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RIT Dedicates New Hockey Facility, The Gene Polisseni Center

Randy Gorbman

RIT is taking the wraps off its new hockey arena. Dedication ceremonies were held Thursday for  the Gene Polisseni Center, named after the former Paychex official who helped start that company with Tom Golisano.

Polisseni died in 2001. He was a big fan of local hockey as well as the Sabres, the NHL team that Golisano used to own. Both the Polisseni Foundation and Golisano got together to donate $4.5 million toward the construction of the facility.

"I am blown away," said Wanda Polisseni, the wife of the late Gene Polisseni. "This is a dream come true for my husband because of his love of hockey and RIT."

The facility will now be the home for RIT men's and women's hockey, replacing the 46 year old Ritter Arena. The new facility has more than four thousand seats, about twice the capacity of the old arena, and RIT President Bill Destler says that's a big deal for the entire area.

"It's a great day for RIT and I think for the community too, a lot of community members were unable to come out to games before because the students would grab all the tickets before they could get a seat in Ritter; that's going to change here, we're going to have a lot more community involvement."

Regular season games at the Polisseni Center begin in October.  Ritter Arena will still be used for other ice skating activities, and RIT will still play the big homecoming game in downtown Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.  

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.