The XL Center is Connecticut’s premier destination for sports & entertainment. The more than 16,000 seat downtown arena is home to the 11-time National Champion UConn Women’s Basketball team and the 4-time National Champion UConn Men’s Basketball team.
The XL Center is also home to the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, the primary developmental affiliate of the New York Rangers. Coach Gernander won a Calder Cup as a player in Hartford during the 1999-2000 season.
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 many world-renowned artists, including Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Pearl Jam, Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Drake and many others.
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.
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.