20.
  6. ^ a b "XL Center". Emporis. Retrieved September 21, 2011.[dead link]
  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. ^ Arace, Michael (November 21, 1993). "BIRD HAD RIGHT TOUCH IN HARTFORD". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 19, 2022.
  11. ^ Gammell, Ben (January 18, 2020). "Almost a Tragedy: The Collapse of the Hartford Civic Center".
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Jacobs, Jeff (October 5, 2010). "XL Center Gets New Video Boards". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  14. ^ "ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments". Varsity Pride. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  15. ^ "1977 ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments". Varsity Pride. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  16. ^ "XL Center (Hartford, CT)". University of Connecticut Department of Athletics. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  17. ^ Catlin, Roger. "'83 Hartford Show Latest "Dick's Pick"". Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  18. ^ Broun, Sara (October 6, 2011). "PBR Built Ford Tough Series Visits Hartford for First Time". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  19. ^ "2016 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions takes center stage beginning Sept. 15". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  20. ^ "1979-80 Hartford Whalers Results and Schedule". Hockey Database. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  21. ^ McGowen, Deane (March 22, 1981). "Duguay Gets 2 Goals As Rangers Win, 6-4". The New York Times. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  22. ^ Berlet, Bruce (February 13, 1984). "Whalers Drill Oilers, 11-0, Flood Record Books". Hartford Courant. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  23. ^ a b c Jacobs, Jeff (March 27, 1992). "Playoff Sales Are Down". Hartford Courant. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  24. ^ Clinton, Jared (February 20, 2015). "Hartford Looking at Upgrades for XL Center – Could the NHL Come Back?". The Hockey News. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  25. ^ Basketball Reference
  26. ^ "U.S. Women's hockey beats Canada 4-1 in first game of the Rivalry Series in Hartford".
  27. ^ "Connecticut joins Hockey East". Associated Press. June 21, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  28. ^ "UConn hockey's future home to seat 2,700 fans; construction starting in April 2021". SB Nation. September 22, 2020. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  29. ^ "Evans Scores Twice as Huskies Shutout Merrimack, 5–0". UConn Huskies. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  30. ^ "Huskies Knock Off #3 Boston College, 1–0 in Front of XL Sellout Crowd". UConn Huskies. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  31. ^ "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.
Events and tenants
Preceded by Home of the New England / Hartford Whalers
Succeeded by
Preceded by Home of the New England Sea Wolves
Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of NHL All-Star Game
Succeeded by
Preceded by Home of the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale
Succeeded by
Current Arena
Preceded by Host of WrestleMania
Succeeded by