Boss Arena dedicated
With the University of Rhode Island’s number one hockey supporter declaring that the “Kingston Ice Age has begun,” the University dedicated the Bradford R. Boss Arena last month.
The 2,500-seat, $12 million ice arena, named in honor of Bradford R. Boss, one of the founders of the URI men’s hockey club in 1951, was officially opened when Boss laced up his skates to become the first to glide across its surface.
Hundreds of supporters applauded this long-time booster of URI and chairman emeritus of A.T. Cross, as he honored members of the original club, state and university officials and current members of the men’s and women’s hockey clubs.
“With this new ice arena, more students and youth will have the opportunity to learn to skate and play hockey at the University,” Gov. Lincoln Almond said. “This is a wonderful tribute to an individual who was one of the founders of the URI men’s hockey club, and who has been a leading advocate for this project—Brad Boss.”
“Brad’s vision and support for this arena and URI as a whole have been unflagging,” said URI President Robert L. Carothers. “And it is fitting tribute to Brad by naming this new addition to the Kingston Campus in his honor. Our students, faculty and staff and generations of youngsters who learn how to skate here owe a deep debt of gratitude to one of our most distinguished graduates. Brad has excelled in athletics, in business and in community service, especially to his alma mater.”
In just a little over a year, the University completed the first indoor ice facility in South County. On Aug. 9, 2001, the hottest day of that year, Boss and 250 other supporters launched the construction project. Wearing a URI hockey hat and holding up his original Rams hockey jersey, he told the crowd, “this is one great day for URI, its students and the community.”
But today is even better, Boss told the audience.
“We are proud to be opening the doors to this state-of-the-art ice facility,” Boss said. “This is a tribute to all of the students who’ve played club hockey at URI, the alumni who wanted this to happen and the community groups who saw this building as a way to bolster recreational opportunities that are as good as any in the state. So I invite all Rhode Islanders to lace up the skates, grab a stick and a puck and join the fun because the Kingston Ice Age has begun.”
Boss, who chaired the Ice Arena Advisory Committee, donated in excess of $1.3 million to the Thomas M. Ryan Center and Boss Arena projects. He has also been a strong supporter of the University as a whole. The 1955 graduate was awarded an honorary degree in 1982 and named a member of the College of Business Administration’s Hall of Fame in 2001. He was also elected to the URI Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 1980.
Terry Butler, the general manager for Global Spectrum, the company hired by the University to run The Boss Arena and The Ryan Center, said that well before the sheet of ice hardened, interest in the building was overwhelming.
“The campus community is excited about time for recreational skating, and we now have a top-flight home for our outstanding club teams,” Butler said. “In the community, hundreds of youngsters have signed up for learn-to-skate and youth hockey programs. I can guarantee everyone that this is going to be a very busy building.”
In the past, the URI club teams called the rink in West Warwick home.
The powerhouse men’s club team captured the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association title for the first time last season and was ranked 13th in the nation. The club has been ranked in the top 15 in the nation for the last five years.
The women’s club team enters its fourth year of play. Its five wins last year were the most in squad history, giving it a ranking of fourth in the newly formed American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Women’s League Eastern Division.
The rink will also provide public skating and rental opportunities for the campus and community, and a home for high school hockey in South Kingstown. Hundreds of local youngsters have already registered to play for the Southern Rhode Island Youth Hockey Association, which will hold its games and practices at The Boss Arena.
By Dave Lavallee