The doors to the Hartford Civic Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Exhibition Center opened on January 9, 1975, with Glen Campbell kicking off the start of an event-filled weekend. The following evening, Johnny Mathis and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra took to the stage. Professional hockey in Hartford began as the New England Whalers played their first game at the Hartford Civic Center , hosting the San Diego Mariners. Since then, the Civic Center has remained Connecticut ’s home for premier sports and entertainment.
Unfortunately, after three years of providing top family fun and entertainment, the Civic Center had to be closed. On the evening of January 18, 1978, just hours after the University of Connecticut Men ’s Basketball team defeated the University of Massachusetts ; the weight of snow from the day’s heavy snowstorm was too much for the Civic Center roof to withstand and forced it to collapse. Fortunately, there were no injuries. Nearly two years later to the day, on February 6, 1980, the new Hartford Whalers, now of the NHL, reopened..