Transformative Gift to Enhance Fan Experience at Lawler Rink

Thanks to a transformative multi-million dollar gift from Richard H’15 and Susanna Gallant, the Merrimack College Board of Trustees approved significant renovations that will update several aspects of the storied facility.
Merrimack leaders and the Gallant family pose with hammers and hardhats.
Merrimack College welcomed Richard H’15 and Susanna Gallant to break ground at Lawler Rink ahead of its new renovations.

Home ice and home court advantage for the Merrimack College Warriors will reach a whole new level next season as renovations are underway to modernize Lawler Rink.

Thanks to a transformative multi-million dollar gift from Richard H’15 and Susanna Gallant, the Merrimack College Board of Trustees approved significant renovations that will update several aspects of the storied facility including a new luxury pavilion with premium seating at the north end of the rink, enhanced luxury suites, modernized game day club experience, and new designated areas for media, broadcasts and the Merrimack Marching Band.

In recognition of the Gallant’s generosity, the project also includes the naming of the new Gallant Pavilion, which will feature premium club seating and viewing areas to provide an elevated fan experience. The College held a celebration event on Friday, June 9, in the DiCroce Family Lobby of the Merrimack Athletics Complex. More than 100 people were in attendance to recognize the Gallant’s gift.

“This is just the first domino,” Gallant said of Lawler Rink. “Hold on, because we’re all going to see some enormous changes.”

Gallant and his wife Susanna have been valued partners of Merrimack for more than a decade. He serves on the College’s Athletics Board of Advisors and is president of the Islanders Hockey Club, one of the premier development and competitive hockey programs in New England. 

In March of 2012, the Gallants gave a multi-million dollar gift, one of the largest gifts in the history of Merrimack, to support the Agenda for Distinction. Later that year, Gallant and Merrimack President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D, announced a partnership between the Islanders Ice Hockey Program and Merrimack College, which in part led to the construction of a second rink on campus, Gallant Arena.  

Through this partnership, Gallant Arena and Merrimack’s campus have become a premier destination for competitive hockey development. It provides a state-of-the-art facility to communities in Merrimack Valley and New England, and has seen millions of visitors for hockey games and events over the years.

“These renovations will be game-changing for Merrimack College,” said President Hopey of the project. “Hosting Division I competitions, and winning Division I competitions, will strengthen our value proposition and competitive position nationally. It will help us achieve our research goals, our graduate goals, our enrollment goals and our mission goals. Projects like the Lawler renovation will contribute to advancing our aspirations, vision and mission.” 

Lawler Arena is home to Merrimack’s women’s and men’s basketball and hockey teams. The 2022-23 season was one of the most successful in the history of the men’s hockey program. Twelve of the men’s team’s 23 wins on the season came at Lawler, and the Warriors went on to play in the Hockey East tournament finals and the NCAA men’s hockey tournament.

Lawler also hosted several men’s and women’s basketball games during the 2022-23 season, including the men’s nationally televised game against Long Island University and the Northeast Conference championship game that saw Merrimack beat Fairleigh Dickinson University.

“This venue is going to become a space where we can celebrate our community, the success of our athletic programs, the achievements of our student-athletes, and the enthusiasm that comes with it,” said Jeremy Gibson, director of athletics.

The Gallants’ generosity over the years has made a meaningful and lasting impact on the Merrimack community, its students, employees and alumni. They helped to establish one of the College’s most fruitful community partnerships and continue to provide Merrimack with resources and support for student-athlete and fan experiences. 

Renderings of the Lawler Rink renovations.

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