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Dunkin Donuts Center

Providence, RI

Home of the Providence Bruins

3.9

3.6

Dunkin Donuts Center (map it)
1 LaSalle Sq
Providence, RI 02903


Providence Bruins website

Dunkin Donuts Center website

Year Opened: 1972

Capacity: 11,940

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Coffee and Crosschecks

The Dunkin’ Donuts Center, born in 1972 as the Providence Civic Center, is the home of the Providence Bruins hockey team and the Providence College Friars basketball team. “The Dunk” went through extensive renovations from 2006-2008. These renovations touched every aspect of the building, from creating new luxury boxes to remodeling concourses, concession stands, bathrooms, recreating the seating bowl,updating locker rooms, and training facilities. The arena was transformed from a tired facility which was starting to show its age to a modern building which can now hold its own against any mid-sized arena in the country.

3.9

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    2

How can you give The Dunk a high score when you can't even get a donut in the place? Seriously, the concessions here aren't bad, but you won't leave the Dunk thinking to yourself "I had the best food at the game tonight". All the usual suspects can be had, from hot dogs and chicken tenders to personal pizzas. The only unusual food item on the menu is the meatball sub. The Dunk also features a wide selection of beverages for the thirsty hockey fan (is there any other kind?).

If bringing the kids, there are snacks aplenty to be found, with Dippin' Dots and fried dough stands located throughout the concourse. With the quality and quantity of dining options around the Dunk, my advice is to save your money and appetite for after the game.

Fans wanting a sit-down dining experience can head up to the Budweiser Bar & Grille, located above section 201 overlooking the rink. Buyers beware, the food isn't cheap up there, but it does offer several items not available on the concourse. Another plus is the presence of several television sets scattered throughout the restaurant. Sporting events are featured on the restaurant's screens, making the bar & grille a popular place to be when faced with a scheduling conflict during football Sundays or March Madness. Stake out a spot on the rail, and you can watch the P-Bruins below and keep up with the Patriots at the same time!

Atmosphere    3

Going to a P-Bruins game can feel like going to a flea market. After going through the turnstiles you are immediately faced by an army of unfortunate interns handing out business cards, coupons, and Enter To Win forms. Filling out these forms enters you into a mass drawing to win a variety of prizes donated by sponsors, such as t-shirts, gift certificates, autographed items, etc. More importantly, the information on these forms puts you on the mailing list for the team's salesmen. The action at the turnstiles really clogs up the entrances to the concourse, particularly when there is a large crowd.

When walking the concourse, you are bound to notice table after table of local businesses hawking their wares. The enterprising fan can come home from a P-Bruins game with a nice bag full of clappers, pictures of the Geico lizard, samples of dog food and hot sauce, and beer can cozies, but it adds to the yard sale feel of the place.

During the game, be ready for loud music to be blared during all play stoppages (even worse, lately the play list has drifted from classic rock to top 40). The scoreboard shows a never ending stream of ads from sponsors, stopping only to switch to "fan cam" mode, during which they search for people mugging for the camera and jumping around. It's a great atmosphere if you are nine, but not as great if you are a regular visitor to the Dunk.

Neighborhood    5

The Dunkin' Donuts Center is located in downtown Providence, directly adjacent to the Rhode Island Convention Center. In fact, it is possible to walk from the Dunk through the Convention Center to the Westin Hotel and the Providence Place Mall without stepping outside. It's very convenient for fans visiting from out of town who want to spend the day downtown without having to brave the brutal winter weather and downtown traffic.

Providence has a well-earned reputation as one of the top culinary cities in the country, and there are countless dining options within walking distance of the Dunk. Trinity Brewhouse, directly across the street from the Dunk, offers a variety of crafted beers. Murphy's Pub is an Irish bar with an extensive deli-style menu and affordable options. Next door to the Dunk is Shula's 347 Grill, offering upscale dining and great steaks. Legendary Federal Hill is a short walk from the Dunk. Federal Hill is a traditional Italian neighborhood loaded with some of the best Italian restaurants you will ever come across. The list of local eating establishments is so comprehensive that I can't possibly list them all here.

Take a short walk in the opposite direction (you don't even have to walk outside), and you will arrive at the Providence Place Mall, a shopping center with 15 levels of restaurants, stores and parking. Fans looking for things to do outside the realm of sports can visit the Rhode Island state house adjacent to the mall, the Trinity Repertory Company, a nationally renowned theater company, or the Providence Performing Arts Center, which hosts several national Broadway tours and other events throughout the year.

Fans    5

There was a time when the philosophy of the P-Bruins front office was "open the doors, and the fans will come". Southeastern New England is one of the most hockey-mad areas in the country, and supported one of the flagship franchises of the American Hockey League, the Providence Reds. The Reds left town in 1977 and the Dunk sat empty for 15 long seasons. When hockey returned to Providence, the owners smartly affiliated with the nearby Boston Bruins. This strategy worked wonders. Providence consistently sat at or among the league leaders in attendance, and quickly became a model American Hockey League franchise.

Recently, the P-Bruins have found a new formula to attract big crowds. That strategy is "Groups, Groups, Groups". It's a brilliant strategy. The Bruins are not content with having one grade school chorus sing the National Anthem before the game. Nor do they stop at two groups. Before every hockey game at the Dunk, there are THREE groups singing patriotic songs. There is not only one game of youth hockey player contests during intermission, but a match during each intermission, as well as pre-game. For those of you keeping score, this is three choruses and six hockey teams.

Add in local pep bands to play music during the intermissions, dance companies or karate dojos to perform in the lobby, the obligatory birthday parties and company outings, and you have kids aplenty. Think about it. Each child coming to sing, play hockey, or perform during intermission is accompanied by family members with cash in hand ready to spend. Multiply that by as many as you can squeeze in, and you have big crowds and big profits. Couple that with one of the largest season ticket bases in minor league hockey, and it's no wonder that he Bruins continue to remain among the league leaders in attendance today.

Fans at the Dunk are not just idle fannies in the seats. There are countless fans who have been around since day one of the P-Bruins in 1992 and who were regulars at Reds games at the old Providence Arena. The kids in attendance bring energy and noise, helping to give Providence one of the best home-ice advantages in minor league hockey.

Access    5

The Dunkin' Donuts Center is located in downtown Providence, directly off interstate 95. The Providence Train Station is a short walk from the Dunk, and is a regular stop on the busy northeast corridor. The Kennedy Plaza bus station is also a short 5 minute walk from the Dunk.

Several hotels are located within walking distance of the Dunk, including the Hilton Hotel right next door to the arena, the Omni, located adjacent to the Convention Center, and the Biltmore, also within a 5 minute walk from the front door of the Dunk.

For those travelers looking for things to do outside of Providence, Boston is located a short hour drive away. The beaches of Newport are about a 45 minute drive south, and Cape Cod is about an hour's drive to the southeast. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos are located an hour west in Connecticut.

Part of the renovations completed in 2008 involved the expansion and rebuilding of the concourse and concession stands. It is typically fairly easy to navigate the concourse at the Dunk, with the exception of certain spots during games with large crowds. Restrooms were also renovated recently, but lines do form during intermissions. Handicapped seating is plentiful throughout the seating bowl.

Return on Investment    4

Tickets for Providence Bruins range from $17-$31, which put them on the higher side for the American Hockey League. Luckily, the team offers several ticket deals, buy one get one free offers, and family ticket packages to decrease the overall cost of attending. Many of these offers will combine concessions along with tickets, increasing the value.

Parking is plentiful around the Dunk, with several surface lots and garages located nearby. Novice fans should beware, certain lots can be pricey on a given night, particularly when there are events at the Convention Center, Trinity Rep, the PPAC, and the Dunk. Parking can be especially tricky (not to mention pricey) around Christmas time. Parking can run up to $20 on these nights. Fans not minding a little walk can park at the Providence Place Mall, get their parking ticket validated, and pay $5 for the evening. This option , while a bargain, may not be preferable during the Christmas shopping season, as getting out of the garage can take a while. Locals will hunt for on-street parking, which is fairly plentiful in the immediate neighborhood.

Extras    3

Providence is located in a hockey-crazed area, and fans here are proud of their hockey history. Be sure to check out the Providence Reds exhibit located on the far end of the concourse. Four kiosks house various artifacts and information about the team that preceded the Bruins in Rhode Island, playing here for over 50 years from 1926-1977. Also conspicuous around the arena are several championship banners, not only honoring P-Bruins championship banners, but Calder Cup champion Reds teams and Providence College Friars NCAA appearances.

Final Thoughts

During the early days of the Providence Bruins, the Dunk had a reputation as being a very unfriendly place for visiting fans. Times have changed, even in the short span of 20 years, and today the Dunk is a very family-oriented place, where anyone can feel comfortable bringing the kids along. While minor league hockey may not be the bargain it once was, the Providence Bruins and the Dunkin' Donuts Center offer many ticket packages to make it more affordable for families. The city of Providence offers a wide variety of options to pique the interest of any traveler. A visit to see the Providence Bruins can be the finale of a day of shopping, fine dining, and theater. Sounds like a good day to me.

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Crowd Reviews

Iced Coffee

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 2

The Dunkin' Donuts Center is an arena built in the 70s, but feels much newer than that. Thanks to a recent $80 Million renovation from the Rhode Island Convention Center (who bought the building), the place has been refurbished from the inside and out. This has set the stage for a terrific arena to come and watch AHL hockey. Plus, the facility is located in a downtown section of Providence that has undergone a renaissance and turned into a decent area with plenty of good restaurants around.

Hockey Dunk

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

Opened in 1972 as the Providence Civic Center before the naming rights were sold to New England staple Dunkin' Donuts in 2001, the arena has hosted AHL hockey for much of its more than four decades of existence. The Providence/Rhode Island Reds played here from 1972 to 1977, before the Boston Bruins moved their same-named AHL affiliate to the arena in 1992. Before coming to Providence, the team was known as the Maine Mariners, playing at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The P-Bruins won their only Calder Cup in 1999 and in their only appearance.

“The Dunk” also hosts Providence College Friars basketball, and has hosted that team since the arena was constructed. The Dunkin’ Donuts Center can hold 11,940 fans for hockey, and 12,400 for basketball, and both teams draw well, with the Bruins being 3rd in the AHL in attendance during the 2012-13 season, averaging over 8,000 fans a game.

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Local Food & Drink

Union Station Brewery Providence  (map it!)

36 Exchange Terrace

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 274-2739

http://tonightinri.com/unionstationbrewery

Trinity Brewhouse  (map it!)

186 Fountain St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 453-2337

http://www.trinitybrewhouse.com/

The Capital Grille  (map it!)

1 Union Station

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 521-5600

https://www.thecapitalgrille.com/pages/locations/?id=8001

Murphy’s Pub  (map it!)

100 Fountain St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 621-8467

https://www.facebook.com/murphysprovidence

Shula’s 347 Grill  (map it!)

21 Atwells Ave

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 709-0347

http://www.donshula.com/shulas-347-grill-providence

Local Entertainment

Providence Place Mall  (map it!)

1 Providence Place

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 270-1000

http://www.providenceplace.com/

Providence Athenaeum  (map it!)

251 Benefit St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 421-6970

http://www.providenceathenaeum.org/

Trinity Repertory Company  (map it!)

201 Washington St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 521-1100

http://www.trinityrep.com/

Providence Performing Arts Center  (map it!)

220 Weybosset St

Providence, RI 02906

(401) 421-2997

http://www.ppacri.org/

Lodging

The Westin Providence  (map it!)

1 W Exchange St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 598-8000

http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/search/hotel_detail.html?propertyID=1049

Providence Biltmore  (map it!)

11 Dorrance St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 421-0700

http://www.providencebiltmore.com/

Hilton Providence  (map it!)

21 Atwells Ave

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 831-3900

http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/rhode-island/hilton-providence-PVDPRHF/index.html

Omni Providence Hotel  (map it!)

1 W Exchange St

Providence, RI 02903

(401) 598-8000

http://www.omnihotels.com/

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