It happens to even the most devoted Wildcat hockey fan: You head to the concession stand at just the wrong moment and miss the go-ahead goal or the brilliant defensive move that ends with the puck inside the goalkeeper’s glove and not the UNH net.
Not any more: On Sept. 16, just in time for the 2015-16 ice hockey season, UNH director of athletics Marty Scarano introduced the Whittemore Center’s new, state-of-the-art video scoreboard, which hangs at center ice. The 11,900 pound, four-sided board features a quartet of 9-foot-by-15-foot video screens that broadcast live action, lights and graphics — and, of course, instant replays of goals and other game highlights. There is also an LED display band beneath the four video screens and a 150-foot long LED ribbon display under the skyboxes that will display paid advertising and game statistics.
For Scarano and the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams headed up by coaches Dick Umile ’72 and Hilary Witt, the videoboard represents a tremendous enhancement.
“I’ve always loved the Whitt, but we’ve been missing a little bit of excitement in the absence of having a videoboard,” says head men’s coach Umile, who explains that the board is vital for both recruiting and the fan experience. The screens can be used for player bios and photos, pregame video introductions and coach and player interviews, among other things. And when it comes to attracting new talent, the videoboard puts UNH on par with its Hockey East rivals, most of which have videoboard technology. “Recruits like to see all the bells and whistles,” Umile says.
So do fans — which is among the reasons John Small ’76 stepped forward with the first gift toward the $1 million addition. A UNH trustee, Small says hockey was an important part of his social life as an undergrad and remains a valuable connection to his alma mater now. “I’m so pleased that others decided to join me in funding this project and stepped up to keep the Whitt a great venue,” he says.
Keeping the Whitt great is what it’s all about, and Scarano says he’s indebted to Small and the many other generous benefactors who came forward to tick this particular item off the athletic department’s wish list. “For a few years now, it’s been our objective to make this one of the best — if not the best — venue in college hockey,” Scarano says. “At UNH, sometimes it takes us a little longer to accomplish these things, but we think this is one of the very best hi-def boards in the nation and probably the best board in Hockey East. We’re awfully proud of this.”
And when UNH scores and the Whittemore Center is filled with the roar of Wildcat fans, cheering and clapping as the perfectly set up shot is replayed in slow motion for all sides of the arena to appreciate, it’s easy to see why.