American International makes MassMutual Center its new home arena

American International announced Tuesday that the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass., will be the team’s new home rink for games and practices.

“I’d like to start by thanking the Olympia Ice Center (in West Springfield) for being a great partner for the past 18 years,” said AIC athletic director Matthew Johnson in a news release. “Today is a monumental day for the AIC athletic department and more specifically, our men’s Division I ice hockey program. This is just another example of our higher administration displaying their commitment to athletics and competing at the highest level.

“The MassMutual Center is a state-of-the-art facility which will significantly enhance AIC’s student athlete and spectator viewing experience while allowing the college to attract top level recruits. In addition, AIC feels that playing our games at the MassMutual Center will provide opportunities to host games against major Division I ice hockey programs.”

The Yellow Jackets’ season opener is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 14 at 7:05 p.m. when new coach Eric Lang’s team takes on Union as part of AIC’s Homecoming festivities.

“What an amazing day for AIC hockey,” Lang said in a news release. “To be playing and practicing a mile away from AIC’s campus in the heart of downtown Springfield, and to be able to call the MassMutual Center our home is a surreal feeling. I am ecstatic for our student athletes, fans, and our alums. As our team is trying to build a new legacy, having a first-class facility like the MassMutual Center that we can call our own lets everyone know how serious AIC is about building a winning men’s ice hockey program. With only 60 Division I men’s ice hockey teams in the country, this new partnership promises to bring exciting, high-level college hockey to Springfield.”

AIC senior captain Austin Orszulak is also a Springfield native.

“Having the MassMutual center as AIC hockey’s home ice will be a fantastic change and turning point for the program,” he said. “We’re looking forward to starting off the season on Oct. 14 and playing in front of our home fans.”