ABOUT XL CENTER
The XL Center is Connecticut’s premier destination for sports & entertainment.
The 16,000+ seat downtown arena is home to the three-time National Champion UConn Men's Basketball team and the seven-time National Champion UConn Women's Basketball team. Led by Hall of Fame basketball Head Coaches Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma, the Men's & Women's basketball programs have established themselves as national powerhouses.
The XL Center is also home to the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, the primary developmental affiliate of the New York Rangers. The team is coached by AHL Legend Ken Gernander. Coach Gernander won a Calder Cup as a player in Hartford during the 1999-2000 season.
In addition to the resident teams, the downtown arena is also the proud host of the BIG EAST Women's Basketball Championship - the most highly attended women's conference tournament in the country. The 2013 tournament will mark the Championship's 10 year anniversary in Hartford.
The XL Center entertains millions of visitors annually with a variety of concerts, family shows, ice-skating spectaculars, consumer events and trade shows throughout the season. The venue has played host to an extraordinary roster of world-renowned artists, including Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Miley Cyrus, Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Drake, and many others.
The XL Center will continue to be the center of sports and entertainment for Hartford and the state of Connecticut for years to come.
The doors to the Hartford Civic Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Exhibition Center opened on January 9, 1975, with Glen Campbell kicking off the start of an event-filled weekend. The following evening, Johnny Mathis and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra took to the stage. Professional hockey in Hartford began as the New England Whalers played their first game at the Hartford Civic Center, hosting the San Diego Mariners. Since then, the Civic Center has remained Connecticut’s home for premier sports and entertainment.
Unfortunately, after three years of providing top family fun and entertainment, the Civic Center had to be closed. On the evening of January 18, 1978, just hours after the University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball team defeated the University of Massachusetts; the weight of snow from the day’s heavy snowstorm was too much for the Civic Center roof to withstand and forced it to collapse.
Fortunately, there were no injuries. Nearly two years later to the day, on February 6, 1980, the new Hartford Whalers, now of the NHL, reopened the doors with a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Once again, it was the start of something great in Hartford.
Through the years, the Beach Boys, Diana Ross, the Grateful Dead, Luciano Pavarotti, James Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, and countless other top-tier artists, filled the Civic Center with guests of all ages.
Although 1997 brought about the end of the Whalers in Hartford, it was also a new beginning – the new American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Rangers was about to make Hartford its new home. In August of 1997, the Rangers purchased their Binghamton development team and moved the squad to Connecticut. The Hartford Wolf Pack kicked off a new era of Hockey in Hartford. In 2007, a deal was struck with XL Insurance for the naming rights to the building, changing the Hartford Civic Center name to XL Center.