Auriemma may not be happy with Hartford politics.
In March, the state university of Connecticut’s women’s college basketball coach, Geno Auriemma, issued a threat. Fix up the Hartford Civic Center or let us play all of our games on campus. Auriemma is one of the highest paid public employees in Connecticut and has been very successful coaching his team. The women’s basketball team isn’t moving, after all it is part of the Connecticut higher education system and can’t leave but Auriemma did not mince any words. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont might be listening and might be willing to pay up to $60 million for arena improvements. “Some people wouldn’t like leaving because they’d have to drive all the way to Storrs,” said the coach. “When things stay the same they’re actually getting worse, so that place has stayed the same for a long, long time so it’s gotten worse. Unless something’s done, it’s not going to get anything other than worse. We’re the No. 1 team in the country year in and year out. We have the best program in the country year in and year out, so we deserve to play in the best facilities year in and year out. And other than Gampel Pavilion, we do not. That’s a fact of life, and that’s reality.
“And if anybody says ‘How do we pay for it?’ That’s not my job, I don’t ask you how to coach my team, don’t ask me how you’re going to pay for it. That’s your job. Figure out a way to get that done or like said, just blow it up. To leave it the way it is, that serves no purpose for anybody. And one of the things that really bothers me is we have to pay to play there. The state owns the place and we have to pay to play there.” Connecticut has money issues and no new facility is coming. The best that Lamont is offering for Auriemma and his women’s team and people who want the NHL back in the building is a patching up the place and hopefully it would make it look decent.