The new video scoreboard at center ice at the University of Maine’s Alfond Arena is in place and has spawned two smaller scoreboards that will be at displayed at each end.
That’s because of an NCAA rule that requires a scoreboard be at least 25 feet from the floor, explained Will Biberstein, the university’s associate athletic director for internal operations.
“We had boards below the video replays [that put the scoreboard in violation of NCAA rules],” said Biberstein. “So we moved them [to each end]. This was the best alternative for the situation.”
The boards that were moved contain space for pertinent game information such as penalties, fouls, score, and time remaining.
Fans will be able to watch replays on the main scoreboard for UMaine hockey and basketball games and pertinent game information will be superimposed on it.
The scoreboards at each end will also have limited graphic capabilities.
“The graphics on the end boards will be better than the message center we had on the old scoreboard. It won’t give you a TV-like appearance but it will still give you a photograph of a player and their statistics,” said Biberstein.
The cost is in the vicinity of $725,000 and the bill is being paid by Learfield Communications through the arrangement it reached with the university and Black Bear Sports Properties more than a year ago, according to Biberstein.
“We take a lot of pride in the atmosphere in Alfond Arena and most of that is created by the fans and the players,” said Maine hockey coach Tim Whitehead. “But there are other ways you can supplement that atmosphere and a video scoreboard is a great way to do that. It will enhance the experience for the fans.”
The video scoreboard not only will show replays and highlights, it also can be used for a variety of other things like team introductions.
And Whitehead pointed out that to go with the new scoreboards, Maine hockey fans will have new Plexiglas above the boards for games so they can better see the scoreboards and the game itself.
Whitehead explained the concern that people sitting in the first couple of rows couldn’t enjoy the games as much because of the buildup of puck marks and dirt on the old Plexiglas.
The new Plexiglas will be installed next month before Maine’s home opener against Northeastern University on Oct. 24, according to Biberstein.
Whitehead is hopeful that they will be able to replace the new Plexiglas with better seamless, tempered Plexiglas and new boards for the following season.
The athletic department is footing the bill for the new Plexiglas at a cost of approximately $30,000, according to Biberstein.
The scoreboards and Plexiglas aren’t the only ongoing projects at the institution.
Drainage is being installed at Mahaney Diamond to set the stage for a new FieldTurf surface that will replace the grass surface.
Maine athletic director Blake James said the baseball field is part of the project that has included FieldTurf being installed at Morse [football] Field and a new artificial turf surface and field for the field hockey team.
“We wanted to do all three fields at one time,” said James, who is optimistic that the baseball field will be ready for the spring season.
The total cost of the multi-field project is in the vicinity of $3 million.
A $1 million gift from Phillip and Susan Morse through the Boston Red Sox Foundation kicked off the project.
James said the rest of the money has come through private donations; revenues raised through the sky boxes at Alfond Arena and a $200,000 donation from the campus recreation department that has “partnered with the athletic department on the project.”