Priority: Ed Robson Arena & Yalich Student Services Center

The Colorado College community and the city of Colorado Springs celebrated a historic moment Saturday along with the key donors who made it possible.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for CC’s new Ed Robson Arena and Mike and Barbara Yalich Student Services Center, which will benefit both the college and city, 250 guests had the chance to tour the new facilities and hear from former CC hockey players and major donor Ed Robson '54, P'79, G'11, and longtime CC advocate Barbara Neeley Yalich ’53.

Colorado College President L. Song Richardson, City Mayor John Suthers, and Board of Trustees Chair Jeff Keller ’91, P’23, commended Robson and the Yalichs’ longstanding dedication to Colorado College and recognized a bolstered relationship with Colorado Springs during the afternoon event.

“This is an outstanding and wonderful moment in the history of the college,” Keller said. “I look around the crowd here and see the relationship we have built between the city and the college. It is truly remarkable.”

The new 3,407-seat arena serves as the first-ever on-campus home for CC’s NCAA Division I men’s hockey program. The Tiger hockey team will play in Robson for the first time in an exhibition Saturday, Oct. 2, against the Air Force Academy, before officially starting the season at home against St. Lawrence University on Friday, Oct. 8, and Saturday, Oct. 9.

The state-of-the-art complex on the Colorado College campus is part of Colorado Springs’ City for Champions (C4C) initiative, which uses revenue made available by the state’s 2013 Regional Tourism Act as seed money to invest in new facilities to draw tourists to the region. 

“This connects Colorado Springs and Colorado College in a significant way,” Richardson said. “It would not have happened without the support of the city, led by mayor John Suthers.”

Construction of the facility, which broke ground in February 2020, was made possible by Robson’s lead gift as well as the C4C funding and numerous other donations.

Robson was active in both hockey and baseball while at CC. After graduation he served for five years in the U.S. Marine Corps, during which he was granted leave to represent Team USA as part of the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team at the 1956 Olympic Winter Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

In addition to the new hockey arena, the adjacent Yalich center includes the school’s health and wellbeing services, the college bookstore and mail center, as well as an art studio and restaurant space.

Through a gift from Inasmuch Foundation, the center honors the legacy of Barbara Neeley Yalich ’53, a renowned community leader in the Pikes Peak Region and a champion for Colorado College, and her late husband Milo “Mike” Yalich ’50, a lifelong CC supporter who captained the 1949-50 Tiger hockey team to the school’s first NCAA national title.

Barbara Yalich devoted her life to public service. She served as the first executive director of the Health Association of Pikes Peak Region and executive director of the El Paso County Mental Health Association. She returned to CC at several points throughout her career, ultimately serving as vice president for development and college relations until her retirement in 1994.

“She has truly spent a lifetime advancing the college to be better able to serve students of every generation,” Keller said.

The arena is comparable in size and scope to those of other colleges and universities with DI hockey programs and similar study body numbers. Now able to practice and compete on-campus rather than across town, student-athletes will realize increased time and efficiency, while the convenient downtown location will drive game attendance from the campus community and local fans. CC Athletics said the facility will benefit recruiting efforts and elevate the Tigers’ competitiveness in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, while at the same time better serve the entire campus community.

The versatile arena, which includes a multipurpose event and meeting space with an outdoor plaza, will be available for large and small art and music events and student life activities.

“Our ability to better serve the students has been transformed,” CC Vice President and Director of Athletics Lesley Irvine said. “This is a true multi-purpose facility that will benefit the entire campus and the Colorado Springs communities as a whole.”

“We want to provide space for a lot of different things,” said Robson Arena Executive Director Colin Bailey. “That applies to both Colorado College and the Colorado Springs community.”

The complex is the final C4C venue to open following the Air Force Academy visitors center, the U.S.  Olympic and Paralympic Museum, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center, and Weidner Field, home of the Switchbacks pro soccer franchise.

“It never gets old celebrating the opening of one of our City for Champions facilities,” Suthers said. “The City for Champions effort will continue to transform downtown Colorado Springs and build upon our city’s reputation as a sports leader.”

That cooperation led to a historic day for the college and the city — but the CC facility may have never happened without the support of Robson, whose financial support helped turn an idea on paper into reality.

“I am really humbled by all this,” he said. “It’s spectacular.”

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