Top College Rinks

Harry Agganis Arena, Boston: The home of Boston University is college hockey’s newest arena – it hosted its first game on Jan. 3, when the Terriers knocked off visiting Minnesota. It holds 6,300 fans for hockey and has drawn comparisons to the Boston Garden for putting spectators right on top of the action.

Gutterson Field House, Burlington, Vt.: Cornell’s Lynah Rink gets a ton of publicity for its raucous fans, but ‘the Gut’ is the finest arena in the ECACHL. With a capacity of just over 4,000, it’s regularly filled to the brim. Best feature – the dark wood that lines the inside of the airplane hangar-shaped roof.

Hobey Baker Rink, Princeton, N.J.: Built in 1923, the cozy venue featuring stone walls and steel trusses is named after the 1914 Princeton graduate whose outstanding skill and sportsmanship made him the top player of his era. An illuminated case in the arena lobby contains Baker’s photo, his skate, his pucks and biography.

Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis: Like Camden Yards in baseball, the University of Minnesota ushered in the new era of college hockey arenas when Mariucci Arena opened in 1993. The arena itself – a giant bowl of 9,700 seats with no obstructed views – is comfortable, but the real attraction is the murals chronicling Gopher hockey history that ring the concourse.

Matthews Arena, Boston: Northeastern plays its home games here – and has since 1930. Billed as the oldest hockey arena in the world, Matthews opened in 1910 and served as the first home of the Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics and the Beanpot tournament.

Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks: Take an NHL-caliber building and drop it in a wind-swept Upper Midwest prairie town of 50,000. That’s one way to describe North Dakota’s home arena. Of course, those who have visited ‘The Ralph’ – replete with its 11,406 leather seats, granite concourse floors and 10,000-square-foot hockey weight room – say it’s better than any NHL rink.

Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor: Home of the Michigan Wolverines, it’s the college game’s version of the old Original Six barns such as Maple Leaf Gardens and Detroit’s Olympia Stadium. And like those venerable shrines, Yost has about 100 good seats and 6,500 crappy ones.

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