Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I have been wanting to write this post for a while but have been busy solving the world's problems like usual here at BSRS. I am going to summarize the rinks I have been to watch a hockey game and give my opinion on travel, the home fans, food etc. Feel free to leave comments because the more input the better for other fans who read this.

I'll start with Hockey East and get to out of conference rinks

Boston College- Conte Forum/Kelley Rink - This game is always fun for BU fans as it is a 20 minute ride down the Green line against an arch rival. BU has had an increased fan presence in recent years which always makes an away game more fun.  There is plenty of parking for those who drive and seems like there is plenty of places for fans to eat outside. The food inside is as mediocre as the entire BC athletic program so I wouldn't recommend it. The arena isn't built to watch hockey in but I've never had a bad viewpoint in this rink. Their fans usually show up for BU games since they generally are televised which is the only way to get the pink-hat superfrauds to go to a hockey game down there in Newton. Overall, I would highly suggest that all BU fans make it to Conte at least once. The BC fans may say some stuff to you especially after they lose and leave halfway through the third but they definitely don't worry any opposing fans. Overall experience grade: B

Lowell- Tsongas Arena - Lowell is also a very doable trip from Boston. The administration paid for buses to the rink last season but the commuter rail and Lowell public transportation(scary shit) run right to the rink. The rink itself might be my favorite in Hockey East besides Agganis that I have been to. They sell beer inside which is fantastic and they have this cool blimp that flies around during intermission and drops coupons into the crowd. They also usually have a food eating contest of some sort which is always entertaining to watch. Their student section and band are average at best. Most of the students sit down during the actual game and don't have very many original chants. Overall, good place to watch a hockey game for a reasonable price. Grade: B+

UMass- Mullins Center - This is also always a good trip to a nice rink with a rowdy fan base(at least at the beginning of the game). Mullins is about a 2 hour drive from Boston. You can also take a peter pan bus there but if you don't have a place to stay overnight, then it is usually pretty tough to work out the transportation reasonably. The students will make sure you know that they don't like you, mostly because they are so drunk half of them don't realize they're at a hockey game. They will start some classy "Fuck BU" chants and others during the game. Their student section(which almost takes up half the arena) will begin to empty out once UMass goes down by 3 or more or the second period ends. The students head off to their parties and leave the team playing in a half full rink for the third period in most cases. The atmosphere overall is fun and it's a good trip to make especially if you have masshole friends to stay with after. The food is pretty good and the jumbotron is always entertaining as they will put up anyone who gets a crowd reaction whether that be a little kid(less common) or a drunk girl who took her shirt off(more common). Grade: B

Maine- Alfond Arena- This is a great place to watch a game as the crowd is always into the game no matter their age. The rink isn't that big but it gets loud. There was plenty of options food within 20 minutes. Everyone claims Pat's pizza is great but good luck getting served if you aren't in Maine gear. The baked potato bar inside the rink is quite good even if 3.50 is expensive for a potato. 4-5 hour drive from Boston isn't easy especially in the snow but is worth it for 2 game weekends. Highly recommend staying at the Bangor Econolodge and asking for a handicapped bathroom. There is a nice casino close by that was fun and a solid way to spend some time. More to do here than North Dakota but not by much. Overall, I really enjoyed my weekend there.  Grade:  B+

Merrimack- Lawler Arena- This rink has had some renovations in recent years but is basically the size of a high school rink. The atmosphere inside the rink is on par with a high school as well as the student section and band are poorly organized. Security also sucks because it is run through RSIG, who does the games at Agganis. The nice part of the rink is that it is so small you can hear what the players say on the ice fairly easily. The food out front is pretty good from what I've had at games there. The drive isn't bad from Boston and it's also only a mile walk from the Andover commuter rail stop which makes this trip very doable. Make sure you stop at Harrison's roast beef on the way in. It is quite good.  Grade: C-

UNH- The Whit- Fairly easy rink to drive to from Boston. Don't both trying to park in the VIP lot with BU jerseys on as the hicks will squash you back. Some decent food options outside, but all of them are named after UNH or Wildcats so Subway is probably the best bet. Inside, it is a hostile environment with some of the dumbest people in New England. You will get flipped off and called out but they really don't know how to behave otherwise so you can't blame them.  Grade: A-

Northeastern- Matthews Arena- This is the oldest rink in the league and  the country. It is the former home to the Celtics, Bruins, and BU hockey at one point. You can tell it is an old rink when you sit down. There are many limited view lines depending where your seats are. The Northeastern fans always show up in mass for BU games(unless they're on break and BU has more fans there than them wah wah wah) and they don't like BU fans to say the least. I've had chicken, bbq sauce, among other food items thrown at me throughout the years there. There is also always the chance that their fans will throw trash on the ice at the conclusion of the game as well. The intermission is usually entertaining with sled races between NU and BU fans on the ice. They also have had hot dog eating contests in the past. The concessions are middle of the road but there is only one station due to the small space available in the old rink. Matthews is about a 20 minute walk from Kenmore square or you can take the green line or the BU bus over to Huntington ave. Grade: B-

Providence- Schenider Arena- This is another very small rink that is older and out of date. The PC fans typically don't show up unless there is some basketball promo involved. If they do show up, prepare for a bunch of drunk lax bros who do whatever they want due to loose security. A kid actually ran on the ice at the end of one of games this past year. Typically, their fans don't show up in force and you can sit wherever you like. Tickets are easy to get and you could walk right in without a ticket if you really wanted to. For the 10 bucks a ticket, I wouldn't recommend that. The commute is usually a nightmare driving especially on Friday nights. I would suggest taking the commuter rail to Providence and then the RIPTA bus from the train station to the rink. Just ignore all the strip clubs you pass on the way there. There is not much to eat around the rink or campus that you can safely walk to so bring some food with you ahead of time. Grade: C-

Vermont- Gutterson Fieldhouse-Made this trip for the first time this past year and loved the rink. It is literally a barn and probably could ignite and burn to the ground at any moment. The fans will show up for BU games and have some pretty comical chants and traditions. There is also a strong chance that you will get mooned or called a flatlander, which is apparently an insult from those mountain folk in Vermont.You can take a bus up to Burlington and there is enough to keep you busy for the weekend but you would need to find some cheap hotel to stay at for a few nights. Overall, a fun trip to make. Grade: B+

Compton Family Ice Center- The rink is brand new and modern. There is bar located on the second level and pro shop located in the rink as well. The sight lines are not modern. The lower deck has limited views of the corners unless you are sitting in the perfect spot as they still have not discovered the invisible dasher yet in Indiana apparently. The band is the only vocal part of the student section as students don't care if it's not a football game apparently. South Bend has plenty to do in it for a day or two with plenty of restaurants and shops within walking distance to the rink.Easiest way to get there is to fly to Chiacgo and drive from there. Grade: B

Out of Conference

Harvard- Bright Center- Another small rink located close to the BU campus. It is about a 15 minute ride on the 66 bus from Harvard Ave to get over to the rink.The rink itself is small and cozy and the food is good and its another rink where you are right on top of the action. Grade: B

TD Garden- The Beanpot- Great place to watch a hockey game especially when it is the Beanpot  BU Invitational. You have the 4 3 student sections in the balcony just going nuts. Easily the best tournament in college hockey. There are plenty of places to hang out before and after games along with plenty of options inside for beer and food. Grade: A

XCEL Consol Energy Center- St. Paul, Minnesota- This was also a great rink to watch a hockey game in during the NCAA's last year. I saw two games there and the rink was sweet. It even has a lighthouse in one corner. St. Paul is a great hockey town and has hockey bars all over the place as a result .Everyone out there loves some hockey even if they talk kinda funny. Grade: A

DCU Center - Worcester,MA- Another older rink but it is passable to watch a game in. I certainly wouldn't want to do so regularly though They didn't leave enough room for the ice to come so they had to cut some of the concrete out of the lower bowl after it was already poured. This leaves one end of the rink much further away from the ice than normal. Grade: C

Ralph Engelstad Arena- Grand Forks, ND- Not an easy rink to get to unless you plan months in advance. If possible, limit your time in Grand Forks as there is about an hour or two of things to actually do. The NoDak fans love their hockey and therefore, hate you. They will continually ask you if you like the rink because they know how awesome it is. They sell beer and it is a rink that holds 12k. Obviously a great place to watch a hockey game but not much else going on. Grade A-

Dunkin Donuts Center- Providence,RI-GW and myself caught the East Regional semifinals here in the 2013 NCAA tournament. This grade is going to be inflated just from watching Union stomp all over BC and run them out of the building but so be it. Good viewlines throughout the rink and solid concessions too. Can't go wrong with pregame in Providence. Federal hill is the place to eat before the game. Grade B+

Yost Arena- Ann Arbor, MI- Yost is a historic rink that was a pretty cool place to watch a hockey game. The best way to describe the building is like a renovated Gutterson fieldhouse on steroids(twice the size). The Michigan student section was pretty strong as everyone is on the same page with their traditions and chants. Not a very hostile environment as a opposing fan but I sat nowhere near the student section. The intermissions were easily the most entertaining I have ever witnessed as kids on zambonis throw their shoes and the students have like a 5 minute chant/chicken dance.  Ann Arbor itself is a great college town and there is plenty to do throughout your stay there. There are plenty of quality restaurants to grab a bite to eat. You are going to get sick of the Michigan fight song by the end of your stay though. Grade:A

Munn Ice Arena- East Lansing, MI- Munn was nothing impressive from a visual point of view. The crowd was much smaller than the Yost crowd but you can certainly see the potential for it to be a very tough place to play. The low ceiling while fitting 6,000 seats in a rink makes for a loud atmosphere when full. The sightlines were good from our seats and the new luxury boxes looked really nice. All the seats in the rink are metal benches which was less than enjoyable to sit on for 2.5 hours. Best Hockey East Comparison would be a larger Schneider. The campus itself was nicer than I was anticipating and it seemed like another solid Big 10 campus. We got to watch the MSU football game at a Buffalo Wild Wings in East Lansing before the game and that was a solid time. Grade: C+


  1. Don't forget the free hot dogs at UVM when they can't sell all of them, awesome trip. Harvard would be great if they had a student section or any semblance of an atmosphere.

  2. Also don't forget our future HEA foe!

    Freitas Ice Forum (UConn): If Army and UConn play a hockey game and no one watches did it really happen? Seriously, I went to high school in Storrs and I think our school team was a bigger draw at the FIF. I love UConn hockey and am thrilled that they're joining HEA, but this is in no way a Hockey East rink. Schneider is a solid B in comparison. There isn't a grade low enough to describe the atmosphere.

  3. Madison Square Garden for Red Hot Hockey: basically the same as TD Garden but they refitting it so the next Red Hot Hockey could be nice. TD has better lines of sight but MSG at full capacity is awesome.overpriced for food and drinks etc so maybe B+ but the refitting could shift it to an A.

    PS- they are planning on having a walk way above center ice. That has to be sick view.