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UML
01-11-2011, 08:41 AM
Tsongas Center is the best of course. Well if you like drinking beer at college hockey games and being able to choose from over 20 different beers then Tsongas is the best. If you don't like kicking back with some suds at the game then I'd say Matthews.

rightwing
01-11-2011, 09:17 AM
Hobey Baker Arena at Princeton. Most historic and still beautiful. Drips with tradition (and the occasional water leak!)

Puck Swami
01-11-2011, 09:48 AM
There are many criteria for picking a rink. I've been to many of them, and here are mine:

Best Architecture: Yale, Dartmouth. Hard to best Eero Saarinen and Pier Liuigi Nervi, two mid-century giants of architecture.
Best Features: North Dakota arena remains palatial.
Best Sightlines: BU and Northeastern. Steep and intimate.
Best Bleachers: UVM, Michigan and St. Lawrence have that old school feel.
Best Nooks and Crannies: Alfond at Maine. The balcony there is special.
Best Concourse: Maricucci - you can see the game from almost antywhere, even when you aren't in your seat.
Best Ice Surface: Harvard. A cold rink for nothing but hockey.
Best Tradition: Northeastern's Matthews. Most historic, hand's down. Can't beat 1909 and all the teams and players skating there.
Best Crowd: Michigan and Cornell. Can't beat those atmospheres.
Best Food and Drink: Haven't found anything that beats Denver's chef-carved roast beef, and full bar service. Pricey but good.
Best Seating: North Dakota. Hard to beat leather seats.
Best Lobby Shrine: Hobey Baker display at Princeton. Genuflect as you pass Hobey's stuff.
Best Murals: Probably Maricucci
Best Public Transit Access: Northeastern, BU and Denver are all very close to light rail stations
Best Sound System: North Dakota. You can hear everything.
Best Lighting: North Dakota. Very bright, no shadows on ice.
Best Echoes: Michigan. Yost is an old fieldhouse, and echoes are everywhere.
Best Student Section: Cornell is most creative, while Wisconsin's is most choreographed.
Most Intimidating; Probably Michigan, North Dakota and Cornell.
Most Loud: Probably Wisconsin.

slurpees
01-11-2011, 10:06 AM
I'm not necesarily looking for luxury but I agree Agannis is nice. Parking can be a problem. Conte has great scoreboards and is good as long as you're in the red seats. The bench seats suck. As for the first row being away from the ice, agreed but who wants to be in the first row anyway. Matthews is by far the best for sight lines and old time feel. Not a bad seat in the house. Concessions could use an upgrade though. I'm not sure why people have a problem with Mullins. Very comfortable seats and good sight lines. Also, I always get lots of laughs while I'm threre. It really is so entertaining listening to the most ignorant fans in hockey. Wow, are they dumb! Lawler is gross! Many local high schools play in better facilities. Concessions, rest rooms, seating, not enough of any. Put the scoreboard back out on the little league field. Whatever they spend on upgrades is wasted. A new building is badly needed at Merrimack. :D

What Matthews Arena have you been to? The sightlines there are, outside of the front row of the balcony, are HORRIBLE. If you're not sitting in one of the front two rows of the balcony, you can't see almost half of the ice. Not to mention downstairs if you're shoved back in one of the corners, good luck trying to understand what's going on. There are numerous seats in the building that are directly behind a cement post, as in the cement post is one foot in front of the seat, and they didn't even change this when they renovated. Speaking of the renovations, with the new press box, there are now two sections that abut either side of press box that have very obstructed views of the other end of the ice. I've been to many games there and sat in a few different spots, but I can't say I've ever had a seat where I've been terribly impressed or happy with my sightline, and the time I sat in the balcony in the fourth row or so, and my view was horrible. Not to mention they sold my friend a ticket for one of the seats that had a post blocking 90% of his view of the ice.

I understand the "old barn" feel of Matthews, which is really nice, but when you walk into that place, unless you already knew what happened there, there isn't much mention of it save a few pictures in the concourse area, not to mention that through all of the notable things that occurred there, little to none of it has anything to do with Northeastern or things they accomplished. I've never seen any New England Whalers banners hanging, nothing commemorating the inaugural Beanpot, etc. So while it certainly has its fair share of history, I've never really felt walking into that place like I was walking into a truly historic venue. Nowhere near along the lines of walking into a place like Fenway, the old Yankee Stadium, MSG, even a place like Yost, or Michigan Stadium.

Of all of the places I've been, my favorites still are Yost and Alfond, with Walter Brown still as my favorite though not in use anymore by the men's team. Agganis certainly is the "nicest" facility, though Tsongas' renovations brought it up the list quite a bit. Nowhere else in Hockey East really has impressed me, the Whit is basically Agganis on a tight budget, Conte is fairly average, though the new screens are really nice, and everywhere else is either crap or just eh.

Federal League
01-11-2011, 10:49 AM
I plan to hit the east coast area next year, hopefully check out BC/BU/maybe some smaller schools (AIU!).

I will say there's something to be said about a truly historic arena, although I haven't been to a really old one yet.

Make sure you get to Matthews when you're out here.


I'm not necesarily looking for luxury but I agree Agannis is nice. Parking can be a problem. Conte has great scoreboards and is good as long as you're in the red seats. The bench seats suck. As for the first row being away from the ice, agreed but who wants to be in the first row anyway. Matthews is by far the best for sight lines and old time feel. Not a bad seat in the house. Concessions could use an upgrade though. I'm not sure why people have a problem with Mullins. Very comfortable seats and good sight lines. Also, I always get lots of laughs while I'm threre. It really is so entertaining listening to the most ignorant fans in hockey. Wow, are they dumb! Lawler is gross! Many local high schools play in better facilities. Concessions, rest rooms, seating, not enough of any. Put the scoreboard back out on the little league field. Whatever they spend on upgrades is wasted. A new building is badly needed at Merrimack. :D


What Matthews Arena have you been to? The sightlines there are, outside of the front row of the balcony, are HORRIBLE. If you're not sitting in one of the front two rows of the balcony, you can't see almost half of the ice. Not to mention downstairs if you're shoved back in one of the corners, good luck trying to understand what's going on. There are numerous seats in the building that are directly behind a cement post, as in the cement post is one foot in front of the seat, and they didn't even change this when they renovated. Speaking of the renovations, with the new press box, there are now two sections that abut either side of press box that have very obstructed views of the other end of the ice. I've been to many games there and sat in a few different spots, but I can't say I've ever had a seat where I've been terribly impressed or happy with my sightline, and the time I sat in the balcony in the fourth row or so, and my view was horrible. Not to mention they sold my friend a ticket for one of the seats that had a post blocking 90% of his view of the ice.

Gotta agree with slurpees about the Matthews sightlines. They're horrendous unless you're in the balcony. It's still my favorite place to watch a game, but to say there is "not a bad seat in the house" is crazy talk. There are probably more bad seats than good seats. Of course, I'm usually in the fantastic new press box, so I can't complain. :D

Nick Papagiorgio
01-11-2011, 11:18 AM
Yea, you haven't walked around Matthews much if you think sightlines there are good. Any seat on the sides of the balconies will basically keep you from seeing anything happening along the boards below you unless you're in the front row and even then you have to lean over and look down.

Still a great place to watch a game, though!

Slasher7
01-11-2011, 11:51 AM
Rinks I like:

Conte Forum (Boston College)
Matthews Arena (Northeastern)
Alfond Arena (Maine)

Rinks I hate:

Whittemore Center (UNH) * Cut too many corners, high school quality scoreboard, lighting sucks
Tsongas Arena (Lowell) * Pain in the butt to get to, lousy part of America
Schneider Arena (PC) * See above

Slasher7
01-11-2011, 11:54 AM
No college feel? Did you miss the numerous collegiate banners hanging from the rafters and the murals of BU players at the entrances, as well as the pictures of former BU players lining the concourse? I agree there are lots of professional advertisements, sounds, etc. that I'm not a fan of, and the game production staff is a bit too hoity toity, but how you can claim to want to see a game at UMass, an arena with NO PEP BAND, (and horrendous sightlines) after knocking Agganis as a bad collegiate environment?

Not to mention, seeing a game at Conte these days isn't far off from going to a WWE event, with 10,000 pregame pump-up videos, and light shows after goals. I was beginning to expect to hear "If you smell that the York is cookin'" before your team took the ice in the third period.

I hear ya, but normally there are only 3-4 "light shows" post goal at home. Unfortunately due to the fact that BU is horrible, they have to play that "light show" thing several times. Also, we always have to replace the red light bulbs behind the goals after BU comes in. Beating your sad team is becoming very costly to our university...

jmh
01-11-2011, 12:02 PM
The Ralph is a great AHL arena. As a college rink, it's entirely devoid of personality. (Putting Sioux logos on everything != personality.)

Ingalls is architecturally beautiful, but the shape makes standing room a pain in the ***. (Or, more literally, a pain in the back, because that's how you'll feel after spending the whole game with one foot higher than the other.)

slurpees
01-11-2011, 12:17 PM
I hear ya, but normally there are only 3-4 "light shows" post goal at home. Unfortunately due to the fact that BU is horrible, they have to play that "light show" thing several times. Also, we always have to replace the red light bulbs behind the goals after BU comes in. Beating your sad team is becoming very costly to our college...

fyp

Gainzo
01-11-2011, 12:27 PM
Rinks I like:

Conte Forum (Boston College)
Matthews Arena (Northeastern)
Alfond Arena (Maine)

Rinks I hate:

Whittemore Center (UNH) * Cut too many corners, high school quality scoreboard, lighting sucks
Tsongas Arena (Lowell) * Pain in the butt to get to, lousy part of America
Schneider Arena (PC) * See above

Conte stinks just like Mullins as there are railings eveywhere. How is getting to Lowell a pain in the butt? Take either 128 or 495 to the Lowell Connector and you will be at Tsongas in 5 minutes. Plenty of free parking and a rink that doesn't have a bad seat. Not to mention the Beer Works and Brewery a 1 minute walk away.

Getting to Conte on a Friday Night is freakin' horrible and I live in Burlington, MA.

slurpees
01-11-2011, 12:31 PM
Conte stinks just like Mullins as there are railings eveywhere. How is getting to Lowell a pain in the butt? Take either 128 or 495 to the Lowell Connector and you will be at Tsongas in 5 minutes. Plenty of free parking and a rink that doesn't have a bad seat. Not to mention the Beer Works and Brewery a 1 minute walk away.

Getting to Conte on a Friday Night is freakin' horrible and I live in Burlington, MA.

That free parking is where? Random meter parking on the street? That garage has fluctuated in charging 5 or 10 bucks in the time I've been there. Plus Lowell streets are more poorly laid out than Boston's, and traffic up there from Boston is a ****** on a Friday evening. It's not the biggest pain in the ***** to get to, but it's up there. But the arena is really nice with the new renovations.

Nick Papagiorgio
01-11-2011, 12:43 PM
Conte stinks just like Mullins as there are railings eveywhere.

Just curious... Have you been to Conte recently? With the new scoreboards, which are sick BTW, Conte blows away Mullins. And the railings... maybe an issue from the higher sections but lower bowl has no problems with railings.

Gainzo
01-11-2011, 12:45 PM
Just curious... Have you been to Conte recently? With the new scoreboards, which are sick BTW, Conte blows away Mullins. And the railings... maybe an issue from the higher sections but lower bowl has no problems with railings.

I haven't been to Conte in ages.

slurpees
01-11-2011, 12:47 PM
Conte blows away Mullins.

True, but that's not saying much.

Gainzo
01-11-2011, 12:47 PM
Free parking can be found on Suffolk and Cabot Streets. There is also a very large free parking lot at Notinis which is directly across the street from the Beerworks/Brewery Exchange.

gordwiser
01-11-2011, 12:57 PM
An oldie but a goody topic...

Would love to positive rep your post, Puck Swami, but it seems I need to spread some around first! Good post...

I really would like to head to the East Coast for a week and take in some weekday and weekend games to check out the different arenas and fan bases. Hard to compare when most of us rarely stray from our geographic areas. Personally, I can only speak to the WCHA.

New Ralph... I love it because it's my favorite team, but for true college atmosphere it doesn't rank too high. In actuality, each game night is a show and for a college arena it's as close to an NHL production as you're going to get...going to the Ralph is an event. I do really like all the different photographs and history spread throughout the arena. If you have the time to explore the arena, there are a lot of cool touches that can get lost in the extravagance.

The Mooch... great sightlines and murals... but really not very intimate or intimidating. Seems rather sterile lately. Kohl center has great fans. The old DECC and the NHC are dumps but I still like watching games there.

Long story short... the Old Ralph is far and away the best place I have ever seen college hockey. Loadest place I have ever been. Fans on top of the players. Over 40% of the seats dedicated to the students... wow. I'd trade in any other arena to go back to that place for games.

Nick Papagiorgio
01-11-2011, 01:03 PM
I haven't been to Conte in ages.

OK, that explains a lot then. It's tough to really explain it... the annual improvements over the past few summers have really made a huge difference. Especially the paint job (sounds weird but most agree, guess you would have to see it yourself) and the ridonkulous HD widescreen scoreboards.

streaker
01-11-2011, 01:23 PM
There are many criteria for picking a rink. I've been to many of them, and here are mine:

Best Architecture: Yale, Dartmouth. Hard to best Eero Saarinen and Pier Liuigi Nervi, two mid-century giants of architecture.
Best Features: North Dakota arena remains palatial.
Best Sightlines: BU and Northeastern. Steep and intimate.
Best Bleachers: UVM, Michigan and St. Lawrence have that old school feel.
Best Nooks and Crannies: Alfond at Maine. The balcony there is special.
Best Concourse: Maricucci - you can see the game from almost antywhere, even when you aren't in your seat.
Best Ice Surface: Harvard. A cold rink for nothing but hockey.
Best Tradition: Northeastern's Matthews. Most historic, hand's down. Can't beat 1909 and all the teams and players skating there.
Best Crowd: Michigan and Cornell. Can't beat those atmospheres.
Best Food and Drink: Haven't found anything that beats Denver's chef-carved roast beef, and full bar service. Pricey but good.
Best Seating: North Dakota. Hard to beat leather seats.
Best Lobby Shrine: Hobey Baker display at Princeton. Genuflect as you pass Hobey's stuff.
Best Murals: Probably Maricucci
Best Public Transit Access: Northeastern, BU and Denver are all very close to light rail stations
Best Sound System: North Dakota. You can hear everything.
Best Lighting: North Dakota. Very bright, no shadows on ice.
Best Echoes: Michigan. Yost is an old fieldhouse, and echoes are everywhere.
Best Student Section: Cornell is most creative, while Wisconsin's is most choreographed.
Most Intimidating; Probably Michigan, North Dakota and Cornell.
Most Loud: Probably Wisconsin.

++1 Class post, Swami.

LTsatch
01-11-2011, 01:32 PM
Ingalls is architecturally beautiful, but the shape makes standing room a pain in the ***. (Or, more literally, a pain in the back, because that's how you'll feel after spending the whole game with one foot higher than the other.)

I agree with your assessment of the Ingalls standing room angles, the old time Ingalls sharpies actually come to the game with little platforms that they stand on to level their footing. I always do standing room and usually will switch ends to wherever Yale is attacking to even out my pain. The State of CT hockey championships when played at Ingalls can be a sight to behold as well, usually six deep in standing room. If anyone ever goes there be sure to check out the Schley Room, while used for hospitality during games it contains photos of Yale teams going back to the 1880's