The Connecticut Whale will have a new home rink for the 2019-2020 NWHL season: Danbury Arena.
According to the arena’s website, the seating capacity is 2,000 with room for an additional 500 standing spectators. Those are similar numbers to Terry Conners Rink, the Whale’s home for the last two seasons. Previously, they played at Chelsea Piers (2015-16) and Northford Ice Pavilion (2016-17).
“It is a truly great hockey arena with the amenities our team and Whale fans deserve. We hope to make Danbury Arena the home of the Connecticut Whale for many seasons to come,” Whale general manager Bray Ketchum said in the league’s press release.
Danbury Arena has two sheets of ice as well as off-ice amenities like a restaurant, suites, an arcade, and a hotel. Compared to Terry Conners, which had one sheet and a concession stand, this looks to be a step up for the Whale who have struggled at times with attendance.
The move will keep the Whale among the NWHL’s top teams for seating capacity, though that could change if the Buffalo and Riveters clubs also find new homes. When the league’s partnership with Pegula Sports and Entertainment ended, PSE said the NWHL could rent ice time at the Harbor Center, which has a capacity of 1,800. Barnabas Hockey House, which has been the Riveters’ home rink since the 2016-17 season, has a capacity of around 800.
It’s reasonable to expect the Pride to return to Warrior (around 800 seating capacity) and the Whitecaps to return to TRIA (1,200). The NWHL schedule is expected to be announced by the end of this month.
The Whale currently have six players signed for the upcoming season. They also have a preseason game on the schedule: Sept. 28 against UConn at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.