Ice Hockey Wiki
Rhode Island Sports Center.jpg

The Rhode Island Sports Center in an indoor sports recreation facility located in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. The actual arena is named the John W. Kennedy Sr. Arena in honor of the former Norwich University player who later worked as a volunteer with East Providence and the Greater Providence Youth Hockey Association and was a benefactor in the facility's construction. The arena is used by local youth hockey teams and has been occasionally used by the Johnson and Wales Wildcats hockey teams. The facility is also used by the Providence Capitals when they played in the United States Premier Hockey League and continue to as a youth hockey program.


An incident at the arena is at the center of a lawsuit brought forth by for Curry College player Ian DeLong who became ill along with several teammates after a February 2011 game played at the arena against Johnson and Wales. The lawsuit alleges a Zamboni used at the time of the game was "emitting a gaseous odor that worsened with time and released a thick blue film that permeated the air" according to former Curry College head coach Robert Davies. The coach of the Salve Regina Seahawks reported some of his players fell ill at after a game on February 5th, 2011 at the facility. The arena later replaced the propane powered machine with an electric version. The case was originally filed in 2014 but the case had been dismissed in 2016 when a superior court judge ruled that due to a "lack of evidence that a defective condition existed at the Sports Center on the date of the injury." DeLong also could not definitely link his illness to the fumes from the Zamboni at the facility. In May of 2018 the Rhode Island Supreme Court reinstated the lawsuit stating that the judge that dismissed the case to begin with refused to consider newspaper articles reporting that 23 Curry College men's hockey players had been held for observation at a Massachusetts hospital after several suffered dizziness, respiratory problems and coughed up blood. None of the Johnson and Wales players reported feeling sick after the games. The Zamboni is parked near the visitors locker room at the arena. According to WBZ in Boston at the time of the incident the government had been working over the five years prior to the incident on tightening rules on Zamboni emissions to prevent accidents like this one involving nitrogen dioxide emissions. The day after the Curry game the Rhode Island Department of Health measured carbon monoxide levels at the facility and it came back with no reading, however, they didn't test for nitrogen dioxide.[1][2][3] At the time The arena was planning renovations done in the summer of 2011, which included the purchase of the electric Zamboni.[4][5]