The ice rink at the Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center at Colby College in Waterville. The 38,650-square-foot ice arena will be named the O’Neil | O’Donnell Forum, while the rink will be named for hockey Hall of Famer and former Colby coach Jack Kelley. Submitted by Colby College

WATERVILLE — Colby College’s new home for ice hockey now has a name — the O’Neil | O’Donnell Forum.

Trustees Jack O’Neil and Tim O’Donnell donated multimillion dollar gifts to name the new arena, which is part of the new $200 million Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center.

The ice rink will be named in honor of Colby hockey coach and U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Jack Kelley, who died in September.

“This facility will serve the students of Colby and — equally important — it will serve Waterville residents for decades to come,” O’Donnell said in a release. “Colby ice hockey, both women’s and men’s, has always brought the community together, and the Forum builds on that proud tradition. It will attract the best and brightest student athletes who want to write the next chapter on Colby’s ice.”

O’Donnell, Colby class of 1987, played on the Mules men’s basketball team. O’Neil, Colby class of 1977, played four years of ice hockey and captained the team in the 1976-77 season, a season in which Kelley returned for a single year and coached his son, Mark.

Kelley, who later went on to coach Boston University to two NCAA National titles, coached at Colby from 1955-62 and 1977-78. Kelley also worked for the Detroit Red Wings American Hockey League franchise and served as the Pittsburgh Penguins president from 1993-2001. Kelley was enshrined into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993.


“Creating a connection back to the Forum is very important to me, and what’s even more meaningful to me and Jack Kelley’s family is that we’re naming the rink to honor his legacy,” O’Neil said in the release.

The O’Neil | O’Donnell Forum includes a suspended scoreboard and audio system in the center of the rink. It also has meeting space, the Cerepak-Knight Room, which can be used for events. The seats at the forum are tiered to recreate the intimacy of the former Alfond Ice Rink.

“Jack O’Neil and Tim O’Donnell are individuals of extraordinary character who are guided by their values and their commitment to helping the institutions that helped shape their lives and continue to better the lives of others,” Colby President David A. Greene said in a prepared announcement.

“By honoring the great Coach Jack Kelley they stay true to form — always acknowledging the good work of those who came before them, always recognizing the power of relationships that challenge us to find our better selves and reach higher for the things that really matter. Their generous spirits will be forever part of Colby, and for that I cannot be more grateful.”

The arena is built to encourage sustainability, where indirect sunlight helps light the facility through translucent panels. The heat used to make ice is now reused to preheat pool water, the Zamboni snow-melting pit and under-ice slab heating systems.

The arena has state-of-the-art locker rooms, ice and ventilation, according to Colby officials.


“The new ice arena provides an incredible space for players and coaches alike to achieve their personal and team goals,” women’s hockey head coach Holley Tyng said in the prepared statement.

“We can’t wait to welcome the community into the facility to be part of the action. The space is ideal for coaches and teachers, providing a platform for student athletes to train and develop, including video cameras under the scoreboard to offer a three-dimensional view of the game and a classroom theater off of the rink.”

The facility will eventually be open to the broader community for outside games, practices, performances and open skating sessions, according to Colby officials. For now, it is only accessible to those in Colby’s COVID-19 testing program.

“I’m looking forward to the look on people’s faces when they come in here,” Blaise McDonald, head coach of Colby men’s hockey team, said in the prepared statement.

“The ability to get a big crowd for the Bowdoin game and have 2,000 people going crazy after a victory will be amazing. Just as important will be having local youth hockey teams coming in here to score goals and celebrate those moments.”

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